SEA TURTLE NESTING HABITAT PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN Task
SEA TURTLE NESTING HABITAT PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN Task 2 Key Message Development and Testing Prepared for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 1 Public Awareness Survey Report Powered by EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A representative survey of adult residents in our seven target Panhandle counties provides insights into residents' behaviors, attitudes and levels of awareness on sea turtle preservation. Survey analysis reveals four primary gaps in awareness that can be addressed through targeted message campaigns.
3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Most people know that beach lighting is dangerous or disruptive to sea turtles, and most even know why this is the case. However, very few know which lighting options are turtle-safe. 81% know that beach lighting is bad for sea turtles, and 71% accurately identify that this is due to sea turtles using vision to find the ocean. However, just 14% know that downward-facing lights are more sea-turtle friendly, and worse, nearly double that portion (26%) believe that skyward-facing lights are safe. Awareness on this issue is low even among those with the greatest levels of exposure to sea turtle awareness materials and among those who live closest to the beach. This suggests a substantial need for better education on turtle-safe lighting options. People want to do the right thing, but don't have adequate information to do so. 4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Most people know that Panhandle sea turtles are endangered, and many understand why sea turtles provide important benefits to the ecosystem. However, most people are unaware of which months are sea turtle nesting months.
82% know that Panhandle sea turtles are endangered, and about 6 in 10 respondents accurately identify the ecological benefits that sea turtles provide. However, only 9% accurately identify all 6 sea turtle nesting months. May is identified most frequently at 41%, and October the least at 30%. Only the greatest level of exposure to sea turtle awareness materials is statistically associated with greater accuracy on this question. These findings suggest the importance of repetition in messaging, and the importance of "nesting season"-specific messaging. 5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Among the various activities that pose dangers to sea turtles, awareness is lowest regarding furniture left on the beach overnight. 61% know that it is disruptive to sea turtles to leave furniture on the beach overnight, representing the lowest awareness level among the dangers listed in this survey. Further, exposure to sea turtle awareness materials is statistically unrelated to knowledge on this matter. This suggests that awareness materials have not adequately addressed the issue of removing all obstacles from the beach. 6
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Most people know that bonfires and beach driving are dangerous, but a meaningful portion of respondents do these activities with regularity anyway. 83% of respondents know that bonfires are dangerous or disruptive to sea turtles, and 95% understand this to be true for beach driving. However, even among these aware subpopulations, 16% regularly have beach bonfires and 7% regularly drive on the beach regardless. This presents a challenge and an opportunity to better educate these individuals, who represent a wide cross-section of Panhandle residents. 7 BACKGROUND & METHODOLOGY Sachs Media Group commissioned a Web survey to help understand levels of awareness of Florida Panhandle residents about sea turtle protection and stewardship behaviors. In late January of 2015, respondents were invited to a SurveyMonkey link via targeted Facebook advertising in proper proportions based on gender, age and Florida Panhandle county. A total of 442 surveys were completed in full. This public awareness survey was conducted exclusively with the Panhandle residents, the target audience for future campaign materials, in order to make sure the team could get a baseline read of awareness and then measure change of
awareness throughout the campaign. 8 DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILES Gender and Age: Our sample includes 47% males and 51% female (2% selected no answer) and a wide age distribution. Approximately 36% are under the age of 45; 22% ages 55-64; and 23% age 65 and older. County of Residence: Our survey sample closely matches the population distribution of our seven target counties. For each county, the portion of respondents falls within 5 points of the county's ratio of population to our target area. For example, Franklin County residents represent 1.2% of our sample and 1.3% of our target area. Likewise, Okaloosa County represents 20% of our sample and 18% of our target area. Proximity to the Beach: About equal shares of respondents live within 4 miles of the coast (48%) or greater than 5 miles from the coast (52%). Of those who live within 4 miles of the coast, over half (58%) live within one mile of the coast. Over one-quarter (27%) of respondents do not work. Of those who do, nearly half (47%) work within 9
BEACH BEHAVIORS: Participation in Beach Activities Every Week or More Once a Month or More 10 BEACH BEHAVIORS: Who are Night Beach Visitors? Percentages represent the portions of respondents who reported visiting the beach at night, by frequency. 11 BEACH BEHAVIORS: Who are Night Beach Visitors? Percentages represent the portions of respondents who reported visiting the beach at night, by frequency. Weekly+ or Monthly+ Night Beach Visits 12 BEACH BEHAVIORS: Who Makes Beach Bonfires?
