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Case study: Values-based communications

Case study: Values-based communications

Understanding beliefs, perceptions, and values of end users increases the potential for reserve-based science to make the greatest impact on surrounding communities. A project led by the Wells Reserve used communication audit and mental mapping techniques to understand the collective beliefs about riparian buffers among reserve staff, their partners and stakeholders. Based on this research, they identified which communication and engagement strategies should be collectively prioritized.

Valuing the Ecosystem Services of Southern Maine Watersheds

Understanding the values of your end users is key to effectively targeting communications. Through a communication audit, this project team generated an inventory that captured key audiences, messages, techniques, available resources, and program evaluation related to the Wells Reserve’s outreach to project end users. The team conducted 22 mental mapping interviews to assess how end users perceived the complex, uncertain issues related to shoreland protection and riparian buffers. They used these to create mental models that reflected what participants believed to be true about York County, Maine, residents and riparian buffers.


This tool is part of an online Guide to Collaborative Science and was developed by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s Science Collaborative Program.

Location: Fine-tune Products > Plan Communication Efforts