Say…Engagement! Let the Photos Do the Talking

How many of you constantly take photos of your family members and pets, or an exquisitely prepared meal, or a stunning sunset? Many of us at here SGA admit to having taken more than one photo like this. As visual creatures, humans are drawn to photos more than words. That is why photographs are the most-read parts of any publication. In terms of community engagement, using visuals like photographs can generate broad interest and increase awareness. Text-only documents or materials often fall into the TLDR group – “too long, didn’t read.” SGA recently held a photo contest to promote stormwater issues for the Orange County Stormwater Program. “Plants, Camera, Action!” was the theme and showcasing residents’ California friendly plants and landscapes was the goal. Here’s a summary of how we did it and the results we achieved. And of course… lots of photos!

First, why? Because stormwater pollution is a pressing issue.
Stormwater pollution is especially important in California due to many residents’ close proximity to rivers, bays and the ocean. When it rains, the water that washes off streets or driveways picks up trash and other pollutants on its way to storm drains. It then flows directly into these bodies of water with little to no treatment! This affects both the health of our planet AND the health of you, your family, your friends, even your pets!

So what does this have to do with SGA’s “Plants, Camera, Action!” photo contest?!

Well, planting and maintaining a native California plant landscape throughout your yard can help mitigate stormwater pollution. California native plants tend to be more drought resistant than non-natives, requiring you to water less. Less watering (and less overwatering) reduces the amount of water going into storm drains and therefore reduces the amount of trash and pollutants going into our local bodies of water!

Second, how? Promotion, promotion, promotion.
We promoted the contest via Facebook, our website and the OC Register, hoping to give all Orange County residents a chance to see and enter the contest.

Three awards were given:
Most beautiful photo of a California friendly landscape award
Most beautiful photo of a California friendly plant award
People’s Favorite award

Third, who? Orange County Residents with California Friendly plant gardens.
There were 137 entries from residents all over Orange County, ranging from La Habra to Irvine to Aliso Viejo. Check out the rest of the entries here and maybe you too, will be inspired to make beautiful California friendly changes in your own yard!

And the winners are….

Most beautiful photo of a California friendly landscape award: Nina, San Juan Capistrano
Most beautiful photo of a California friendly plant award: Tommy, Laguna Hills
People’s Favorite award: Donna, Huntington Beach

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