Calculated percent of respondents who report making beach bonfires at least weekly or monthly. 13 AWARENESS: Sea Turtle Nesting Months Question: To your knowledge, which months are considered to be "sea turtle nesting" months in the Florida Panhandle? 14 AWARENESS: Sea Turtle Nesting Months Only 9% of respondents accurately identified all of the six nesting months. Percent of respondents who answered correctly, by month However, of those 9%, a fair portion (42%) also incorrectly identified nonsea turtle nesting months as nesting months. In sum, just 5% of
respondents provided perfect answers on this question. 15 AWARENESS: Does exposure to sea turtle awareness materials influence knowledge of sea turtle nesting months? People who report having been exposed to sea turtle awareness materials very often are significantly more likely to accurately identify all six sea turtle nesting months compared with those who have lower levels of exposure to these materials. Percent of respondents who answered correctly, by month Interestingly, however, respondents who report never being exposed to sea turtle awareness materials identify sea turtle nesting months as
accurately as those who have been exposed fairly often and more often than those who report being exposed to these materials now and then and almost never. 16 AWARENESS: Which groups of people have the greatest knowledge of sea turtle nesting months? Age Range Average percent correct 18-24 12% 25-34 20%
7% Male 11% Female 8% Younger respondents are substantially more aware of sea turtle nesting months compared with older respondents. On average, 14% of respondents under the age of 45 correctly identified each of the 6 sea turtle nesting months, compared with just 7% of respondents over age 45. This difference is significant at the p=.024 level. Respondents ages 25-34 score best on this question (20%). On average, 11% of men identify all six sea turtle nesting months correctly, compared with 8% of women. This difference is not statistically significant.
17 AWARENESS: Most know that Florida Panhandle sea turtles are considered to be endangered 18 AWARENESS: Sea Turtle Ecosystem Benefits Once sea turtles hatch, their eggshells remain in the sand, providing muchneeded nutrients to beaches and fertilizing the dune vegetation. Adult and juvenile sea turtles eat sea grasses, which helps to maintain a habitat for fish, shellfish and crustaceans that humans rely on for food.
Sea turtles eat jellyfish, reducing risks and nuisance to swimmers. Adult sea turtles eat pests such as gnats and mosquitoes, making beaches more enjoyable to visitors. 19 Sea Turtles Not sure No Yes True 20 AWARENESS: Activities that are Dangerous or Disruptive to Sea Turtles: Beach Bonfires and Beach Driving
People who report knowing that beach bonfires and/or beach driving are dangerous to sea turtles are far less likely to do so a few times a year or more... However, many still do. Among those who report having bonfires on the beach a few times a year or more: Know Bonfires Do Not Are Unsure Among those who report driving on the beach a few times a year or more: Know Beach Do
Not Are Unsure 21 AWARENESS: Activities that are Dangerous or Disruptive to Sea Turtles: Beach Furniture Overnight Of the behaviors that are dangerous to Level of Exposure to Sea Turtle Awareness Materials sea turtles, leaving furniture on the beach overnight has the lowest level of awareness by respondents: Just 61% of respondents report knowing that this poses hazards to sea turtles. Interestingly, exposure to sea turtle awareness materials has no bearing on awareness on this issue. This implies
that sea turtle awareness materials in these counties to date have not adequately addressed the issue of beach furniture. 22 AWARENESS: Knowledge of Why Lighting At or Near the Beach Can be Dangerous or Disruptive to Sea Turtles During Nesting Season Most accurately identify the reason why lighting at or near the beach can be dangerous or disruptive to sea turtles. 23 AWARENESS: Knowledge of Why Lighting At or Near the Beach Can be Dangerous or Disruptive to Sea Turtles During Nesting Season People with higher levels of exposure to sea turtle awareness materials are significantly more aware of why beach lighting is disruptive to sea turtles. (p=.000) High exposure to sea turtle awareness materials
Lower exposure to sea turtle awareness materials Under 45 Over 45 Male Female Franklin County All Other Counties Lives Within 1 Mile of Beach Lives Greater than 1 Mile from Beach 24 AWARENESS: Turtle-Safe Lighting Options Question: Which of the following represent "turtle-safe" lighting options for beach area properties? 25 AWARENESS: Turtle-Safe Lighting Options Respondents are largely unaware of what constitutes turtle-safe lighting. Exposure to sea turtle awareness materials is significantly associated with more knowledge on
turtle-safe lighting. Percent Who Accurately Respond that Downward-Facing Lights are More Sea Turtle-Friendly That said, even among those who have reported a high level of exposure to sea turtle awareness materials, only 20% know that downward facing lights are safe, and only 33% know that red or amber lights are more turtle-friendly. Likewise, one-quarter of high-exposure respondents wrongly believe that skyward-facing lights are turtle-safe, and one-quarter wrongly believe that blue lights are more turtle-safe. Living within one mile of the beach doesnt help increase awareness, either. 26 EXPOSURE TO SEA TURTLE AWARENESS MATERIALS Question: Thinking about the past few years, how often have you been exposed to sea turtle awareness materials in your home county or surrounding areas?
