Storytelling for conservation action


Commissioned by IUCN Commission on Education and Communication.


This course has been developed by Frits Hesselink and Peter Paul van Kempen.

A great number of CEC members shared their experience, expertise and stories for this course. Some as members of the CEC steering committee for this course. Others as respondents of the two surveys we did. Some as suppliers of information we specifically asked for. And last but not least some by sharing their stories of conservation campaigns that are based on appealing to positive emotions as propagated by CEC in its Love.Not Loss campaign.

We wish to thank

Rod Abson, CEC member, Switzerland; David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat, Canada; Rezvin Akter, WildTeam, Bangladesh; Cecilia Amaluisa, CEPP, Ecuador; Laurie Bennett, Futerra, UK; Justine Braby, IECN, Namibia; Florence Clap, French Committee for IUCN, France; Nancy Colleton, Institute for Global Environmental Srategies, USA; Arturo Curriel Ballesteros, University of Guadalajara, Mexico; Dr. Jini Dela, Consultant, Sri Lanka; Louisa Diggs, Nakanuku Media & Communications, USA; Nina Dobryinina, consultant, Russia; Marco Encalada, OIKOS, Ecuador; Tommy Garnett, Environment Foundation for Africa, Sierra Leone; Wendy Goldstein, Macquarie University, Australia; Iqbal  Hussain, WildTeam, Bangladesh; Ana Kalinowska, University of Warsaw, Poland; Erlinda Kartika, Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia; Rachel Lowry, Zoos Victoria, Australia; Grace Mwaura, CEC member, UK; Cecilia Nizzola-Tabja, IUCN, Switzerland; Ana Puyol, TRAFFIC, Ecuador; Brooke Sadowsky, RARE, Philippines; Izabella Skawinska-Luther, consultant, Germany; Sean Southy, PCI Media-Impact, USA; Tina Trampus, Institute for Nature Conservation, Slovenia; Pauline Verheij, Eco-Just, Netherlands; Juliane Zeidler, CEC Chair, Namibia.

Special thanks

To WildTeam, Bangladesh for sharing their information, photos and stories and being willing to go through the  discipline of improving them for the purposes of this course.

To Rezvin Akter who has been in touch with us during the last two years on various aspects of conservation, strategic communication and storytelling and who – for didactic reasons – has been willing to feature as the hero of the central case in this course.

To all colleagues of Rezvin, as of course the success of WildTeam is in reality due to a joint team effort; crucial work for the success of the village tiger response teams has been done by Md Ashraful Haque, Md Alam Howlader, Mizanur Rahman, Osman Goni from WildTeam. From the Forest Department of Bangladesh the names of Md Modinul Ahsan (Assistant Conservator of Forests) and  A N M Yasin Newaz (Divisional Forest Officer) have to be mentioned.

To Chris Greenwood-Barlow, Adam Barlow and Iqbal Hussain of WildTeam to be willing to feature as real characters in the reality based conservation stories of this course.

Photo credits

Adnan Wahid, Ananya Rubayat, Samiul-Mohsanin, Khairul Islam, Christina Greenwood Barlow, Adam Barlow.


Annette Simons, The Story Factor, Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling, 2006.

Dan Ariely, On Empathy and Emotion: Why We Respond to One Person who Needs Help but Not to Many, The Upside of Irrationality, 2010: 239-257

Deborah Small, George Loewenstein and Paul Slovic, Sympathy and Callousness: The Impact of Deliberative Thought on Donations to Identifiable and Statistical Victims, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 102, no. 2 (2007): 143-153

Hesselink, F.J. e.a., Communication, Education and Public Awareness, a Toolkit for the Biological Convention, Section 4: How to Plan Communication Strategically (Peter Paul van Kempen), 2007

Martin Sykes. A. Nicklas Malik and Mark D. West, Stories that Move Mountains, Storytelling and Visual Design for Persuasive Presentations, 2013

Nike, Workshop The Art of Storytelling, Participant’s Guide and Exercises, 2008

Scottish Biodiversity Forum, Biodiversity Communications Toolkit

Klaus Fog, Christian Budtz, Philip Munch, Stephen Blanchette, Storytelling, Branding in Practice, 2010

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