It took ten years, but the Fisheries and Wildlife Divisions of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have finally hired a communications specialist. At the same time, the agency’s Information and Education Division hired a public relations representative to replace Deb Turcotte who left that position in Octobe
In 2002 and 2004, reviews of the department’s divisions was conducted by the Management Assistance Team of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, following enactment by the legislature of study proposals from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
Among the recommendations was one to “place greater emphasis on information and outreach efforts in order to meet the agency mission long into the future.” The reviewers recommended the creation of three new positions in the Information and Education Division: a public relations writer/editor, a webmaster/graphic designer, and a public relations specialist dedicated to the Warden Service. They also recommended I&E “generalists” be hired in each of the agency’s regional offices.
The reviewers also recommended that I&E staff be assigned liaison/counterpart relationships between I&E and the Wildlife, Fisheries, and Licensing and Registration Divisions.
The I&E Division actually had a webmaster for a while, but he’s gone and steady budget reductions have made it impossible to come anywhere close to implementing the recommendations issued in 2004. Which brings us to today’s news.
Caroline Hailey has been hired as the Public Relations Representative in the Information and Education Division. Essentially she is the media person, responsible for much of the writing, communications, and marketing. Well, they don’t actually do marketing anymore. They never replaced the marketing guru, Bill Pierce, when he left four years ago.
Hailey most recently worked as a news reporter for the Carroll County Times in Maryland. She previously was a statehouse reporter for the Cape Cod Times. Doug Rafferty, DIF&W’s I&E Director, in a press release announcing Hailey, said her work history “gives her plenty of experience in New England issues."
According to Rafferty, Hailey’s “job here at the Department will include establishing and maintaining media contacts throughout the state, press releases, coordinating with other departments on various projects, and occasionally something she’s also good at – photography.”
Hailey started her job on June 4. “She brings knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the job,” exclaimed Rafferty. She’ll certainly need that and more in a division that is understaffed and able to do far less than it did a decade ago.
Ashley Malinowski has been hired as the new Information and Education Specialist for the Bureau of Resource Management – meaning she’ll serve both the fisheries and the wildlife divisions. This is a newly created position, and the first to recognize and react to the 2004 recommendation that I&E specialists be assigned to each division and regional office.
DIF&W’s press release noted, “Her combined experience in field based research, communicating with the public about Maine wildlife as an employee of the Maine Wildlife Park, and planning and leading educational workshops to promote safe hunting and fishing, along with her great enthusiasm for the work our biologists do, made her stand out among many applicants.”
The release reported, “Ashley’s primary duties in this newly developed position will be to promote and enhance communication about the work undertaken by staff in the Bureau of Resource Management to the public through press releases, public working groups and task forces, and by enhancing the Department’s web and print presence.”
Malinowski is based in Augusta but is expected to get out into the field to learn about and report on the projects and studies being undertaken by the agency’s regional and research staff. She also began her new job on June 4.
Both Malinowski and Hailey would do well to read the 2002 and 2004 MAT reviews and recommendations – particularly this one from the 2004 review.
“The Department cannot expect success from I&E unless biologists and wardens are willing to contribute to DIF&W public relations and outreach efforts… Incorporating outreach functions in every employee’s work plan is one way to improve overall public relations and outreach efforts.”
And perhaps the most important recommendation in both reviews is this one.
“Ensuring that the agency is tied to customer needs, price sensitivity, access, and awareness are all vital to a state fish and wildlife agency’s long-term survival. For success, the marketing efforts cannot exist in a vacuum, but need to be infused into all Department programs as an overall approach to doing business.”
As we welcome Caroline Hailey and Ashley Malinowsky to their new jobs, we should prepare to evaluate their work on our behalf using the recommendation above. Obviously, to succeed, they’ll need strong support from the department’s leaders. Here’s hoping they get it!