27 EXPOSURE TO SEA TURTLE AWARENESS MATERIALS: Percent Reporting Very Often or Fairly Often by Geography 28 CASE STUDY: RECREATIONAL ANGLERS Approximately 27% of respondents report fishing off-shore, via pier, or from the beach at least monthly or weekly. This population or target persona of recreational anglers differs from other respondents in a few important ways. Anglers have more bonfires and drive on the beach more frequently 30% visit the beach at night frequently (compared to 15% of non-anglers) 16% have a beach bonfire monthly or more (compared to 4% of non-anglers) 10% drive on the beach monthly or more (compared to 4% of non-anglers) Anglers are less aware of sea turtle nesting months and less aware of lighting issues 7% accurately identify all six nesting months (compared to 9% of non-anglers) 65% are aware of why lighting is hazardous to sea turtles (compared to 73% of nonanglers) 10% know that downward-facing lighting is more sea turtle-friendly (compared to 13% of non-anglers) 26% wrongly believe that blue lights are turtle safe (compared to 23% of non-anglers)
At the same time, anglers are more exposed to sea turtle awareness materials 13% report being exposed to sea turtle awareness materials very often (compared to 9% of non-anglers) 29 Message Testing Survey Report 30 RECAP: GAPS IN AWARENESS To recap, survey analysis revealed four primary gaps in sea turtle awareness among Panhandle residents that can be addressed through targeted message campaigns: 1)Very few know which lighting options are turtle-safe. 2)Most are unaware of which months are sea turtle nesting months. 3)Among the various activities that pose dangers to sea turtles, awareness is lowest regarding furniture left on the beach overnight. 4)A meaningful portion know that beach driving and bonfires are dangerous to sea turtles, yet do these activities with regularity anyway. This is more common among Recreational Anglers. What messages are most likely to drive awareness and positive behavioral change on these critical issues? 31
METHODOLOGY This survey was deployed to residents of the southeastern United States (approximate population 87.4 million) with the goal of testing prospective messages in front of those who are most likely to either live in or visit Panhandle beaches. Analysis began after receiving a scientifically valid total number of completes. The use of an experimental design, where randomly selected subsets of respondents were exposed to different messages ("treatments"), permitted the most reliable analysis of how different types of messages influence attitudes. 32 MESSAGE TESTING: Experimental Treatment Groups This message testing analysis finds that certain taglines resonate better in general, or better with certain subgroups of people, than others. The first set of message tests used an experimental design to tease out how much and what types of information are ideal to convey. A randomly assigned "Baseline" group of respondents received minimal details on sea turtle protection, while two other randomly assigned groups received additional content. Group A saw details about how certain activities can harm sea turtles. Group B saw details about why sea turtles are important to the ecosystem and human food supplies.
33 MESSAGE TESTING: Experimental Treatment Groups Analysis finds few statistically significant differences between groups in how they respond to behaviorrelated prompts or in which messages they ultimately feel are most persuasive. In fact, Baseline group respondents indicated overall higher levels of sea turtle-friendly responses to questions on whether they would change behaviors to protect sea turtles. This suggests that simplicity matters, and that it is possible to elicit
equally positive results with fewer words. BASELINE "Baseline" SCENARIO 1: You are planning to throw a beach bonfire party BEACH BONFIRE tomorrow evening. One of PARTY your friends tells you that bonfires on the beach are dangerous to nesting and hatchling sea turtles, especially at night. GROUP A ONLY "How this hurts sea turtles" Baby sea turtles emerge from their nests at night and use vision to make
their way to the ocean safely. Beachfront lighting disorients hatchlings and can lead them in the wrong direction, away from the ocean. Nesting females can also be disoriented by the light and end up in roadways or other dangerous areas. GROUP B ONLY "Why sea turtles matter" Once sea turtles hatch, their eggshells remain in the sand, providing much-needed nutrients to beaches and fertilizing the dune vegetation. Adult and juvenile sea turtles eat sea grasses, which helps to maintain a habitat for fish, shellfish and crustaceans that
