Thank You for 8 Incredible Years at National Wildlife Federation


After 8 years of building up NWF’s social communities, I have decided to leave to help run the social entities at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I wanted to share with my beloved online friends what I shared with my colleagues at National Wildlife Federation– as much of the words ring true for the people I worked with while I was there.

NWF Social Media Update Q2 2013So, to all of my nonprofit techies and counterparts, to the incredible coalitions, partners and groups I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and for the absolutely amazing and inspiring group of NWF supporters I’ve gotten to know over the years, please read these words and know how grateful I am. I will continue to pledge to do the best work I can for both the communities and wildlife.

Thank you all for being wonderful to work with for wildlife.. I’m looking forward to working hard at USFWS to make a difference.


To My Dearest NWF Family,

I gave serious consideration to writing a “goodbye tweet” instead of email, but the truth is, I have loved this place for so long that 140 characters isn’t going to cut it.

My last day at NWF will officially be October 29th. That being said, I will continue being an avid fan and NWF supporter in my personal life until the end of my days.

The truth is, working for NWF had always been my dream job since childhood and I’m incredibly honored and humbled by what I was able to accomplish while I was here, with the help of all of you. We’ve made impressive strides blending fun content, our mission and the passion of people online to see real results and learn valuable lessons. I’ve learned so much about each facet of how we do business here thanks to the 14 bosses, 4 departments and 6 job descriptions I’ve had since I started back in 2006. I look forward to following the future growth of NWF and hope to work with all of you at some point in the future.

I’m not going far. Starting November 3rd, I will be working at the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

I thought it only appropriate that I write a blog for you all about what I loved about this place and what I will miss.

5 Reasons I’m Thankful for the National Wildlife Federation

1. The People: You are the smartest, most talented and hilarious colleagues a person could ask for. I have always loved wildlife, but it’s impossible to work for NWF and not love the people too. You all do incredible work and should feel validated daily by the strides you are making for wildlife. The amount of work people do in this organization is astounding and you should be proud of that. I feel so fortunate I got to work with everyone from regional staff, affiliates, partners, board members and more to figure out how we all could use social media for wildlife. I loved that the online world reminded us that we weren’t so far apart after all.

2. The Incredible Office BuildingHQ

The HQ building served as a constant reminder why I work here and not some for-profit muckity muck :). It was behind our building I spotted my first pileated woodpecker cavity nest, noticed dwarf ginseng in impressive numbers and spent hours observing for wood frogs, box turtles and various snake species (I’ve seen 6) as I thought through our social strategy and how to bring offline-online. I took walks with Craig Tufts and spent time investigating trees and noticing nuances during various check-ins or after rigorous meetings. This building has been a source of inspiration and a great reminder as to why we have to create a space for wildlife in every day life to be happy.

3. You Let Me Try Out New Ideas – My job as a social media nutcase got grounding back in 2006 when Kristin Johnson gave me control over our Myspace page with 25 friends. The rest is history— we are now well over 1 million fans and followers across platforms. It takes an amazing organization to accommodate a change in the way NWF did for someone like me. It is because of this our work is mentioned in dozens of books and hundreds of articles around our leadership in social media. As many of you know, I present about 25 times a year about using social media and NWF was always incredibly supportive and a true thought leader amongst nonprofits in this realm. I am impressed with any place that adjusts to changing times. I will certainly miss how innovative this place is!


4. I Got To Make Friends for a Living – This one is pretty self-explanatory, but one of the best social media concepts I learned while at NWF is to treat social media supporters just like your friends. That means- banish the use of the phrase “PUSH IT OUT” and think of connecting with people on social media as making new friends. My job at NWF taught me how to never forget that real people are behind social media handles and that if you treat them with respect and communicate with them in ways they want to be talked to— you can empower so many.

5. The Mission: All for Wildlife – I’m so grateful I got to communicate on wildlife issues in funny ways, serious ways, and informational ways, all while experimenting and working with our programs and initiatives to introduce our work to our online supporters. We were constantly working to make our work more relevant and approachable. I am so honored I got to hold a position where I had an excuse to talk about amazing wildlife and ecosystems.

You all are in fantastic hands with Dani Tinker when it comes to social media as she’s been an astounding help when it comes to community engagement and content creation. I’ll be around through the end of the month so please reach out if you need anything. Looking forward to staying in touch.
Double Dare-1

All for Wildlife,


I promise to stay goofy despite this change. 🙂


Surveying Soil and Social Media?

I knew I would find soil fascinating, so I decided to take a night class titled “The Living Soil“.  I was also interested in learning about soil so that when the inevitable zombie apocalypse strikes I may be able to plant some food for my dear family and the few remaining survivors. Currently I’m just a serial killer of plants and fail to keep the sturdiest of them alive.

