USING A SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN TO BOOST THE VISIBILITY OF ENDANGERED TOAD CONSERVATION
The Houston toad (Anaxryus houstonensis) was one the first amphibians federally listed as endangered. In 2017, Texas established a Safe Harbor Program (SHP) to encourage private landowners to voluntarily conserve the few remaining endemic toads. The toad’s two-phase life history requires that landowners restore, create, or improve aquatic and terrestrial habitat on their properties. Unfortunately, a lack of awareness about this new SHP has limited participation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is seeking novel ways to engage landowners. The purpose of this study was to identify how social media could build awareness about the Houston toad SHP. We used a science communication perspective to explore how interested parties shared SHP details with potential members. The project team began a social media campaign (#TeamHoPPS) across three popular platforms posting content related to the SHP, species conservation, and associated research projects. We tracked each post to identify the number of people reached and demographics for engaged individuals. We compared our findings on who was reached versus the targeted SHP population to measure direct and indirect visibility impacts of our campaign. This project provides insights into likely outcomes of future campaign efforts.
Gabrielle Payne (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, email@example.com;
Jared Messick (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Christopher Serenari (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, email@example.com;
Brittney Covington (Primary Presenter/Author), Texas State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Kristy Daniel (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, email@example.com;