humans rely on for food. Sea turtles truly are an integral part of the coastal ecosystem. Percent giving a "good behavior" 82% answer 74% 78% You are headed inside Beach furniture prevents As you know, sea turtle SCENARIO 2: BEACH after a full day of fun at nesting turtles from survival is essential to the FURNITURE the beach. You are about reaching the safest areas health of our beaches and
to leave your chairs out of the beach to lay their food supplies. It also doesn't on the sand for the night, eggs. The obstacles also hurt that sea turtles eat but your friend says hinder hatchlings from jellyfish, making beach visits leaving trash or furniture reaching the water quickly. more enjoyable for all. on the beach overnight is hazardous to hatchling sea turtles and nesting females. Percent 84% giving a "good 85% 34 MESSAGE TESTING: Personas
Now that we've established consistent preferences between experimental groups, let's take a look back at our six target personas: When it comes to arming Panhandle residents with the most impactful materials to digest and to share with guests, a few messages rise to the surface. 35 MESSAGE TESTING: Lighting Messages Side-By-Side One question asked respondents to compare two taglines embedded in an image: The results overwhelmingly favored "Turn Out the Lights, Save a Life" (66%) over "Use the Right Light to Help Them at Night" (34%). Only women, and particularly those age 55 and older, show some meaningful preference toward the latter. The message of "use the right light" is an important one, we believe, as it
communicates that turtle-safe and human-friendly options exist for beach-area lighting. The phrase "use the right light" may benefit from being paired with "... to save a life" rather than "...to help them at night. The "Use the Right Light" message is a strong fit for communicating to the Beachfront Property Manager and Full-Time Beach-Area resident personas. Unlike overnight visitors who use the lights that they are given, property managers and full-time residents are in a position to make turtle-safe lighting choices. For beach visitors, the simple direction to "turn out the lights" is a more persuasive message. 36 MESSAGE TESTING: Rating Individual Ads on a 5-Star Scale Two questions asked respondents to rate taglines and images in terms of overall persuasiveness. On a scale of 5 stars, the ad stating "Clear the Way at the End of the Day" earned an average of 3.4 stars, and the greatest portion of respondents (26%) gave it 3 stars. This ad resonated strongest with the oldest respondents (ages 55+) and youngest (ages 18-34) respondents. "Do Not Disturb: Sea Turtle Nesting In Progress" earned an average of 4.0 stars. The greatest portion of respondents (44%) gave the ad 5 stars. The difference in means between these two ads is highly statistically significant (p=.000)
37 MESSAGE TESTING: Do Not Disturb: Sea Turtle Nesting in Progress vs. Clear the Way at the End of the Day "Do Not Disturb: Sea Turtle Nesting In Progress" was viewed equally strongly across the three treatment groups. Clear the Way at the End of the Day Ratings by Group To the contrary, "Clear the Way at the End of the Day" is favored significantly more strongly by Group B (p=.086) compared with Baseline and Group A respondents. Likewise, Baseline respondents are significantly less receptive to this ad compared with their peers (p=.013). This suggests that respondents
are confused by what it means to "clear the way" and why doing so is important, whereas respondents who are given information are better able to interpret the tagline or place it in context. 27% 29% 21% 20% 25% 27% 38 MESSAGE TESTING: Lighting
One question presented five messages related to lighting and asked respondents to select the one that they felt was most persuasive. As you can see, across treatment groups, "Turn Out the Lights, Save a Life" is once again preferred by the plurality of respondents. Above average portions of respondents ages 35-44 and 55-64 prefer "Use the Right Light to Help Them at Night, corresponding once again with the Property Manager and Full-Time Beach-Area Resident personas. MESSAGES BASELINE "Baseline" GROUP A ONLY "How this hurts sea turtles" GROUP B ONLY ALL GROUPS "Why sea turtles matter"
Lights Out for Sea Turtles 25% 22% 18% 21% Your Light Can Ruin Their Night 13% 18% 20% 17% Dim the Lights on
Nesting Sites 18% 15% 18% 17% Turn Out the Lights, Save a Life 30% 31% 29% 30% Use the Right Light to Help Them at Night
15% 13% 15% 14% 39 MESSAGE TESTING: Lighting The "Use the Right Light" message is a strong fit for communicating to the Beachfront Property Manager and Full-Time Beach-Area resident personas. Unlike overnight visitors who use the lights that they are given, property managers and full-time residents are in a position to make turtle-safe lighting choices. For beach visitors, the simple direction to Turn Out the Lights" is a more persuasive message. We learned in the awareness survey that a huge gap exists in knowledge about sea turtle-friendly lighting options.
