Keeping brush harvesters safe and on the right track

Brush harvester selects and harvests highest quality salal from state trust lands.
Brush harvester selects and harvests highest quality salal from state trust lands.

The floral greens market has an army of unseen workers. They work hard. It’s often dark, cold and wet in the forest as they harvest a bounty of salal, ferns and other greens for bouquets and other arrangements around the world. They harvest from state trust land forests managed by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR)… and other forest ownerships as well.  

Harvesters buy a permit from DNR, the Forest Service or other landowner, take their maps, and must follow the rules about who can harvest and where, and how to stay safe.

Many of these hardworking harvesters have few English language skills. This has led to misunderstandings about the permits and safety issues. And floral greens harvesters had experienced a couple of incidents that showed the need for better safety measures across the broad multi-owner landscapes of Western Washington in which they work.

The right people make it happen
A community meeting took place in 2012 to air the issues, and a partnership was formed to find a solution —DNR, a local group that supports the immigrant workers ‘Inmigrantes Unidos de Shelton,’ along with the US Forest Service, and other private forest landowners.

Images take center stage… with words in a supporting role

Mockup of both sides of the 9-panel brochure.
Mockup of both sides of the 9-panel brochure.

For DNR’s Law Enforcement and the Communications team, the challenge was how do we keep non-English speaking forest workers safe… and following the rules? The answer: by communicating with graphics… with words in a supporting role.

Here’s the mockup of the accordion-fold brochure (that fits in your pocket), posters and signs that currently are being given out to help make a difference in the floral greens community. Although probably not necessary, some English, Spanish and Cambodian Khmer translations were added to the graphics to help explain and reinforce the concepts.

Detail of 3 of the 9 panels of the brochure, showing graphics, Spanish and Cambodian Khmer instructions.
Detail of 3 of the 9 panels of the brochure, showing graphics, with some English, Spanish and Cambodian Khmer instructions.
Sign for forest road entry where workers may be expected.
Sign for forest road entry near where workers may be harvesting.