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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
Becoming a leader in your community takes time—figuring out what issues resonate with your community, how best to inspire people, and how to turn that inspiration into action. No one expects a new Panda Ambassador to become a superhero community activist overnight. For those just starting out or anyone looking to up their activism game, a good course of action is to follow WWF’s lead: Base your own engagement strategy on current major WWF initiatives, amplifying the message in a way that's tailored to your community.
Throughout the year, WWF has a rolling series of appeals, engagement opportunities, and calls-to-action that address multiple conservation priorities. Some repeat every year—Earth Hour, Earth Overshoot Day, Lobby Day—and some are one-time or ongoing campaigns that focus on specific projects or respond to current events. Taking cues from WWF's engagement calendar not only capitalizes on existing buzz; it also involves Panda Ambassadors in a variety of projects. You can learn about several issues, see what resonates with your own community, and still exercise some creative freedom.
"I love that even though they presented me with all these opportunities, I still have my voice and I still have my ideas that they're pretty open to," says Panda Ambassador Tiffany Jones. "And I can always reach out to them as well about different opportunities."
For example, one of the most important ways Panda Ambassadors can make a difference is to respond to and amplify WWF calls to action that we send out over email or post to the Action Center. There will be multiple ways to take action throughout the year, and these opportunities will cover a range of topics. Calls-to-action usually boil down to numbers—the more people who take action, the more impact it will have.
As a Panda Ambassador, responding to these calls-to-action is important, but there's more work to be done. Finding a way to amplify the call-to-action within your community, in a way that inspires people to take action, is where your creativity can really shine. You can run your own hustle campaigns to collect local signatures, host an educational event to explore the issue in depth, or make a video explaining why your peers should care.
Panda Ambassadors can also plan on yearly WWF-led activities like Earth Hour. Earth Hour takes place every year on a Saturday in March, and participants turn off their lights for an hour as a symbolic action to show they care about the environment. Earth Hour presents a great opportunity for you to capitalize on a widely known event by hosting an Earth Hour party or fundraiser and working with local businesses, universities, governments, and landmarks to go dark for the planet.
If you are willing to step a little outside of your comfort zone, Lobby Day is one of the most important WWF-led events. Every year WWF hosts activists from around the country for a two-day event. Participants train with WWF experts to prepare for a day of meetings with legislators on Capitol Hill. Multiple Panda Ambassadors report that out of everything they've accomplished with the program, participating in Lobby Day is where they felt they made the most impact.
"Lobby Day in March was a terrific experience," says Steven Zampieri. "I felt energized by hearing from other Panda Ambassadors, getting a deeper understanding of important legislation, and connecting directly with our elected officials to let them know that voters care about environmental issues and expect Congress to act accordingly."
"The best thing I've been able to do while a Panda Ambassador is attend WWF's annual Lobby Day in Washington, DC," agrees Christopher Pham. "It really put into perspective how important just standing up and voicing your opinion is. It may seem like no one is listening, but this experience really taught me that as long as the message is getting out, eventually you'll be heard."
Panda Ambassadors on the lookout for other projects in the same vein should make sure to call into monthly meetings and the Mobilize online community. WWF has a continual need for Panda Ambassadors willing to take a leadership role in citizen science projects, marches, events, and new programs. If you’re willing to help, there's a way for you to put your talents, skills, and experiences to work for wildlife and nature.