Don’t Trash Nevada Social Media Team Raises Environmental Awareness Through Social Media Marketing Program
Don’t Trash Nevada is the outreach and advertising campaign of the Take Pride in America in Southern Nevada (TPIASN) project. The project itself is a collaborative effort between the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership (SNAP), comprised of the four federal agencies operating public lands in the valley, and UNLV’s Public Lands Institute. Created to reduce illegal desert dumping and littering issues in the valley, Don’t Trash Nevada administers a litter site monitoring program, organizes volunteer clean up events, and participates in community partnerships such as the Keep Las Vegas Beautiful committee.
Additionally, Don’t Trash Nevada oversees a youth social media squad (SMS). The social media squad aims to educate and generate environmental stewardship by having youth, who may not otherwise encounter local environmental topics, curate social media content for the Don’t Trash Nevada Facebook and Twitter accounts. In return, participants receive mentorship in writing and marketing skills, as well as a small research stipend upon completing program requirements.
The SMS began in 2011 in collaboration with the West Career and Technology Academy (WCTA) DECA social media club. Initially, four students received social media marketing training from R&R Partners to administer the brand’s social media outlets.
In 2012, the program expanded to include 12 students from both WCTA and UNLV. Students in this cohort continue to curate content for Facebook and Twitter under the guidance of the team coordinator, Trish Harrison. Additionally, current participants will learn analytical reporting, community management, and blog writing skills, and have expressed a desire to champion the lead for Don’t Trash Nevada to expand to other social media outlets, including Instagram and Tumblr.
With a diverse range of backgrounds, abilities, and schedules, the students have decided to use Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts to collaborate and meet virtually. Weekly meetings are recorded and shared via YouTube, allowing absent team members to view later. The students have also elected to take their environmental education and community involvement offline, as we prepare to participate in an Operation Zero cove cleanup over spring break in partnership with Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Overall, the social media squad has been a great success. Team members have learned key local environmental messages and developed essential writing and social media skills, while Don’t Trash Nevada has increased its visibility and reach to the community, especially youth, through the use of social media.
In the future, the social media squad anticipates expanding to additional schools, including Liberty High School and Las Vegas Academy. We look forward to continuing this mutually beneficial program helping youth learn about the environment while improving marketable career skills.