The NRI provides a valuable opportunity to educate local residents about the value of their community's natural resources. The work group can develop an outreach plan to determine the best strategies for sharing the NRI results with the public. Early on, familiarity with the project can be fostered by publicizing the work group's meetings through articles in local newspapers, updates on the community's website and by engaging stakeholders at public meetings.
Community events provide opportunities to display the NRI maps and have NRI project work group participants on hand to answer questions and provide information. A brochure or fact sheet describing the major findings of your NRI can also help to get information out. Work with local landowners to encourage stewardship of the land, and to show them how they can contribute to the environmental health of the community.
The more informed the community is about the NRI, the more likely it is that the inventory will be used on a regular basis.
Once priorities for using the inventory have been established, sponsor public education programs focused on those priorities. For example, if land protection is a priority, sponsor a land protection workshop for local landowners; if the objective is to prioritize water resources or wildlife, focus on issues centered around that topic. Make programs fun and get people outdoors!