Behind the scenes: Think Salmon

This month’s “Behind the scenes” takes us to Think Salmon – a joint initiative of Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) and Fraser Basin Council (FBC), two non-profit, independent organizations dedicated to ensuring sustainable Pacific salmon stocks.

Think Salmon’s goal is to inspire positive action and behaviours among individuals and communities toward Pacific salmon in British Columbia, Canada. I dropped Travis Smith of Hop Studios an email to talk about the site and how it was developed….

1/ What were the main goals and objectives for the web site in terms of functionality and how it would help the organization?

Think Salmon is a way of life. It’s how we think, learn and act. It’s
how we protect and conserve the rivers and places where salmon and
humans live. By supporting the Think Salmon mission, you’re not just
helping salmon, you’re helping BC’s ecoystem and all the species living
in it. Salmon watersheds aren’t just home to salmon; they’re also home
to our cities and farms, our parks and forests, our industries and our
backyards. Thinking salmon means thinking about BC’s communities,
wilderness, children, and future.

This project to educate and inform BC about one its greatest
natural resource was the result of collaboration between several BC
organizations and companies:

2/ What tool(s) did you use (CMS system, etc.?) and what approaches were you considering before you made your final decision.

The site was constructed over the course of several months and at
launch included an amazing Google Maps integration, a mailing list,
customized site registration, clean URLs, a savvy RSS feed, and comment
flagging, where users participate in removing comments that are
inappropriate. This was custom-built for the site’s Expression Engine
content management system.

Of course, the design itself is also something we’re proud of;
there’s an awful lot of work that went into making it so clean-looking.
The site uses non-standard fonts and fairly complex layouts, but
everything can be managed by someone knowing just a little HTML, and
the home page can be edited and scheduled in advance, which is really
nice when you want to keep the site fresh but don’t want to have to
edit it every day.

Users can come to the site, sign up and be sharing photos,
stories, events and more within minutes, and it took a heck of a lot of
work to make the site registration system work so well.

Lastly, of course, there’s the data on the site. For one
thing, there’s a searchable index of all the projects funded by the
Pacific Salmon Foundation in the past 15 or so years. There are dozens
of stories, a whole section devoted to Salmon facts, and a section that
highlights the latest salmon-related news.

Since the launch the site has seen some innovative
storytelling using video podcasts gathered on location at community
events and other exciting outreach activities!

This site is homegrown and benefits BC’s people and environment. Go BC!

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