With this campaign, ENEL and SOR have managed a premiere at European level: the first mobile application dedicated to a citizen science project aiming at implementing a stork census. Enel showed deep involvement in the welfare of the community and environment protection as it contributed both to securing the stork nests placed on electric poles thus protecting the storks from the danger of electrocution and to insuring proper function of the electric grid. The initiative has rapidly found its enthusiasts, and in the month while the pilot project was implemented, more than 8.000 storks have been identified.
TASK, OPPORTUNITY & PLANNING
Being the largest private electricity provider in Romania and much alike all utilities providers, ENEL is often exposed to critics and complaints from the users every time there is a power cut. As they say, people do not judge you for all the good you have done in a life time, but for the bad things you have done last week. We tried to prove this saying wrong and improve the company’s reputation by showing a face that will create a long-lasting perception of a company who cares about communities and is responsible towards the environment. The company is focusing on initiatives aimed to develop the communities in which it operates, no matter if we are talking about environment protection or social development.
Enel has conducted numerous actions to protect the birds in different areas, especially in Dobrogea by mounting metal supports for stork nests, at the request of the local communities. The field data gathered by E-Distributie intervention teams indicated that was a necessity to interfere in order to secure the nests and prevent the electrocution of storks and to insure proper function of the electric grid. Apart from these empiric data, ENEL appealed to the official data provided by the scientific community which later led to identifying the need of a partnership with Romanian Ornithologic Society aimed at making possible the evaluation of the population of storks (Census) to help discover the active population of storks.
Creative Approach. In Romania, storks are quite a popular presence on the side of the roads. They often build nests on the electricity poles which is why they are in danger of electrocution and can cause damages to the electric grids. Thus, the idea emerged to partner up with Romanian Ornithologic Society (SOR) to start a stork census which puts together consumers’ contribution to creating a data base with Enel’s efforts to take measures to protect birds and electric grids by installing nest supports or electrical line isolation. This way, two apparently opposing sides joined in a unique and cool citizen science project.
The Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR), with the support of Enel, has found a simple and effective solution to gather this data: to develop the first smartphone application in Europe which allows those who pass by a stork nest to take part in the pilot project of counting storks. All users had to do is take a picture and save the coordinates of the nest. The pilot project, which took place between July – August 2017, is meant to carry out a regular census, in order to correctly asses the population of white storks in Romania.
The launch The application was officially launched on July 6th, in the National Park of Comana, where the first storks nest registered in the application received a symbolic address mounted on an electricity pole. Now, the storks have an official address!
Journalists were invited to a field trip to assist to this ceremony. The event host was Doru Panaitescu a blogger and photographer passionate with birds who offered the audience lots of captivating facts about this species and its habits. We prepared a video tutorial showing how easy and useful the mobile app is.
- Over 250 press materials have were dedicated to this campaign (TV, radio, written press) – exceeded the objective with 75%
- More than 10.000.000 non-unique reach – exceeded the objective with 50%
- Users responded much better than expected to the invitation to help protect storks and the app registered a great number of contributions and a very positive feedback. The number of downloads and the data gathered exceeded our initial expectations since the app requires specific and accurate data registration: such as GPS coordinates and a detailed description including the location and number of storks in a nest. Moreover, the users’ involvement was voluntary, no incentives have been used.
- The application registered 2,609 downloads – exceeded the objective with more than 25%
- 2,581 stork nests have been registered with a total of 8,241 storks
- 1,567 nests are placed on electric poles out of which 1,208 already have a support protecting the birds and the electric grid.