The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wins Two Webby Awards for Social Media Campaign for the Endangered Species Act 50th Anniversary
Winners for Best Social Campaign 2024 and the People's Voice Webby for Best Social Campaign

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There were many notable milestones in 2023: Barbenheimer ruled the box office, A.I. began its integration into all aspects of life, Taylor and Travis became the “it couple,” and the Endangered Species Act turned 50 years old. This historic conservation law anniversary needed just as much buzz as any modern-day celebrity, but who would make that happen? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service communications team and bumble bees from across the country, stepped up to the challenge.

And, in late April, the Service’s Digital Strategists as well as additional outreach and communications employees were recognized for their year-long efforts by the 28th Annual Webby Awards with the Webby Award for Best Social Campaign and the People’s Voice for Best Social Campaign, which is awarded by the voting public. Known as the “Oscars” of the internet, the Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. 

"We are deeply honored to have received not just one, but two 2024 Webby awards for our social media campaign that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act,” said Nancy Monroe, Division Chief of Marketing Communications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This recognition is a tribute to the passion and dedication of our social media team, who have worked tirelessly to engage the public in our Service’s efforts, and to raise awareness about the importance of protecting endangered species. As we celebrate this achievement, we are reminded of the collective responsibility we share in safeguarding our natural heritage for future generations. Congratulations to everyone involved in this monumental effort. Together, we are making a difference." 

 About the ESA 50th Campaign – More Important Than Ever

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed in 1973 and is considered one of the world’s most important conservation laws. The ESA provides legal protection to plants and animals that are defined as threatened (likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future) or endangered (in danger of extinction). It has helped to save countless species from extinction over the past 50 years. Species like the bald eagle, American alligator, whooping crane and Okaloosa darter owe their continued existence to this vital law.

Working with Tribes, partners and other federal agencies, we set out with two simple goals for our ESA 50th social campaign – increase our social media audience’s knowledge and awareness of the ESA and increase support for threatened and endangered species.

Easier said than done! 

By incorporating humor, entertainment, fun facts and beautiful art, the social campaign took a heavy topic and made it relatable and understandable. Our social media audience responded positively by making many ESA 50th campaign social posts some of our most liked and highest engaged of the year! Over the course of 2023, we generated over 175 campaign social media posts, that reached over 7.2 million people. 

Collaborating with Partners to Tell the ESA Story

Throughout 2023, we worked with federal partners National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Postal Service and the National Park Service to create joint social media messaging that promoted the successes of the ESA. 

When the U.S. Postal Service launched a set of stamps that featured 20 charismatic endangered species to celebrate the 50th anniversary, we created joint messaging and collaboration social media to celebrate and promote the stamps. Service Director Martha Williams helped headline an event in Wall, South Dakota to assist in the announcement and launch the anniversary themed stamps.

Our joint messaging with partners were some of our most creative, educational and humorous social media posts. In March 2023 for World Wildlife Day, we worked with the National Park Service to collaborate on joint social media messaging that shared the story of how our agencies work together to help create ESA success stories and species recovery. By incorporating humor, striking images, fun facts and federal partner participation, we were able to increase our reach for each campaign social post.

Creative Employees Brought the Buzz

Partner messaging was one aspect of the ESA 50th social campaign, but internal creativity was another! So many talented Service communications professionals worked tirelessly to strategize and plan, to create stories, graphics, GIFs and beautiful pieces of art to help promote this historic law.

To commemorate the anniversary, we also released a series of posters that were rolled out on our social media accounts. These gorgeous posters featured portraits of eight federally listed species that have been put on the road to recovery due to this important law. The portraits were painted by Cal Robinson, a public affairs specialist in the Service’s Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office.

“These awards are a testament to the talent and personal investment that our larger digital group brings to the table every single day,” said the Service Social Media Manager Bryson Jones. “Not only have we involved the American public in the importance of the ESA, but we’ve brought many into the fold of the greater mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A special thanks to all of our digital strategists and communications professionals and all their hard work on this award-winning social media campaign.”

Story Tags

Endangered and/or Threatened species