The ʻAlalā (Corvus hawaiiensis) is a critically endangered corvid species found on Hawaiʻi Island that went extinct in the wild in 2002. Through a partnership of agencies, conservation and reintroduction efforts for this species were developed. A universal foundation for a successful reintroduction is community understanding and support, prior to reintroduction actions. Starting in 2014, The ʻAlalā Project began community outreach and education efforts, two years before ʻAlalā were released. A multifaceted approach was developed to help broaden the reach and scope of the information presented. Multiple modes of communication were integrated, such as in-person presentations (public presentations, school and community organization visits), news media and communications (local and national media outlets), an online presence (project website and social media), and printed materials (posters, brochures, flyers, and promotional items). Efforts focused on multiple disciplines including art, habitat restoration, ecology, animal behavior, history, and Hawaiian culture, reaching audiences varying in age from keiki to kūpuna. The number of outreach events was summarized over two periods to determine audience reach covering each release effort. Social media output was categorized into video/audio, biological facts, project milestones, event notifications, and interactive posts. Utilizing this analytical information we are able to determine effectiveness, audience reach, and location. This approach to outreach and education has proven to be an important and supportive step to the reintroduction strategy for the ʻAlalā, allowing conservation actions to continue. It is our goal that the people we reach will understand the importance of recovering ʻAlalā, and will help share knowledge in their community as “ʻAlalā Ambassadors”.
The number of in-person presentations has increased with a higher demand from the public to know information following the second release effort in 2017. Feedback from all in-person presentations has been positive and supportive of the projects work.
On social media, there was also a greater demand for information and interest in the project after the initial 2016 release which can be seen by the 20.5% increase in the number of followers that the Facebook page received in December of 2016.
The video/audio category of posts gathered a greater level of interest and reach closely followed by the project milestones/updates category. Both of these categories of posts increase the personal connection and allow the user to connect to the birds virtually. Video posts that include audio of the birds facilitate a multi-sensory experience for followers. Analyzing data that is gathered through social media platforms has become an emerging science that is ultimately studying human behavior. This science is challenging and ever-changing (Batrinca & Treleaven, 2015). As our projects needs continue to grow, new analytics should be considered and used to monitor the audience and the projects' needs.
Lupton (2014) suggests that integrating social media into educational platforms offers many benefits such as creating a global network but can also have downfalls that need to be considered. Keeping in mind the project's goals and needs is crucial in continuing the use of social media through our education and outreach program.
The multifaceted approach that this project has developed for its' outreach and education program is an example of generating community engagement to support a reintroduction effort. By determining the type of posts and events that generate the most interest and have the greatest reach, we can focus our efforts accordingly. Through our multiple modes of communication we have developed a support system not only locally, but also internationally. The greater number of people that know and relate to the story of the ʻAlalā, perpetuates a community environment which supports the ongoing reintroduction efforts.
The ʻAlalā (Corvus hawaiiensis) is a critically endangered corvid species found on Hawaiʻi Island. The ʻAlalā is the sole surviving member of a remarkable group of five endemic corvid species once found on at least four of the Hawaiian Islands (James & Olson, 1991). This species suffered a drastic population decline starting in the 1900ʻs due to threats such as introduced predators, introduced diseases, and habitat loss (Banko, Ball, & Banko, 2002). Through a partnership of agencies including the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and San Diego Zoo Global, Kamehameha Schools, U.S. Geological Survey, Three Mountain Alliance, and the National Park Service, conservation and reintroduction efforts for this species were developed. This partnership forms the ʻAlalā Project which is formulating and overseeing the reintroduction efforts.
The first release of ʻAlalā occurred in December of 2016. A second release cohort followed in two stages, the first stage in September of 2017 and the second stage in October of 2017.
In order to have a successful reintroduction, you have to build a strong foundation. One step in building a strong foundation is to build community understanding and support. Knowing this, the ʻAlalā Project began their community outreach and education efforts in 2014.
A multifaceted approach was developed to help broaden the reach and scope of the information presented. Multiple modes of communication were integrated:
- in-person presentations (public presentations, school and community organization visits)
- an online presence (project website and social media)
- printed materials (posters, brochures, flyers, and promotional items)
- news media and communications (local and national media outlets)
Efforts focused on multiple disciplines including art, habitat restoration, ecology, animal behavior, history, and Hawaiian culture, reaching audiences varying in age from keiki to kūpuna (Figure 1).
