Each year, Bluestem Communications helps new coalitions and organizations refine their communications efforts in order to more efficiently meet programmatic goals. Many of our projects are short-term and include developing communications strategies and coalition systems. Below is some information about a few of our long-term, multi-year projects.

Mississippi River Network

The Mississippi River provides drinking water to 18 million people, but its integrity is being compromised by pollution and human interference. In 2007, Bluestem Communications was hired by the Mississippi River Network, currently comprised of 50 member organizations, to manage public opinion research on the Mississippi River. By developing a communications campaign in the ten Mississippi River states, Bluestem Communications hopes to inspire policy-makers, the agricultural community and engaged citizens to take action to restore and protect the Mississippi River and the Gulf. The 1 Mississippi campaign represents Bluestem Communications’ commitment to creating coalitions with other organizations to achieve a common goal.

Texas Land Trust Council

Bluestem Communications has been hired by the Texas Land Trust Council to conduct state-wide public opinion research and develop a public campaign for their network of land trusts. Over the course of the project, we will conduct extensive audience research to determine the best values-based messaging to use to inspire large landowners and residents to take action. We will provide campaign implementation plans, timelines and trainings for how to use the campaign materials and messages to members of the Coalition.

Willamette River Initiative

Bluestem Communications is working with the Meyer Memorial Trust to protect and restore the Willamette River, which flows through a large portion of western Oregon, including Portland and Salem. Bluestem will work with local groups who have a long history of working on River issues to determine some shared goals and plans for the future before embarking on a region-wide public opinion research project. Through this research, we will develop strong, values-based messaging to inspire public audiences to be engaged and active for their River.

Millennium Reserve and Greater Calumet Region Natural and Cultural Guidebook

Bluestem Communications worked with a diverse Task Force of people who live and work throughout the Millennium Reserve and Greater Calumet region of Illinois and Indiana to produce a beautiful, full-color Guide to the natural and cultural resources of this fantastic area. Available in PDF form at www.MillenniumReserveGuide.org, this book is designed to inspire both residents and visitors to get out and explore the world around them.


Weigh in on the Winnebago Waterways

Bluestem Communications worked with a coalition of county staff and partners in Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago watershed to gather public opinions, engage the public and stakeholders and prioritize actions to protect the state’s largest inland lake. With our partners, we carried out a multi-step public engagement effort to determine how people use the waterways and what issues the public felt were most threatening to the Winnebago Waterways. By facilitating a 19-member steering team with members from every participating entity, we were able to identify our target audience and develop a communication strategy for a five county region, allowing us to gain insight from the public as to how they value the waterways and what issues they feel are most threatening.

Chicago Wilderness

Bluestem Communications was hired by Chicago Wilderness to create a communications campaign to reach more people and meet the alliance’s natural area protection and restoration goals. Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance of organizations interested in protecting the unique Midwestern landscape spanning from Milwaukee to southwestern Michigan.

Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly

2008- 2014
The Hines Emerald Dragonfly Habitat Conservation Plan was a collaboration between Bluestem Communications and a diverse team that includes private companies, municipalities and the federal government to design and implement a stormwater education and outreach program throughout the Illinois range of the endangered Hines Emerald Dragonfly. The project provided homeowners, business owners and developers with useful information on how to control the quantity and quality of stormwater leaving their property and entering into local waterways.

The project began in 2008 and continued to grow as Bluestem Communications made important connections with residents in the region through our unique outreach campaigns. The Hines Emerald Dragonfly project highlights Bluestem Communications’ ability to define audiences, create a communication strategy that will be effective at reaching those audiences and identify outcomes for desired audiences.

Rock River Stormwater Group

From 2009-2012, Bluestem Communications coordinated an outreach campaign to change public behaviors for the Rock River Stormwater Group. A coalition of nine municipalities in Wisconsin hired Bluestem Communications to devise a public information campaign, called Clean water. Bright future., to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff in their communities. The campaign, a requirement of their state stormwater permit, engaged citizens using a variety of proven outreach techniques. Bluestem Communications combined public opinion polls, leadership training and public information pathways, such as door hangings and radio, to reach audiences and motivate them to take action.

Projects like the Rock River Stormwater Group highlight Bluestem Communications’ ability to identify target audiences and develop values-based messages that inspire people to take action.

Great Lakes Forever

For eight years, Great Lakes Forever was a public education initiative involving media outreach, educational advertising (print and radio), point-of-experience signs at lakefront areas and web-based outreach that inform and hopefully inspire a broader constituency to take action to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Great Lakes Forever framed the discussion of the Lakes around four key issues: water quality, water quantity, habitat protection and invasive species control.

Great Lakes Forever exhibits Bluestem Communications’ dedication to promoting a more informed and active public that makes connections to the environment and their daily lives. The program, initially launched in 2004 by Bluestem Communications, was expanded to Chicago in 2005 with the support of the John G. Shedd Aquarium and other Chicago and regional partners. Great Lakes Forever and Budweiser partnered from 2005 to 2012 to produce the annual Great Lakes photo contest in an effort to raise awareness of the Great Lakes and engage people in their protection. We sought professional and amateur Great Lakes photos that revealed the unique and treasured landscape of the region. In 2012, Great Lakes Forever expanded to include a water conservation pledge station where we inspired participants to conserve water use by taking shorter showers.

Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives

This campaign, developed by the Healing Our Waters Coalition, was meant to generate support for federal legislation for Great Lakes Restoration. Bluestem Communications commissioned and managed public opinion research to identify target audiences, develop unified values-based messages and determine effective messengers and pathways to reach those audiences.

Great Lakes Town Hall

Great Lakes Town Hall is an online community where the 37 million residents in the Great Lakes drainage basin can come together to identify common concerns, set the political agenda, share and develop collective solutions, and demand – as a public – that the Lakes are clean, abundant and natural for generations to come.

The Great Lakes Town Hall represents Bluestem Communications’ commitment to fostering communication and understanding to protect our Earth’s vital assets. Participants can respond to essays written by moderators and guest speakers, vote in the opinion polls, post questions and announcements and start their own discussions. The Great Lakes Town Hall’s six hundred members represent a community of concerned citizens who are taking a stake in their great lakes.

The online forum is edited by three Great Lakes experts who post daily bulletins, write weekly editorials, develop polls for members to consider and compose monthly feature articles about Great Lakes issues.