Tool Kit for Activists

Interested in helping to protect disappearing wild places, like Otero Mesa? Or helping restore habitat along the Rio Grande? Or maybe you want to make sure the Mexican gray wolf is re-established in its historic homeland? Here are some easy tips to help get you started: 

Tips for writing a letter to the editor

Getting a letter to the editor (LTE) published in the newspaper is an excellent way to educate the public about your issue, and to ensure that elected representatives hear the voices and opinions of their constituents.  Following are some tips to help you get your letters published:

  • Letters should be short – ideally 200-250 words long. In fact, some of the best LTEs are a mere 1-2 sentences long
  • Letters should be timely – newspapers are more prone to publishing your LTE if it relates to an issue currently in the news. Finding a way to tie it in to a recent news story, or an upcoming event that is sure to be in the news is a great way to give your letter a leg up above the rest
  • Letters should be personal – the LTE section of the newspaper provides a forum for people to express their opinions – express your passion and avoid sounding like an opinion-less textbook
  • Think about your audience – who are you trying to influence with your letter? The general public? An elected official? Make sure that the message and tone of your letter will resonate with your target audience.

Find editorial contacts here.

Tips for Writing a Letter to an Elected Official

Writing to both policy makers and elected officials in your own words can be a great way to let them know about the issues that matter to you and make sure you let them know you expect them to do something about it. Hree are a few "do's and dont's" of writing to a policy maker or elected official:

  • Do write a short, direct letter. These will hold the most weight. Too long of a letter and it probably won't be read.
  • Do make sure your handwriting is legible, if you're handwriting your letter. If you're e-mailing your letter, double check for grammar and spelling errors. 
  • Do be sure to include your contact information. 
  • Do be specific about your concerns and requests.
  • Don't use vague statements like, "because it's bad" or "I don't like it", facts hold the most weight (make sure you check out our talking points for each campaign to help get you started!). 
  • Don't be rude or agressive! 

When Writing to Members of the U.S. Senate Use the Following Format: 

The Honorable (Full Name) 
(Street address)
(City, State, Zip) 

Dear Senator (Last Name), 

When Writing to Members of the U.S. Congress Use the Following Format: 

The Honorable (Full Name) 
(Street Address) 
(City, State, Zip) 

Dear Representative (Last Name), 

If you're unsure who your elected officials are, check out our list!

Utilizing Social Media

Social media can be a great way to both educate people on the issues that matter to you and getting them involved. Follow the four step guide to becoming social media savvy in regards to advocating for wildlife and their habitats: 

1. Keep up to date with the pressing regional biodiversity and conservation concerns of the region by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. 

2. Invite your friends to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter so they can stay up to date too! 

3. Share the campaign that is most personal to you, so your friends can learn how to make a difference. 

4. RSVP to events relating to the campaign on Facebook and share them with your friends, as our activist network grows so will our power to effectively enact change.