A few weeks ago we had our first soil field trip and I was able to get more hands-on with a stream bed and some soil-y colleagues. We were each instructed to attempt to identify different horizons as well as the texture, color and structure of a small area of soil in Maryland.  It was mucky, interesting, and I felt like I was guessing a lot of the time. But in learning how to survey soil, I was reminded how similar it is to surveying social media and how each site offers different aspects with a unique function.

In soil, you determine physical properties by examining the:

  • Structure: (type, size and grade)
  • Texture: (percentage of sand, silt and clay)
  • Porosity: (air and water space)
  • Color: (hue, value and chroma of the soil)

It’s very easy, because soil scientists and people surveying  soil can reference any number of information sites and decide how to address the next step. But what if someone is curious about using social media? There’s no obvious key. People have to swim around in the social space and copy their competitors.

If we had to decide on how to determine the attributes of social media sites that we would need to survey I would say:

  • Structure: Profiles, Groups, Pages
  • Texture: Friendly, Intellectual or Marketing Heavy
  • Intensity: How often must you check it? How much does it take to update it?
  • Design: How user friendly is it?

Keeping in mind that I’ve only had a few moments to think about this,  I think sites like Twitter would be the topsoil and sites as built out as Ning would be the bedrock. But maybe I should just get back to studying…

5 Social Ways to Help National Wildlife Federation’s Oil Spill Work

1) Become a fan of Perry Ellis on Facebook:
For every “like” on their Project Beach tab on Facebook, Perry Ellis will donate $1 to NWF’s  Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund.

Keith Powell2) Donate through Keith Powell: I’ve been watching Keith every chance I can get on “30 Rock” and so I was thrilled to see he was using social media to help wildlife. If you choose to donate through Keith’s fundraising page, he may make an awesomely hilarious video confessing his love for you and making you laugh on the side. Pretty kind of him to do and a clever way for him to raise funds for the oil spill! Be sure to check out his Youtube videos as they are too hilarious to miss.

3) Donate Your Tweets: With you can volunteer a tweet a day to any nonprofit organization that has an account. We’ve been using it to spread oil spill information but haven’t tweeted from it every day (more like every few weeks). It’s a great way to help us if you’re comfortable with us updating your followers with oil spill information!

4) Use a URL Shortener: Through a service called edeems,  you can now shop or  shorten a link all while helping the oil spill work we’re doing. Go to . Whether your just looking to browse items or you’re looking to shorten a link you’re about to tweet…these are two clever and painless ways to help wildlife.

5) Join Our Tweet-athon:
By teaming up with Promojam, the National Wildlife Federation has been able to launch its first Tweet-athon! If you’re not really interested in giving a tweet a day, but would like to spread the word, feel free checking out this application that allows you to tweet with only a few clicks!

Tracking Oil Spill Content with Social Media

Since I work for the National Wildlife Federation, I’ve been spending 99.9% of my day thinking  about the oil spill and all the ways we can help.

Personally, I’d love nothing more than to hop on a plane and fly down to the gulf to clean some birds or monitor some water ways, but the truth is, the best way I can help is make sure people KEEP talking about the oil spill so the media KEEPS covering it.

That’s why we’re asking people to use social media to share information about the oil spill and give a voice to what’s happening in the Gulf.

We’re compiling a lot of it on our Tweetmixx page.

Our web team has done a great job of keeping our work and content up on our site. Because of this, I get the job of monitoring when and where we are being mentioned. By using my listening dashboard, I can see that people are sharing our content, but sometimes I want to know more! I want to know where they are sharing it the most and why.

[Figure 1: Our analytics for the first month of the Oil Spill]

The positive thing about social media, is that we can track when people share content! And of course, while the data in this graph is several months old, we’re seeing most of our traffic and sharing coming from Facebook. –> What does this tell me?

There are many website tools you can use to analyze social sharing activities and tracking where people are likely to share your content can guide your outreach and help you better equip your readers. But all of this would be useless if we don’t LEARN from it and change. The point that we need to take away from these analytics is that we MUST feature Facebook as a way of sharing and make it as easy for readers as possible to share with Facebook.

When I talk about this at the National Wildlife Federation, I like to stress the importance of giving a microphone to your current audience. Sharing content and making information easy to disperse is especially important when disasters like the BP oil spill happen, because we can better equip our audiences to become the messengers for events that need attention.

This oil spill disaster is on all of our minds, but I’m hopefully going to work to make it easy for you to get the information you’re interested in hearing… also, I’ll try and throw in funny things to offset the sadness that we all feel.

Technology and Wildlife – My Two Loves

Nature is my playgroundUntil recently I’ve put off starting a personal blog because I wanted to nurture  NWF’s blog, But more writing couldn’t hurt, right?

I absolutely love both technology and wildlife and so I’m going to make this blog about both. It’s a strange combination but I’ve always wanted to be a naturalist and more and more social media is making the web seem like an unknown ecosystem.  So many new tools and species to cover. I’m looking forward to the challenge.  But in no way can I do it alone!