The California State Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization, has advocated on behalf of California’s 278 State Parks to ensure funding and permanent protection of State Parks. With the California budget crisis paralyzing state agencies, the Foundation wanted to secure stable funding and support for state parks. The organization’s goals included not only attracting more volunteers and donors, but also rallying advocates who could lobby state legislators during the Foundation’s annual Park Advocacy Day in Sacramento and turn out in support of Earth Day and other State Park and Foundation initiatives.
LCI’s strategy was to support and create a number of activities to keep the Foundation and its efforts visible year round. In conjunction with the California State Park Foundation’s Annual State of Our State Parks and Park Advocacy Day, LCI created a survey for members of the Foundation and California residents to obtain opinions about various state park related issues, such as support for a sales tax increase to maintain the parks. Survey results were promoted to the media and LCI reached out to other advocacy groups to attend Park Advocacy Day on the steps of the Capitol.
For Earth Day, LCI initiated the first ever state-wide media sponsorship program in major media markets. LCI also secured Clint Eastwood for a statewide PSA in support of Earth Day. LCI creatively pitched ‘day in the life of a ranger’ stories statewide as well as op/ed placements capitalizing on how the state’s budget crisis is a call to action for proper funding and for volunteers throughout California. LCI led a public relations campaign to draw attention to the proposed plan to build a toll road through San Onofre State Beach. Through a coalition of environmental and non-profit organizations opposed to the road, LCI created a strategy to draw media attention to the story and encourage the public to speak out in opposition. Media were invited to attend a tour of the park with the State Park Commissioners and then attend the public hearings.
Thirteen organizations supported Park Advocacy Day and 200 people rallied on the steps of the Capitol in support of state parks, double from the year before. Media results included Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, NPR, KGO radio, KQED radio, KCRA-TV and KTVU-TV. More importantly, the state recommended fairly stable funding for State Parks. Outreach and sponsorship solicitation resulted in the strongest Earth Day event to date with 20 media partners from across the state and numerous feature stories. Statewide PSA and media coverage included placements in Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, San Diego Union Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Contra Costa Times, KTTV-TV (LA), KMPH-TV (Fresno), KGPE-TV (Fresno) and KABC-FM (LA). Media value for the Earth Day campaign reached more than $4 million statewide.