Caltrans Stormwater Outreach and Education Program
How D&A Helped Promote Clean Waterways Through Community Outreach, Creativity and Equity Engagement
The California Department of Transportation oversees the Caltrans Stormwater Education Program, which promotes sustainable environmental practices to limit waste, reduce harm to wildlife, and ensure outdoor spaces are enjoyable for all. Caltrans leveraged D&A’s social impact communications and marketing experience to reach and engage Calfiornia’s diverse communities and promote the statewide “Let’s Change This To That” public education campaign.
While promoting clean and sustainable practices is vital for the well-being of all communities, people of color have been historically excluded from the conversation. To ensure this important demographic, as well as other historically excluded communities are included in the Caltrans Stormwater Education Program, D&A set out to address language barriers, limited access to information, and cultural differences that can hinder understanding and adoption of clean community initiatives.
Actively include diverse populations in the implementation of clean community initiatives through the statewide “Let’s Change This to That” public education campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness and establish impactful, mutually beneficial partnerships and events across California by meeting people where they are. By doing so, we empower clean communities across diverse populations for transformative change.
To achieve the campaign’s goal of empowering clean communities across diverse populations, D&A created a community outreach strategy and activation plan to engage and support multicultural Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), including Refuse Refuse SF and The Grey Water Project in multiple events across California. Through public education and creativity, our plan informed a meaningful engagement strategy to empower community members and foster a sense of inclusivity and ownership—ultimately leading to a more sustainable and just future for all.
Our strategy was to initiate a comprehensive community outreach and engagement initiative to learn not only from communities served, but also those that are underserved, in order to shape effective equity and accessibility improvements to Bay Area bridge toll policies and programs.
To reach people where they are, D&A conceived and developed a strategic partnership with local artists Judith and Richard Lang to reimagine and repurpose discarded waste to counteract excessive consumption and environmental pollution. This resulted in a “Trash Castle” art installation that was displayed during Coastal Cleanup Day in Huntington Beach, CA in partnership with Orange County Coastkeeper. To involve the community, D&A promoted the event through strategic partnerships and leveraged owned and earned media. An iSpy interactive game was created for people to spot all of the pollutants in the Trash Castle sculpture. In addition to determining a visually compelling way to represent the profound impact trash and litter have on water bodies, we developed informational posters that informed event attendees on the impact trash has on our waterways.
Over the course of our outreach efforts, D&A developed strong partnerships with CBOs, from all 12 water districts including San Diego Coastkeeper. Outreach was supported with a partnership activation survey and digital toolkit. Through strategic planning and event activation, D&A facilitated and helped promote the Stormwater Education Program to diverse audiences throughout the state. Each event provided opportunities for underrepresented communities to participate in building a more sustainable future through education, creativity and engagement.