Flow Communications

If you know anything about me, you know that I am an environmentalist. Animals, plants, the ocean – where I find my peace and solace – are all things dear to me.

So I suppose it was no accident that I ended up being part of Flow’s Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Day team. We work closely with the MPA Alliance, a small collective of people passionate about:

  • The environment

  • Ocean conservation in particular

  • Making a difference in the world

It’s a group of mostly women who are championing global recognition for these national parks of the ocean. Every member of the team offers their time and expertise free of charge to this cause.

Last year the very first MPA Day was launched, in South Africa. The campaign took home five awards, including one gold, in this year’s PRISM Awards, which recognise excellence in the public relations industry in South Africa:

  • Gold Award – Environmental campaign

  • Silver Award – Best use of an event to build/change reputation (event management

  • Silver Award – NGO/NPC campaign

  • Silver Award – PR on a shoestring

  • Bronze Award – South African campaign of the year

Flow also won the Environmental category in the prestigious 2022 International Public Relations Association Golden World Awards for its work on the MPA Day campaign.

For me, though, the biggest success was that while the first MPA Day (celebrated on 1 August each year) was celebrated in South Africa only, this year nine countries took part.

Dr Judy Mann, executive of strategic projects at the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, and founding member of the MPA Day Alliance, said: “The urgency needed in protecting these ocean havens is becoming apparent internationally, and it’s fantastic to see the support from global organisations through to individuals living around MPAs. While this is an annual celebration, we’ll continue to build on this momentum as we work towards building support for MPAs and the people who depend on the ocean.”

Activities this year included the MPA Day photo competition, which is still open for entries

MPA Day photo competition 2022
MPA Day photo competition 2022

There was also a bioblitz campaign with iNaturalist, which focused on individuals identifying and recording as many species of plants and animals as possible in a specific area.

On-day celebrations on 1 August were held in a number of South Africa’s MPAs, including iSimangaliso MPA, uThukela Banks MPA, Aliwal Shoal MPA, Betty’s Bay MPA, Table Mountain National Park MPA and Robben Island MPA.

An online webinar with scientists talking about the importance of and the successes of MPAs was attended by over 100 people, and the on-day Twitter chat had a reach of over eight million.

MPA Day Twitter Chat question 1
MPA Day Twitter Chat question 2
MPA Day Twitter Chat question 3
On the day Twitter chat had a reach of over eight million.
MPA Day Twitter Chat question 4

Homebrew Films, producers of the outstanding environmental series Shoreline and The Wild Ones, created this amazing film:

It showcases our country’s spectacular marine protected areas and the diversity of marine life living off the tip of Southern Africa.

It’s amazing how individuals and organisations have become involved in the MPA Day cause, getting the word out, doing amazing digital content around MPAs, and offering their time and expertise to educate people about the importance of marine protected areas.

Our work to create awareness around MPA Day and MPAs continues. Next year, I’m sure, MPA Day will have a bigger global reach!

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