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This site has moved

This site will remain live as a content archive, but there’s much more going on at the Woodland Owner Networks Ning site.

Check out that site.  If you’re interested, join the network and one ore more subgroups.  You can also sign up for new content feeds, join discussions, etc.

Thanks for your interest!


STEW-MAP: Mapping the New York City land stewardship network

This morning I had the chance to talk with Erika Svendsen and Lindsay Campbell, both with the US Forest Service New York City Urban Field Station. They were kind enough to allow me to record about a 12-minute overview of their project. The narrated slideshow is below.

The project is fascinating. As they explain, the Stew-MAP process allows them to begin to map not only the geographic / physical stewardship landscape, but also the social landscape. Check it out.

ANROSP conference call for presentations

I just received this announcement by email:

Call for Presentations:

5th Annual National Conference of the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach & Service Programs: Master Naturalist Programs and More

September 28th-October 2nd, 2009
US Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center
Shepherdstown, WV

Conference Overview

This dynamic conference is for professionals and partner organizations
who coordinate, administer, or host training and volunteer programs in
natural resource conservation, education, and outreach and for those
interested in developing such a program. Enjoy a beautiful Appalachian
setting as you learn from a diverse range of programs, network with
colleagues, and obtain valuable tools to enhance your existing program
or develop a new one.

ANROSP is a national alliance of adult natural resource education and
stewardship programs, including Master Naturalists, Master Watershed
Stewards, Coverts, Wildlife Stewards, Master Woodland Managers, and
more. ANROSP facilitates networking and exchange of resources and
information among coordinators of citizen-based environmental programs
across the United States, helping create healthy ecosystems and
communities through citizens who learn, teach, and practice natural
resource stewardship.

You can download the full call, with much more detail, here.

WON at the IUFRO Small-Scale Forestry conference

Good news!  I learned yesterday that the abstract submitted on behalf of our project has been accepted as an oral presentation at the 2009 IUFRO 3.08 Small-Scale Forestry conference in Morgantown, WV.  The full conference title is Forest Beyond the Trees: New possibilities and expectations for products and services from small-scale forestry.  Our abstract is below.

Woodland owner networks and peer-to-peer learning

Authors: Eli S. Sagor, Maureen H. McDonough, and Shorna B. Allred

Abstract: Small private forest owners consistently list peers as preferred sources of forest management advice. Since January 2008, the Woodland Owner Networks project has been investigating program models designed to foster peer-to-peer interaction and learning to support private forest management decisions.  In April 2009, the project will bring together 45 researchers, agency administrators, funders, and leaders and members of woodland owner organizations large and small, representing a wide diversity of program objectives and models.  The symposium is designed to bring together formal academic research with other perspectives and ways of knowing about peer-to-peer learning about natural resources.  The symposium will have three primary outputs:

  1. a list of practical tools and best practices based on both research and informal first hand learning by program organizers;
  2. a statement of the current state of knowledge, knowledge gaps, and skill development needs; and
  3. a statement of emerging opportunities and barriers to peer-to-peer learning in the future.

This presentation will review the rationale (and risks) behind peer-to-peer learning to support sound small-scale forest management and report on the outcomes of the April 2009 symposium.  It will also include a review of recent research results from ongoing qualitative and quantitative analyses of the outcomes and impacts of peer-to-peer learning in a small-scale private forestry context.

Gerry Mich and the Wisconsin Woodland Advocate program

Yesterday I listened in on Gerry Mich’s webinar about the Wisconsin Woodland Advocate program.  The program is built around a simple but compelling idea:  organizing active, well informed woodland to help their neighbors connect with trusted local natural resources professionals.

Woodland Advocates’ job is not to deliver forestry advice–that’s the work of professionals–but rather to deliver basic information and recommend trusted professionals.  This approach builds on a foundation of trust among peers. Some landowners are more comfortable talking to peers than professionals, at least early on.  The model seems to be working:  100% of landowners contacted by an advocate were either happy or very happy with their experience.

The program is also attractive to foresters.  By making the initial contact and collecting basic information about the land and landowner’s objectives, the volunteers allow the forester to focus on their strengths and hit the ground running when they start working with the new landowner with whom the volunteer has put them in contact.

Gerry’s done a nice job of streamlining the program and avoiding duplication of effort.  Woodland Advocates are recruited from one of Wisconsin’s two excellent woodland owner and leader training programs, Master Woodland Steward and the Woodland Leadership Institute.  That leaves the work of volunteer training and confidence-building to Extension, allowing Gerry to focus on community connections.

The downside of a model like this is finding a way to fund it.  Gerry’s been quite successful securing grant funding for program development and operations over the past few  years, and they’re funded, although only at half of previous levels, through this year.  As Gerry noted in his talk yesterday, this is a tough time to find funding, and it can be hard to fund ongoing, as opposed to new, projects.

Gerry’s been resourceful in the past, and I look forward to watching this program evolve.  To learn more about Woodland Advocate, drop Gerry a line.  His contact info is here.

Gerry’s webinar was organized by the National Network of Forest Practitioners.

NNFP webinar: The Woodland Advocate Program of Wisconsin Family Forests

The Woodland Advocate Program of Wisconsin Family Forests

February 18 @ Noon Eastern
Presented by Gerry Mich

A “member sampler” session presented as part of NNFP’s “Innovations in Landowner Outreach” Series

This example of a peer-to-peer outreach effort builds on Eli Sagor’s earlier  presentation, “Woodland owner networks and peer-to-peer learning.” You can view a recording of Eli’s session by visiting NNFP’s member networking site.

To register: Send an email to Leslie Horner (leslie at nnfp dot us) by 10 am eastern time on February 18.

Free for NNFP members and guests of the presenter.

Webinar recording now online

A recorded version of my January 8 webinar called “Woodland Owner Networks and Peer-to-Peer Learning: A research review” is now available online, courtesy of the National Network of Forest Practitioners. 

Watch a complete recording at http://nnfp.acrobat.com/p73834210/. It’s long but you can skip ahead.  Presentation begins at the 5-minute mark, and discussion at around 55:00.