Don't Move Firewood rocks the Heath Fair
by Annalena Barrett
Last weekend Julia and I found ourselves frolicking around the fairgrounds of Heath, Massachusetts in our wondrous Asian Longhorned Beetle costume. The Heath Fair was a true country fair with contests for the best summer squash and most weight pulled by a lawn mower. This was very different from the music festivals and farmers markets we have gotten used to, and it actually ended up being one of my favorite events of the summer. This had a little to do with the fact that our booth was stationed next to the mini doughnut stand, and a lot to do with the conversations we had throughout the course of the weekend.
There is a sweet spot in outreach in which we have new information to present to someone, and they are willing to listen and engage. Although speaking with someone who used to work for the Department of Conservation and Recreation who is an expert on invasives is a great interaction, that person probably already knows not to move firewood. At some events we experience the opposite, where people don’t know about the issue, but also do not care to learn about it.
It also helped that the Heath Fair had a lot of people in a really good mood, like this police officer.
At the Heath Fair it seemed like there were a lot of people who did not know much about Don’t Move Firewood, but were excited to learn. Many of the people we spoke to spent a lot of time in the woods either for livelihood or for recreation, but it was clear that this demographic was concerned about saving their trees, which was great starting point for our conversations.