Surfrider activist Leon Richter charging Tres Palmas inside the marine reserve
This year, the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Tres Palmas Marine Reserve is the first marine reserve on the mainland of Puerto Rico and it is unique because it is not only designed to protect the marine ecosystem, especially the Elkhorn coral, but also to protect surfing. During this campaign, we developed a set of five principles for success that can be replicated in any campaign.
1. Education and Outreach: Education, outreach, and community activities are critical to establishing the basic understanding of the goals of your campaign and providing opportunities for local engagement through volunteer opportunities.
2. Vertical Connections: Making “vertical” connections between the local, state and federal government that engage a diverse range of stakeholders can bridge the communication gap between the community and all levels of government and facilitate broader civic involvement by reducing barriers and enhancing local capacity for public participation.
3. Horizontal Linkages: Creating “horizontal” linkages between groups in local communities can aid in establishing common ground and shares goals. These linkages can include neighborhood groups, other NGOs, local universities, local businesses, recreational groups, etc.
4. Technical Support: Supplying technical support through outside expertise, science, economic, and legal assistance provides the basic information and tools to support a campaign. This support can facilitate public participation, communication and collaboration by supplying science-based information and communication tools, such as maps.
5. Transparency: Use of a consistent, open, and transparent process creates credibility, trust, and cooperation for all constituents.
At Surfrider, we have used these five principles in many of our campaigns with great success so we know it is a successful approach.
You can read more about how these principles were applied at the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve here or check out the film.