American Prairie (Reserve) Critique

It has been five years since I reviewed the American Prairie. At that time, they were known as American Prairie Reserve. The name may have changed, but the goal of creating a continuous, massive prairie ecosystem has stayed the same.

American Prairie Logo

In five years, the land protected by American Prairie has grown by almost 100,000 acres to 452,458 acres. It is still a long ways off from the ultimate goal of 3.2 million acres (about 14%). But every single acre added means more habitat protected for birds, bison and many other important animals as well as plants that call the prairie home.

What I’d like to address in this post is some ways to improve on the marketing of American Prairie.

Website

The website is modern and eye-catching. But the homepage is a bit overwhelming. I understand that they are trying to capture emails, but the large background movie takes up a lot of real estate. This page could be better served by giving more attention to some of the info that you need to scroll down to find. Their introduction video is great and should be more featured.

Site navigation is pretty good, especially since there is so much information to present. I’d like to see a photo gallery to showcase the growing collection of wonderful photos featured in the magazine and social media.

How about an online shop? In the past, American Prairie was partnered with The Parks Project, but when I looked I could not find anything. UPDATE: I found out from Lee at American Prairie that they are still partnered but their shirts are sold out and they are having some inventory issues. The organization would greatly benefit from an online store with apparel, stickers, etc. I own a sweatshirt and T-shirt with the old logo and would love to get a hat.

Magazine

I love getting the “Sentinel”, the American Prairie magazine (journal). The quality is great and the photos are spectacular. My critique on this is that the articles are really short. I’d love to read more in-depth stories about the people, wildlife, and places American Prairie is protecting. I’d be fine with a few well-placed ads if it helped offset publishing costs for more pages.

Also, most of the photos are really dark. I understand a lot were taken early or late in the day but it makes for harder reading, especially with a lot of white text (about half the articles).

Social Media

American Prairie has a pretty good presence on social media. They have almost 19k followers on Instagram, 15k followers on Facebook, and a pretty low following on YouTube. Each of these could be improved by producing more content and with relatively inexpensive advertising. The best part is you can cross post content, especially videos.

I am guessing there are vast amounts of photos and videos that American Prairie has that have not been posted. Each and every employee can be a contributor as well!

I want the American Prairie to thrive and I feel the more people know about their ambitious project, the quicker it will be accomplished. They have already done a great job partnering with other like-minded organizations. So lets continue and maybe in another 5 years they will hit the 1 million acre mark.

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