Therefore, for the appropriate populations, "Use the Right Light" is a critical message to deploy. 40 MESSAGE TESTING: Beach Hazards One question presented four messages related to beach hazards and asked respondents to select the one that they feel is most persuasive. As you can see, across treatment groups, "Clear the Way at the End of the Day" resonates strongly with the most people, and by a substantial margin. The simple message, "Share the Beach" is favored by respondents in the Baseline group, but not by much, and comes in second across the board. MESSAGES BASELINE GROUP A ONLY GROUP B ONLY ALL GROUPS "Baseline"
"How this hurts sea turtles" "Why sea turtles matter" Less Beach Driving = Sea Turtles Surviving 24% 21% 22% 22% Clear the Way at the End of the Day 34% 42%
38% 38% Share the Beach 35% 28% 24% 29% Sea Turtles: Just Not That Into Humans 7% 10% 16%
11% 41 MESSAGE TESTING: Beach Hazards "Clear the Way at the End of the Day, if properly depicted, has promise to educate beachgoers on a topic that the fewest understand (i.e., that obstacles left on the beach overnight can be dangerous or disruptive to sea turtles). Across personas, this message can begin to fill in an important gap in sea turtle protection behaviors. Even for day visitors to the beach, this message can serve to educate on the importance of picking up trash or debris as well. However, for one persona that of the Recreational Angler it may be more critical to provide messaging and education about the hazards of beach driving. "Less Beach Driving = Sea Turtles Surviving" was selected as the top message by onequarter of respondents. However, because we know from the awareness survey that only a small fraction of beachgoers ever drive on the beach, the importance of this message in changing behavior was likely lost on most. We learned that Recreational Anglers are the most likely to drive on the beach, and therefore, the importance of this message to that audience likely exceeds the response rates presented in the next slide. 42
MESSAGE TESTING: Eco-Benefits of Sea Turtles One question presented four messages related to the benefits of sea turtles to healthy beaches and asked respondents to select the one that they feel is most persuasive. "Do Not Disturb: Sea Turtle Nesting In Progress" was preferred by a significant margin in all treatment groups, even among those respondents who had been primed to think of the many ecological benefits that sea turtles provide. Among the youngest respondents in all groups, "Do Not Disturb: Turtle Nesting in Progress" is favored by even greater margins. Group B favored the more obvious "healthy beach messages more than respondents in other groups did, and among 35-54 year olds males, "Healthy Sea Turtles = Healthy Beaches" is the message that resonated quite strongly. This demographic represents the more likely "Recreational Angler" persona. MESSAGES BASELINE GROUP A ONLY GROUP B ONLY "Why sea turtles matter" ALL GROUPS "Baseline"
23.5% Do Not Disturb: Turtles Tending to Our Beach 12% 14.9% 18.2% 15% Do Not Disturb: Turtle Nesting in Progress 55% 50% 42% 45.3%
43 MESSAGE TESTING: Eco-Benefits of Sea Turtles "Do Not Disturb: Sea Turtle Nesting in Progress" is a message that can serve to educate beachgoers about when sea turtle nesting season is happening. This will aid in filling in one of the four main gaps in understanding that we found among Panhandle residents. It is an immediate call to action that speaks broadly to an array of activities (lighting, beach driving, trash removal, and so on). One group stands out as an exception. We know that Recreational Anglers are more likely to be among those who know that an activity is dangerous (beach driving, bonfires, etc.) but do so regardless. This suggests that anglers may benefit from greater awareness about the benefits that sea turtles bring to sea life and beach life in
general. A "Healthy Sea Turtles = Healthy Beaches" message may drive home the importance of turtle-safe behavior to this population. This message resonated well with the group of respondents most likely to be recreational anglers (males ages 3554). A simple message such as "sea turtle survival is essential to the health of our beaches and food supplies" may work to explain the importance of sea turtles without bogging the reader down with details. 44 MESSAGE TESTING: Best Messages By Persona Awareness Gap Gap 1: Few know which lighting options are turtlesafe
Gap 2: Awareness is lowest regarding furniture left on the beach overnight Gap 3: Most are unaware of which months are sea turtle nesting months. Persona Primary Light-Related Message Primary Beach Hazards Message Primary Turtle EcoBenefits Message Clear the Way at the End of the Day Do Not Disturb: Turtle
Nesting in Progress Less Beach Driving = Sea Turtles Surviving* Healthy Sea Turtles = Healthy Beaches* Beachfront Property Managers Beachfront Vendors & Business Managers Use the Right Light to Help Them at Night Full-Time Beach Area Residents Overnight Visitors Day Visitors Recreational Anglers Turn Out the Lights, Save
a Life *Gap 4: A meaningful portion of people know that beach driving and bonfires are dangerous to sea turtles but do these activities with regularity anyway. 45 46
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