By analyzing this information the education and outreach efforts can be changed to best fit the programsʻ needs. Having a multi-faceted approach to outreach and education has proven to be an important and supportive step to the reintroduction strategy for the ʻAlalā, allowing conservation actions to continue. It is our goal that the people we reach will understand the importance of recovering ʻAlalā and will help share knowledge in their community.
For this presentation, information was analyzed from all in-person presentations and social media posts to determine what type of information the ʻAlalā Project audience connects to the best.
To understand the audience reach for the projects in-person presentations the number of outreach events was categorized and listed in a table to determine the number of presentations done and, if possible, how many people were in attendance. These events were split into two separate periods covering each of the release efforts so far, January 2016-August 2017 and September 2017-June 2018. The largest event was a public outreach event promoting the first release in 2016 (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Public outreach event promoting 2016 release.
To evaluate social media posts data from both the ʻAlalā Project Facebook and Instagram accounts were analyzed. Since there is a larger following on Facebook with more comprehensive analytical information gathered, we analyzed the data on that account (Figure 2). All posts between June 01, 2016 – June 01, 2018 were categorized into one of seven categories to determine audience reach and interest by post category. The categories were: personal connection/behind the scenes, video/audio, biological facts, project milestones and updates, event notifications, interactive, or product sales. For the total number of posts, we calculated the percentage attributed to each category. We also calculated the percentage of the total number of shares/comments and “likes” attributed to each category. We plotted the number of likes per category over the length of the study.
We determined the total number of followers over time and calculated increases in the number of followers relevant to particular posts.
Figure 2. Screenshot of the Facebook page supporting the ʻAlalā Project.
Figure 3. Facebook page likes from 6/1/16 to 6/1/18 with examples of post relating to the increase in the number of followers.
Figure 4. Total number of Facebook posts from 01June16 to 01June18 divided into categories.
Figure 5. Number of Facebook “likes” divided by category of post.
Figure 6. Number of Facebook shares/comments/reactions divided by category of post.
Figure 7. Number of Facebook likes per category over time.
For in-person presentations, the ʻAlalā Project participated in a total of 64 events from January 2016-August 2017 (20 months; Table 1) and a total of 40 events from September 2017-June 2018 (10 months; Table 2). In the September 2017-June 2018 period of time, the project reached 5,581 people by participating in in-person events and presentations (Table 2).
On June 1, 2016, there was a total of 1,231 individuals who followed the ʻAlalā Project Facebook page, on June 1, 2018, there was a total of 3,445. The largest increase (20.5%) in followers occurred between December 14, 2016, and December 17, 2016, following the first release effort (Figure 3).
Between June 1, 2016 - June 1, 2018, there were 156 posts. The post category that has been posted the most often has been the personal aspect and behind the scenes posts, 23.9% (n=37), closely followed by event notifications, 22.6% (n=35), (Figure 4). The category of post that gained the most “likes” came from video and audio posts, 47.3% (n=319,745) followed by project milestones/updates, 20.9% (n= 141,292)(Figure 5). The category of posts that earned the most comments and shares was also the video/audio posts, 46.3% (n=15,117) followed by project milestones/updates, 26.1% (n=8,530) (Figure 6). To show any trends in the material that is posted over time, such as a higher frequency of video/audio posts since the second cohort of birds has been released, information was graphed to show how many posts of each category was posted over the two year time span (Figure 7), two outliers were not included in this figure since they were off the chart.
|Audience Type||Number of Presentations|
|Audience Type||Number of Presentations||Number of Attendees|
Mahalo to those who have helped contribute to this poster and the reintroduction work being done with the ʻAlalā.
Banko, Paul C., Donna L. Ball, and Winston E. Banko, 2002. Hawaiian Crow ( Corvus hawaiiensis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.) Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/648
Batrinca, B., Treleaven, P.C., 2015. Social media analytics: a survey of techniques, tools, and platforms. AI & Society. 30:89. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-014-0549-4
James, H.F., and S.L. Olson, 1991. Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part II. Passeriformes. Ornithological Monographs 46:1-88
Lupton, D., 2014. Feeling Better Connected: Academicsʻ use of social media. Canberra: News & Media Research Centre. University of Canberra