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Would You Sign a Post Card for this Man?

   Headwaters Montana Meets Summer Goal at Logan Pass Over 3000 New Supporters of Completing Waterton-Glacier Peace Park 

 
September 24, 2012
 
What's it like to stick your neck out and ask total strangers for their support of your conservation goals, in this case, protecting, connecting and completing Waterton-Glacier Peace Park?
 
Headwaters Montana has plenty of experience doing this work.  We've tabled at Logan Pass for the past three summers.  Over those summer days fending off the sun, wind, and sometimes snow, we've signed up about 8,000 new supporter expanding Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada into the B.C. Flathead River Valley.
 
We thought you might like get a first-hand account of the day-in-the-life-of a Headwaters "Tablehead". 
 
Here's Neal Brown's brief account of his summer sojourn at Logan Pass asking for the support of strangers.
 
Neal's Diary
It's a long way to Logan Pass from my home in Bigfork.  So in order to save time, gas, and money, I staged my tabling effort from Johnson's Campground in St. Mary's.  I highly recommend this friendly resort!
  
I'd get up at dawn, shower and drive straight to Sun Point Picnic Area.  There, I'd make breakfast under Going-to-the-Sun Mountain while the first light touched the Crown of the Continent.
I'd arrive at Logan Pass by 7:30, walk to the waterfall under Clements Mt., and sit in meditation and prepare for the day.
At 8:30, I'd walk slowly back to the Visitor Center and set up the outreach table. 
 
By 9 a.m. I was making first contact with visitors.  It's important to find concise words to say to people who are on vacation and on the move to explore Logan Pass after their hour-plus car ride.
 
My primary opening line was, "Good morning would you like to know what I am doing here?"
 
Appealing to people's curiosity was the best approach for me.  "Would you like to sign a post card in support of the expansion of Water-Glacier International Peace Park?"

I set up a water bowl for thirsty dogs.  I found it big draw for people to show their dogs but almost all dogs turned their noses up at a strange water bowl! 

 
I approached people using two 'rules':
  • Rule # 1: Never pre-judge who may give you support.
  • Rule #2:  Tell people what you want from them.  "I am asking that you fill out a post card in support."
Tabling involves bridging people's comfort gap. People at more than ten feet easily dismiss you.  Less than ten feet and you don't have to raise your voice and people's curiosity is easily engaged. 

Families are great. Many parents used the table as a learning experience for their children. They help them fill out their own card, check their spelling, and make sure their child knows their address. Families are great.

Many people visiting Glacier come from distant countries where tabling is unfamiliar.  Many people think you are trying to sell something!  People from non-English speaking counties break up the routine and make you think!

Here's a list of the 24 countries that some of our new supporters hail from:

Netherlands, Slovenia, U.K., Czech Republic, Brazil , Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy , Taiwan, Germany, China, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, Chile, France, Turkey, Swiss, Greece, Belarus, India, and of course Canada! Oh Canada!
 
Let me add that I benefited a great deal from this experience.  I had to learn a new language, a language that people could hear without judgment or fear or distrust. It is a language of words and behavior that says "I  respect you." A language that says "We are all in this together and here is a small thing we can achieve as people of this Earth."

Peace and Kindness,

 
Neal Brown, Bigfork