Best Outreach Campaign in the Bay

This category recognizes effective stormwater education and outreach campaigns that seek to change behaviors that tangibly reduce stormwater pollution in a community.


Strong contenders in the category:

  1. Focus on specific behaviors or actions by residents or businesses that generate pollutants of concern in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (e.g., nutrients, bacteria, plastics or toxics)
  2. Transmit a clear, simple and possibly humorous message that helps the public understand how the behavior change can improve water quality
  3. Use a mix of social marketing, new media and traditional outreach methods to capture the eyeballs of the desired audience
  4. Target specific demographic populations or under-served audiences
  5. Measure or estimate how the campaign actually changes behaviors that influence water quality

First Place

HRPDC “Write as Rain” Campaign

Write as Rain sidewalk stencil that appears when wet.

Project Team: Regional Environmental Education Committee

Write as Rain is an innovative sidewalk messaging campaign that used an eco-friendly hydrophobic spray to place hidden messages on sidewalks and streetscapes that became visible only when wet. The first stage covered 57 locations with 12 distinct messages such as: “Your River Starts Here, Keep It Clean,” and “No Such Thing as a Little Litter.”  and carried the hashtag #askHRgreen. The second stage targeted younger audiences and hit 79 new locations around schools and rec centers with messages like “I Pledge Only Rain Down the Drain” and “I Won’t Add Wipes to Our Pipes”. The program stood out for its great social marketing model that engaged multiple audiences in unique and unexpected ways. The program also did a good job of tracking engagement and reach.

To read the full project narrative and view more photos, visit the project folder in our Google Drive!

Second Place

Ellicott City Soak it Up Campaign

EcoWorks crew members install berm with biochar amendment.

Project Team:

Howard EcoWorks

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Howard County Government

Ellicott City Partnership

Chesapeake Bay Trust

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

The Soak it Up campaign engages residents and businesses in Ellicott City’s Tiber Hudson Watershed to reduce stormwater runoff from their properties through on-site solutions such as the installation of small best management practices (BMPs) such as conservation landscapes, rain gardens, tree planting, berm/swale systems and stream buffers.  The program uses a wide range of outreach approaches, from social media to community events to watershed tours. The effort invested to engage community members where they are, provide education and technical assistance and track direct measures of observable impacts on water quality all helped this campaign stand out.

To read the full project narrative and view more photos, visit the project folder on our Google Drive!

Third Place

Restore, Revitalize, Replant!

Bioretention planting at Braddock Elementary.

Project Team:

Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division

In this free-of-charge program, stream ecologists from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) in Fairfax County, Virginia, introduce students to stormwater and watershed ecosystems management through hands-on native plant installations in existing bioretention or dry pond facilities. The students are taught about native plants, stormwater and water quality and in 2018, ten schools with over 1,000 students total planted over 4,300 natives.

To read the full project narrative and view more photos, visit the project folder in our Google Drive!

Honorable Mention

District-Wide 2019 Single-Use Plastic Straw and Stirrer Requirements Education and Outreach Campaign

Outreach in Mount Pleasant with Office of Clean City and Latino Affairs.

Project Team:

District Department of Energy and Environment

A new District-wide single-use plastic straw and stirrer ban were approved on October 29, 2018, with an effective date of January 1, 2019. This campaign sought to educate and inform sister agencies, residents and businesses of the new ban through multi-lingual flyers, social media outreach, and partnerships with community business leaders, waste and litter-focused agencies, and disability rights advocates.

To read the full project narrative and view more photos, visit the project folder on our Google Drive!