Potomac Conservancy was founded in 1993 to safeguard the Potomac River’s water quality for outdoor recreation and thriving ecosystems. As a local conservation movement in the Washington, DC area, Potomac Conservancy mobilizes 30,000 supporters with conservation and policy initiatives to help restore the Potomac River to standards outlined in the Clean Water Act of 1972.
MSBD/GreenSmith PR was tasked with supporting Potomac Conservancy’s PR campaign event to releaseof its biennial report card on the health of the river and its watershed. The work required swift planning given the organization’s desire to release the report just days before its signature fundraising event in late May.
MSBD/GreenSmith PR shared our framework for ecosystem report card press events. Scientists who authored the Conservancy’s report provided data on changes over the past two years, when the previous report was issued. Our team analyzed the data to find the angles that would resonate with the public. With the overall improvement in the watershed resulting in a slightly higher grade for the river’s health, we explored the specific reasons.
The most attention-grabbing data pointed to improvements that, if continued, would allow safe swimming in the water. Using that news media hook, MSBD/GreenSmith PR crafted a media advisory and shared an embargoed copy of the report card with environmental beat reporters at The Washington Post.
Other PR services included media pitching to key broadcast media assignment desks, environmental online publications. To further encourage live coverage of the event, we planned a program of speakers, including elected and appointed officials from jurisdictions that bordered the Potomac River. Our environmental backdrop was achieved by booking the morning event at the Potomac Boat House, which has a porch area that overlooks the Potomac River and a captivating bridge that connects Washington, DC with Northern Virginia.
Aided by picture-perfect weather, the press conference generated 252 million global media impressions, including a front-page article in The Washington Post and an editorial by Potomac Conservancy Executive Director Hedrick Belin in the online environmental publication, Maryland Matters. Media outlets covering the event included:
The Washington Post, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV, WJLA-TV, WJZ-TV, National Public Radio All Things Considered, WTOP Radio News, WAMU-FM, The Bay Journal, Maryland Matters, and The Washington Informer.