Acronyms: The Ineffective Language of Conservation

By Bob St.Pierre

A decade ago when I left my front office baseball career, I thought I was also going to be free from the world of acronyms.  RBIs and ERAs had dominated my everyday conversations and I was ready to use real words again.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. 41513 - wia

On my third day with Pheasants Forever in 2003, I was pulled aside and asked to write a press release about “PF signing an MOU with NRCS to deliver CRP.”  Not knowing my new colleague very well at that point, I thought he had a speech impediment.  I smiled, nodded, and said “no problem” as I set off to decipher the acronym code.  As it turns out, a communications position in the conservation world has just as many acronyms as a career in Sabermetrics.

Hopefully you’re already a member of Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever or one of our conservation partner organizations.  If you are, then you’re probably all too familiar with the world of conservation acronyms from websites and publications.  Consider this stream of conscious list as an example of the acronym clutter in conservation communication: EQIP, FSA, SAFE, EBI, CRP, CREP, PLOTS, PF, QF, CRP-MAP, DU, RGS, RMEF, TNC, QDMA, NRCS, MOU, CSP, LCCMR, REAP, RIM, LSOHC, WIHA, WIA, NRCS, SWCD, BWSR, EPA, DNR, KDWP, NBCI, SEQSG, FWP, GRP, TSP, TA, EFRP  . . . get my point?

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In my opinion, all the acronyms involved with creating wildlife habitat and improving water quality cloud the public’s comprehension of what’s happening on the landscape for habitat, wildlife and hunters.  For this reason, I detest acronyms and try to use the words spelled out as often as appropriately possible.

Acronym Trivia: The acronym WHIP has a conservation and baseball meaning.  Do you know both meanings?

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The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

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