The Firewood Outreach Coordinating Initiative (FOCI) serves as a venue for individuals actively engaged in firewood outreach, allowing the frequent sharing of activities, ideas, and information throughout North America. One of the many participants in the FOCI is the manager of Don’t Move Firewood (yours truly)- but it is important to note that Don’t Move Firewood’s campaign is one of many different facets of the FOCI- not the only one! As the end of the second consecutive year of FOCI newsletters approached, staff of The Nature Conservancy created and disseminated an online 10 question survey to determine how well the FOCI newsletter was achieving its goal, and to best inform FOCI efforts for the future.
So what did we find? Of the 421 subscribers to the FOCI Newsletter in October 2014, 89 subscribers clicked on the link to the online survey and 65 completed filling out the online survey within 11 days. It is not possible (due to the otherwise anonymous survey) to determine which 65 of the 89 individuals that clicked on the survey link actually completed the survey, but the initial group of 89 contains emails associated with dozens of state agencies, at least four federal agencies, several private industry groups, multiple public school districts, University extension offices, a variety of well known non-profits, and many ‘generic’ email domains (such as @gmail, @centurylink, etc). Survey respondents rated the FOCI as averaging 7.3 out of 10 for when asked to rate its usefulness in their professional setting, and an average of B+ (3.3 of 4.0) on an academic style grade scale when asked how it is performing as a “venue for individuals actively engaged in firewood outreach, allowing the frequent sharing of activities, ideas, and information.” Survey respondents generally suggested no changes to the current numbers of stories, news articles, the frequency of the newsletter, and the general amount of newsletter coverage dedicated to major pests such as Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer, and European spongy moth. A notable portion of survey respondents indicated they wanted more coverage of less well discussed pests such as the Asian spongy moth, goldspotted oak borer, and sudden oak death. Survey respondents generally indicated they were satisfied with how the newsletter discusses programmatic content, with the exception that a very marked (72%) number of respondents would like to see more pest outbreak announcements. The final three write-in questions contained a wide variety of positive feedback along with constructive criticism and ideas.
Where do we go from here? The survey showed that nearly everything that the FOCI newsletter currently does is helpful to the community of professionals that it serves- but it could do more. The one area of improvement that the FOCI survey highlighted was the need to have a greater exchange of ideas- such as more guest articles on the newsletter, or perhaps a more interactive webinar series. Both of these ideas are currently being examined for the 2015 season of the FOCI as a result of this feedback.
Wondering where your sticker is? We are contacting everyone that took the survey to get a mailing address. THANK YOU for your patience- please check your email and/or spam folder between November 12th and November 20th for a note from us asking for where to send your sticker!