Key words: Environmental education, communication, local government, green initiatives
GreenStyle is a regional biodiversity and sustainability education and promotion program run by three local councils in the northern Sydney area – Ku-ring-gai, Hornsby and Willoughby Councils. One of GreenStyle’s initiatives has been to establish a YouTube channel called Envirotube to distribute relevant video content and so build on the successes of the three Council’s environmental programs.
The rationale for the YouTube channel is that if a picture is worth a 1000 words then a video is a veritable encyclopaedia. People interested in biodiversity and sustainability are able to get accurate information that can be monitored and updated as facts change. It also promotes Greenstyle, as people doing online searches find Envirotube and then contact us directly.
There is a lot of interest in social media web sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. These sites are excellent at promoting and delivering targeted information as long as they attract a “critical mass” of traffic. A trial comparing the well designed and regularly updated website with a duplicate website with the same initial content but without other input showed that regular updates are critical to maintaining traffic. Envirotube to date, for example, has had nearly 50,000 hits and continues to grow, whereas the other channel languishes with only double digit views.
EnviroTube contains links to all of the Councils’ environmental programs and a wide range of videos on Council initiatives. Videos regularly feature local residents’ involvement in positive environmental change. We believe that the Envirotube success has been due to employing a contractor who understood social media and providing a brief to create a popular channel that:
- Regularly uploads new video content
- Has an active policy of subscription to similar channels, and
- Provides prompt replies to viewers’ comments and questions
Envirotube is funded by the NSW Enviromental Trust and videos can be freely accessed here.
Contact: Peter Clarke, Community Volunteer Programs Coordinator, Ku-ring-gai Council, Tel: +61 2 94240 811, Mobile: 0418 277099, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org