Adam Sugalski designs for PURPOSE and PROTEST
Jacksonville graphic designer Adam Sugalski received a BFA in Art and Photography from UNF in 1996 and has since not only made a career in design, but committed himself to protesting for animal rights and using art as his tool in the fight. His current fight is being waged via the animal advocacy organization he founded and for which he now acts as executive director, OneProtest Inc. OneProtest has launched what may be the largest protest ever to occur in the state Florida — Stop the Bear Hunt, which aims to halt trophy hunts of Florida’s black bears.
Sugalski believes in the power of marketing and design as an essential component in effecting change. He states on OneProtest’s website, “In today’s world, like it or not, people associate a refined, polished image with professionalism and most importantly, credibility.” He points out that in the case of community-driven protesting, “There is a strong probability that the industry or group you are in opposition with uses professional PR to sell their message.” Therefore, developing a specifically targeted design and marketing package to capture attention and convey a message effectively are a must in order to compete with large entities.
In the case of Stop the Bear Hunt, the large entity being peaceably and passionately fought is the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). While the Florida black bear, which Sugalski is quick to point out is not just one bear population but four fractured populations, was on the state’s threatened species list as recently as 2012; as soon as their numbers increased, the FWC called for their “harvesting.”
This action is contrary to a comprehensive Bear Management Plan, adopted by the FWC in 2012 once the bear was removed from the threatened list, and the result of five years of work by the FWC’s biologists. The plan focuses on population management measures other than hunting, such as creating wildlife corridors to connect bear sub-populations together; working with private landowners to make more habitat available; purchasing land for conservation; and managing trash and educating the public about how to live in bear country.
OneProtest says the FWC’s October 2015 bear hunt was unwarranted, and hopes to stop the next one. They use their graphic designs to call attention to the issue, and their website to present thorough findings that support their position, including 2015 court testimony from Dr. Thomas Eason, director of Habitat and Species Conservation for the FWC, stating that the black bear had not exceeded the biological carrying capacity of its habitat.
OneProtest officially launched their protest the day after the hunt was announced by the FWC— June 25, 2015. Sugalski first made a Facebook page, Stop the Bear Hunt (which has received over 13,000 likes in the past year), then called all of his contacts in the state of Florida, made during two decades of environmental and animal rights activism, and brought fourteen other cities into the protest to unify for the cause. All major cities in the state held concurrent protests last June, but the hunt still happened.
The FWC sold 3,778 hunting permits to kill 320 bears during the week of October 24–30, 2015, with the goal of decreasing the bear population and subsequent conflicts with humans in recently developed areas that lie in bear territory. The math above is one of Sugalski’s talking points and most direct graphic designs; he says the 10:1 hunter to bear ratio is extreme and unnecessary, and cites this figure as an example of the FWC’s flawed and misleading use of the term ‘science-based wildlife management.’
“I call that shotgun science,” Sugalski says, and he uses that response and many other quick-read phrases on protest materials such as t-shirts, posters, stickers and flyers.
Article written by Meredith T. Matthews
Editor’s note: On June 22, 2016, the FWC announced that they will not hold a hunt this year. The commissioner making the announcement cited “public pressure” and “incomplete science” as reasons. “Wildlife belongs to all of us, not just hunters,” says Sugalski, elated with the victory. Read more at visit www.oneprotest.org.