Weedbusters events are a great way to provide hands-on experience in weed management so that people really understand the issue and are empowered to help.
Plan ahead and share the load
- Work as a committee and allocate publicity to one person. Try to allow at least three months to consult and plan your event.
- Work with your local council. Local community groups such as Landcare Trust, Rotary, Lions and Scouts can help with the work and provide extra volunteers for your event.
Location is important
- Where possible, choose a visual location with a plenty of local traffic. This will help to highlight the benefits of your efforts to the local community.
Invite your audience to participate
- Personal invitation is often the most effective method. To reach as many people as possible, try to speak to groups of people about your event and ask for their help and attendance.
- Formal invitations may also be required for special events. These should be sent out at least six weeks before your event (with an RSVP ten days prior).
Attract your audience
Food and Drink
- When running a community weed-clearing event, consider providing food and drinks and promoting it to encourage more volunteers.
- Local community groups or retailers may be able to provide free/discounted food.
Prizes and competitions
- Offer prizes or run a competition and announce the winners at your event.
- Your local nursery, hardware store or businesses may provide a prize at a discounted price or free of charge.
- Remember to acknowledge any assistance or support.
Personalities and local celebrities
- The right ‘personality’ can draw a decent local crowd.
- Invite your celebrity as early as possible as their diaries fill fast.
Make it family-friendly
- Ask around for volunteer child minders to encourage families to attend. Students undertaking childhood studies or suitably qualified people may like to help out.
- Consider running some weed games and/or activities to educate and entertain children
- Come up with some new and quirky ways to get public attention.
Organise a crowd
- Invite local community groups such as Landcare Trust, Rotary, Lions and Scouts.
- Invite the staff, students and parents at the local primary or secondary school to attend. If your event is during school hours, contact the principal or environmental teachers to see how it may fit into the curriculum.
Publicising the Event
Use your local media : Invite a journalist and press photographer from the local newspaper to your event.
Remind your community that the event is on: Try to get as much coverage from as many different sources as possible. Aim for your target group to receive information about the event three times from three different sources:
- Put banners up at the proposed activity site.
- Distribute a flier to key groups and do a local letterbox drop.
- Put up signs at your local shopping centre, community hall and local library.
- Discuss weeds and Weedbusters in newsletters published by schools, groups and organisations.
- Follow up formal invitations with a phone call.
- Other activities: Organise other enjoyable activities to encourage people to come your event. Let your imagination run wild! Activities could include:
- Tree planting
- Picnics or BBQs
- Face painting
- Games and competitions (‘Tug-of-Weed-War’, ‘Ginger Bash’)
- Talks and guided tours native plants and animals (contact your local DOC office or regional council to see if they have a weeds expert who can help)
- Local radio station live broadcast
- Highlight the personal benefits: Emphasize what the benefits are for your audience/participants to encourage them to get involved. Try to include a variety of benefits, because everyone’s motivations are different. Examples of personal benefits include:
- Profiting from the reduction of local weed problems through:
- an increase in property values
- a safer area for local kids
- decreased production costs and increased returns on farm land
- Improving the environment and habitat for local wildlife
- Meeting new people, or having a family day out
- Discovering more about your local environment and weeds
Evaluating the Event
- Evaluation will determine the effectiveness of your activities and decision making for the following year.
- Evaluation can be done by a formal survey or by just talking to participants on the day.
- Identify what worked (so you can do it again), and what didn’t and what changes are necessary.
- Involve participants in the evaluation. If they feel they have a say in the future of the activity, it might entice them to come back.
Source: Weedbusters Australia
- Work together with other organisations and individuals when possible.
- Know your community and match your approach accordingly.
- Incentives can help.
- Put your heart and soul into it.
- Provide the whole weed picture - what it is, why it’s a problem, how to get rid of it, what to use in its place.
- Don’t expect too much too soon. Public awareness can be a slow process, especially in the early stages when you’re trying to “create a buzz”.
- Don’t expect action to necessarily follow awareness. Providing information will seldom be enough if you want people to change any current behaviour. Think about what you want people to do and then address what the barriers are that are stopping people from doing it.