Inside the Source: Communicating Forestry through Video

September 18, 2019 

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Communicating Forestry through Video 
By Andrea Watts

As several articles in this special issue have shown, many SAF members are dispelling the cliché that foresters would rather be in the woods than talk to people. These articles show that, in addition to one-on-one conversations, there are a number of ways to communicate with the public.

For SAF members Bill Cook, a district forester for Michigan State University Extension, and Georgia Peterson, a professor for Michigan State University and Extension forester, their method of communication is via social media, specifically video. They are the stars of the BeLEAF It or Not! educational video series, a collaborative project with James Ford, owner of Great Lakes Digital Video and a visiting professor at Grand Valley State University. So far, they’ve produced 10 episodes:

Crowns, Trunks and Roots!
How Do Trees Regenerate?
Jack Pine – Ugly but Interesting!
The Carbon Cycle and the Forest!
Photosynthesis and Respiration in Trees!
How to Identify Trees, Part 1 of 2
Logging Products
Mill Products
Exploring Vernal Pools
How Does a Tree Grow? Hint: It’s Not What You Think!

The videos are available on YouTube.

In his master’s thesis, Ford laid out an argument for why communicators should invest in social media:

According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center (Smith, & Anderson, 2018), most Americans use social media. The study reported that 68% of adults use Facebook and 73% use YouTube. For 18- to 24-year-olds, YouTube is almost ubiquitous with 94% of youngsters reportedly using the service on a regular basis.

YouTube is clearly an important part of people lives, and so it’s logical to pursue communication strategies that leverage YouTube as a means for marketing, public relations and education.

However, there is a learning curve involved in producing a video and bachelor of science degree programs don’t include courses in video production. To help members decide if they have the resources and personality to create educational videos, Cook, Peterson, and Ford share what’s involved with creating a video—from deciding upon an audience to writing a script and choosing an appropriate production company.

Click here to read the full article.