Awareness raising and communication

Awareness raising and communication is vital to effectively tackling non-native species. Local Action Groups may need to communicate and raise awareness on all levels (locally, regionally and nationally) and with a whole array of different stakeholders including individual residents, business owners, land owners, councils, other action groups, researchers, consultants and volunteers. It is extremely important that communication is consistent. The information below describes key messages and language to use in all communications, including press coverage.

Guidance from the Invasive Non-native Species Communications Strategy

The Invasive Non-native Species Communications Strategic Plan for Great Britain sets out how to engage stakeholders, the general public and how to assist training and education. 

One of the recommendations of the Strategy is the use of the following key messages and language in any campaign or relevant communications with stakeholders and the general public.

Key messages and language

The term “non-native” should be used rather than "alien", as it is better understood by the public.

An invasive non-native species should be defined as: Any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live.

The working group used this definition to develop an overarching key message, and sub-messages, for explaining invasive non-native species issues:

Invasive non-native species damage our environment, the economy, our health and the way we live.

  • They threaten our native plants, animals and habitats.
  • They cost the British economy over £2 billion each year.
  • They can threaten our health.

The Strategy also outlines the following messaging for communiction with the general public:

Don't release, move or dump unwanted non-natives in the wild

  • It is illegal
  • They can spread disease
  • They threaten your sport/hobby etc.
  • They can threaten our native plants and animals
  • They can cost you a lot of money if you are liable for their removal

Press releases

Press releases are available for use as guidance (notes to editors may be particularly useful) from the links below:

Meet your nesting neighbours
- 12th March 2010 (British Trust for Ornithology.

Waterways battle against alien invader - 4th March 2010 (British Waterways).

First national survey shows Britain’s wildlife ponds are in a ‘terrible state’ - 4th February 2010 (Pond Conservation).

Unwelcome arrival of invasive sea squirt in Scottish seas -  22nd January 2010 (Scottish Natural Heritage).

Invasion of Parrot’s-feather threatens wildlife - 11th November 2009 (Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust).

Communication with landowners and the public

The following guidance for communicating with landowners and the public was suggested at the 2011 Local Action Group Workshop:

Details of landownership can be found from the following organisations:

  • Parish councils
  • Natural England
  • Land Registry - not all landowners will be identified
  • Stewardship details

Landowners and the public can be contacted effectively by the following methods:

  • Door knocking
  • Agricultural shows
  • Presentations posters
  • Press releases
  • News letters
  • Seminars
  • Writing to them including a SAE
  • Green shoots breathing spaces
  • Muck in for Life instead of ‘Change for Life’
  • Green kind of a crime – council project

How to get landowners involved in action:

  • Share good experience with landowners
  • Tap into local knowledge (choose the right person)
  • Collaboration in action - landowners invest funds and hire a contractor to do their patch
  • Good examples of collaboration with landowners include BASC, NFU and Agri-environment projects

Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark