Connecting the Web & Wilderness

The Big Wild is an online conservation organization, founded by Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, that supports and promotes environmental campaigns from across Canada. With the help of Capulet in 2010, The Big Wild successfully built support for Canadian wilderness conservation campaigns, helping to set an agenda for wilderness protection across the country. The Big Wild’s ultimate goal is to help protect at least 50% of Canada’s public wilderness.

Think Big
The Big Wild was initially an online community supporting wilderness recreation and environmental protection.

Capulet was brought on board to help transform from an online community to an environmental advocacy organization. Changes to the site and strategy resulted in over xx actions taken across six different conservation campaigns throughout 2010. Visitors could now take quick and easy political actions by signing petitions and sending letters to governments to help protect a Canadian wilderness at risk.

The Big Picture
To help draw attention to feature campaigns on and encourage visitors to sign petitions, Capulet launched the following online marketing projects:

QR Code PR Campaign
In an attempt to garner media attention and increase brand recognition for The Big Wild, we launched the first-ever conservation campaign in Canada using QR codes. We put up posters featuring large QR codes in seven cities across the country. A QR code reader on a smartphone directed anyone who scanned the QR code to one of two conservation campaigns featured on where the visitor could sign a petition. While we recognized that it was still very early days for QR codes adoption by Canadian mobile users, our primary goal was to earn mainstream media coverage for The Big Wild. The QR code campaign was featured in more than a dozen news stories, including a piece on CBC’s “The National”.

Wilderness Soundboard, Cause Games are Fun!
In honour of World Rivers Day, created a soundboard featuring 16 unique sounds heard on a Canadian riverbank. Visitors could submit their best guess at naming each sound and be entered to win a $250 MEC gift card. The soundboard was a fun link to send around to friends and also appealed to teachers as an educational tool.

Big Wild Bucks Contest
Toward the end of 2010, The Big Wild selected five different conservation projects from across the country and asked it’s online community members to vote for their favourite in a contest called “Big Wild Bucks.” The top three projects won a total of $10,000 to help further their conservation efforts. More than 15, 000 people voted over a six-week period. Not only did it introduce five different conservation organizations to The Big Wild community, each finalist reached out it’s own support network in search of votes, successfully activating their constituents.

This crowd-sourced voting strategy enabled us to access new audiences that would be sympathetic to The Big Wild’s mandate, and engage with smaller non-profit organizations who otherwise wouldn’t connect with The Big Wild.

What the Web Likes: Infographics
The Big Wild produced two infographics last year–data visualizations of interesting wilderness trivia . The first was called “How Wild is North America” and compared the ecological footprint of Canada, the US and Mexico. The second infographic, called “World Rivers Day,” featured the top 20 largest rivers in the world. Both infographics received attention from blogs and, in particular, schoolteachers who requested larger copies for their classrooms.

Big Wins
The Big Wild celebrated two big wins during its first year as an online amplifier for Canadian wilderness campaigns.

Win #1: British Columbia’s provincial government formally banned any further drilling and mining in the Flathead River Valley, a wilderness corridor located in the south eastern corner of the province.

Win #2: Nine environmental organizations and 21 forest companies in Canada signed an agreement that protects Canadian boreal forest and woodland caribou as well as committing to more sustainable forest products.

These were big wins for all the organizations involved and The Big Wild,and Capulet, were thrilled to be part of them. We look forward to another productive year of helping to save Canadian wilderness in 2011!

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