American forests are aging, and wildlife that depend on young forests for survival are in long-term decline. To grow populations of unique critters like golden-winged warbler, American woodcock, and the endangered Appalachian cottontail, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Wildlife Management Institute partnered with DJ Case and Associates to implement a marketing strategy to increase the number of private landowners who harvest trees and grow young forests.
Working with PGC and key stakeholders in the forest management community, we implemented a targeted campaign encouraging landowners to apply for cost-share funds and technical assistance. We also tested messages and visuals to find out what was most compelling to our target audiences. The keystone of the campaign was a laser-focused direct-mail letter to targeted landowners in important habitat areas.
Nearly 10 percent of targeted landowners responded, overwhelming call-handling staff. Better yet, most of the responders were not enrolled in other cost-share programs — they were the new customers that conservation agencies are so often eager to find and engage.
The campaign exceeded all expectations, and nearly $1 million of NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife funds were allocated to private landowners, resulting in around 2,000 acres of young forest habitat on the landscape in Pennsylvania.
“We were concerned that we would not be able to connect with enough receptive, non-industrial private forest landowners, but DJ Case helped us design and deliver communications that resonated with our target audience, resulting in a very successful outreach campaign — one that we continue to build on today.”
- Mike Pruss, Private Lands Chief for Pennsylvania Game and Fish Commission