The Green Hand Book: a pocket guide connecting volunteers and the environment

We all know the environment needs our help. But who's helping the helpers? Thanks to the seed of an idea put forward by the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Natural Resource Management Board, this little green book is!

Ecocreative was engaged to recreate a longstanding document that needed a face- and function-lift. As usual, our task was greater than design alone. And we were ready to take it on, whatever happened!

We reckoned there needed to be a distinct identity for volunteering in the region that didn't look 'governmenty' and could have relevance to a really wide range of people, including those associated with other conservation 'brands'. It needed to be handy and look handy. So it seemed only natural that the hands-on aspect of environmental volunteering would translate to a green, hand-some identity and a pocket guide. The Green Hand Book, to be precise.

Because volunteer organisations range greatly in size from a handful of people in the Adelaide Hills to a statewide organisations of hundreds, we faced a challenge in showcasing a diversity of groups to their best advantage in a way that would appeal to anyone with a bent to lend a hand. And not overwhelm.

In order to access consistent levels and themes of information, we developed a survey with questions that all organisations could answer and in a format that everyone could use, building up a simple database as we went. This was followed up with telephone interviews (that's Jordan in the picture) for each and every group to query things people had written or missed out, get better versions of logos that didn't quite meet the specifications and generally to ensure everybody got equal treatment.

Our own hands-on approach to project management provided extra capacity for our very busy client and really helped us get to know one of the major user groups. This also enabled us to funnel and distill information in an efficient, coherent way. The end result was simple summaries of the information provided being included in the guide under headings such as 'what volunteers do' and 'what we're looking for'.

On the client side, we provided a lot of help to set out a logical introduction to volunteering, explain why it is important and then list what sort of training and support is on offer. This will help the manager of volunteer support (whose kind words appear below) to set out what organisations really need to keep being part of the solution to the environment's many problems. This extended to a photo shoot to profile the volunteer support team and a chance to ask them what they most often hear to fill a page with 'Frequently answered questions', giving permission for people to get in touch, knowing what sort of thing is okay to ask and, most importantly, who might be helping them out.

Because of the overwhelming number and diversity of different volunteering opportunities, we created a series of icons and set the book out in a logical, modular way which even included a perforated postcard that could be used to promote individual organisations.

Ecocreative’s creativity and patience has helped us produce an incredibly handy and unique guide to environmental volunteering in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region of SA. We look forward to using the Green Hand Book as a springboard for involving more and more people in the fun and satisfaction of keeping our natural places healthy.
Liz Millington, Manager of Volunteer Support

The project took more than a year and plenty of tenacity, though we are really proud to have been part of getting this initiative underway and Green Hand Books in the pockets of many an eco-minded volunteer! Get in touch if you'd like a copy and watch this space as we are currently exploring ways of making the information accessible online.


Natural Resources, Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges

Services delivered

• Brand strategy
• Strategic consulting
• Research
• Project management
• Creative direction
• Design
• Illustration
• Photography
• Writing
• Editing
• Proofreading
• Production management