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Below The Surface

Friday, February 20, 2009

Travel Writer Disses Lake Champlain

Uh-oh! Bad press on the state of Lake Champlain. And it's created quite the buzz in the papers and online. Check these out:

Candy Page's Blog @ Burlington Free Press She's got the conservation scoop.

Matt Crawford, Outdoor Writer Burlington Free Press For the sport fishing perspective.

Montpelier's Times Argus for the smack-down at the Capital with the Conservation Law Foundation

Vermont Public Radio's Interview with Greenberg

Peter Greenberg's Website with his Vermont controversy thoughts

So here's my question: How do you take bad buzz and turn it into good vibes to inspire stewardship of Lake Champlain?

~Bridget, Voices For the Lake Manager

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Video Capture is Like a Box of Chocolates never know what you're going to get. Sorry, had to do it. Maybe it's the chocolate hang-over I have from Valentine's Day, but I can't seem to shake the analogy. Part of what is both exciting and challenging about providing our visitors with a place to record their stories and have them go directly to our YouTube channel is that sometimes you bite into that dud chocolate you just don't like.

It's one of the most common questions I've come across when talking about the Voices For the Lake video capture kiosk. And, I'm not alone. I've been following the Mattress Factory and Brooklyn Museum's quick capture projects; the same concern has been expressed.

Ah, but that is part of what is exciting. It's quite fun to come back to the office on Monday morning after a busy weekend at the aquarium and go through the videos that have been left at the kiosk. And I'll admit, they don't all measure up to what I have created in my mind as the ideal - the dark chocolate caramel, if you will.

What I learned from watching the other two projects was not to be afraid of the dud chocolates. My team and I are constantly reminding each other that it's an experiment, it's a prototype, and most importantly, it's an iterative process. It's okay to go back and tweak things a bit so that we can get a better result. We've reworked the framing questions on the kiosk, developed a flowchart for filtering videos, we've even moved the kiosk to different locations. Each tweak has us asking: Will this result in videos whose content is on target and rich with personal experience?

For me, personally, there have been a couple dark chocolate caramel videos at this early stage in our project. I'll let you decide for yourself at our channel. But for a little fun, here's one that's like - a chocolate covered marshmallow for me. ~ Bridget, Voices For the Lake Manager

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conservation & Social Media

Can social media be used to raise awareness around a conservation issue?

Let's go one step further

Can it raise awareness AND inspire stewardship?

Well, I'm about to find out. And I'm hoping you'll stick around to find out with me.

ECHO's Voices For the Lake project which I manage just completed setting up what I am calling our "social media empire" online this week. You can find us on Facebook, on YouTube, on our website and on this blog. It's the foundation for an ambitious project that is using the stories of folks who live around the Lake Champlain Basin in VT and NY to answer those two questions above. Social networking will be the tools we use to share these stories and create some buzz about the health of Lake Champlain.

What can you expect from this blog?

Well, I'm finding this project fascinating in a number of different ways...the social media concept itself, the act of asking people how they feel about Lake Champlain, the issues surronding the health of the Lake, the overwhelming number of Web 2.0 tools out there, the communities & groups involved in being stewards of the Lake...

I could keep going on and on and on. And apparently, I now have an outlet to do just that. My team and I have been working on th
is project for only a few months but we've had so many great discussions & challenges with this that I am relieved to have a place to unload, share and hopefully receive some feedback about the project.

Looking forward to splicing into the blogsphere!

Good stuff...
Voices For the Lake Manager