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.

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IUFRO small-scale forestry conference call for papers

The first call for papers has recently been announced for Morgantown, WV, USA in June 2009.  The conference, organized by the the IUFRO Small Scale Forestry unit, looks like an excellent opportunity to discuss woodland owner networks and related issues.  The call is below.  I hope to see you there!

Dear Colleague,

The 2009 IUFRO 3.08 Small-Scale Forestry group is seeking abstracts for Seeing the Forest Beyond the Trees: New possibilities and expectations for products and services from small-scale forestry to be held in Morgantown, West Virginia from June 7-11, 2009.

This conference will bring together scientists and practitioners to share their experiences in management, policy development and economics of contemporary small-scale forest products and services.  Papers are sought in the areas of New and emerging opportunities for small-scale forests, Sustainable agroforestry, Policy formulation, Amenity values of small scale forestry, Economic valuation.  Further details on the topics of interest can be found on the conference website

Authors can view the call for abstracts and the list of topics of interest on the symposium website (http://ssf09.com/).  Submitting your abstract by December 8 will allow the scientific panel to review and respond to you by early January.  Abstracts should be sent to Dr Kate Piatek (Kathryn.Piatek@mail.wvu.edu).  A second call for papers will be made in mid January 09.

For more information about the conference please contact Dave McGill (dmcgill@wvu.edu) who is the chair of the conference organizing committee.

Kind regards
John Herbohn, IUFRO 3.08 Coordinator

ISSRM roundtable debrief

Shorna Broussard, Maureen McDonough, and I hosted a roundtable discussion at the 2008 International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM). We had a diverse group, and it was an enlightening discussion.

Shorna began with a review of peer learning. A few notes from her discussion are as follows. She described peer learning as:

  • Interactive, mediated by non-professional teachers.
  • Supplementing, not supplanting, the important role of natural resources (and teaching) professionals.
  • Open to all, non-hierarchical, and everybody’s both a teacher and a learner: Everyone gains from participating.
  • Purposive, deliberative process with clear outcomes: Not just talking.
  • Includes an emotional connection, beyond just information gathering.

Shorna then discussed some social network theories. At this point, we opened the floor up for a discussion of the group’s experiences, questions, and learnings about peer learning and social networks in the private woodlands arena.

A few high points:

  • The Army Corps of Engineers’ GETS (Good Enough to Share) site is a space where good ideas can be shared, and drawn upon, to solve problems that might have arisen elsewhere. Forums like this allow users / learners to both share their knowledge and learn from others using targeted searches and a simple interface.
  • One common challenge is to get natural resource professionals to share what they know. In some cases, professionals can feel less important than other participants (because the learners are supposed to drive the process), and fail to share their technical knowledge. This is quite a reversal from the traditional setting in which the professional is, in effect, the only source of information.
  • We heard about several Extension programs in which the participants literally build the agenda onsite, then work through it. One example of a program like this are the Massachusetts Woods Forums.

Much of the discussion was about exciting ideas that will take some time to flesh out and act on. Check back for more posts following up on this discussion

Roundtable June 14 at ISSRM 2008

ISSRM logo

Shorna Broussard, Maureen McDonough, and I (Eli) will be leading a roundtable discussion of peer-to-peer learning and woodland owner social networks at ISSRM 2008.

ISSRM is a major conference, and we’re looking forward to the discussion. As a roundtable, this will be an exchange of ideas and experiences from people involved different peer-to-peer and social network models.

You can read an abstract describing our session here. If you’re attending the conference, we hope you’ll consider joining us. If not, feel free to add your thoughts below and we’ll bring them to the roundtable.

Discussion at ANREP 2008: Programs and needs

This morning Jim Johnson and I led an informal discussion about peer-to-peer learning and social networks at the 6th Natural Resources Extension conference in Madison, WI. This is the every-two-years meeting of the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals.

We had a great conversation. About 20 people showed up from Extension systems around the country. We talked about programs, needs, and ideas. A few highlights:

Pennsylvania Forest Stewards: A 16 year old program with about 350 active woodland owner volunteers. This group has started I think 22 county-level woodland owner associations. According to the most recent evaluation, in 2007 the volunteers contributed the equivalent of 21 full time equivalents in volunteer effort.

Women Owning Woodlands Network: An Oregon program targeting women woodland owners. Nicole Strong told us about this group, which is largely self-organizing and self-sustaining. Members organize their own events, with some coordination and support from OSU Extension Forestry. (No website but read a press release about the program.)

National Network of Forest Practioners: NNFP is organizing a network to connect small businesses around the country. They’re just getting this rolling, but have a lot of great ideas up their sleeves.

The “Howdy Neighbor” program and its champion, Forest Dan. This program is associated with the Oregon Small Woodlands Association. They gather without a set agenda and attendees choose topics and lead discussions.

We also discussed needs and ideas that could help ramp up peer-to-peer learning and social network development. Some common themes:

  1. Need for tools and techniques to foster social network development between events. One person commented that a lot of programs and events do a great job fostering peer to peer learning, but not social networks. That leaves people without contacts between events.
  2. Need links to existing programs. We’re working on this… See our programs page.
  3. Offer sessions on these topics at future ANREP and similar conferences. Many participants saw conferences as opportunities to share experiences and learn techniques to improve their skills at organizing and supporting learning networks.
  4. Share info about helping volunteers improve leadership, communication, and organizing skills.

I’ll follow up with all of the participants. What have I missed?  Add a comment below.

Preparing for ANREP 2008

ANREP 2008 logoTomorrow I’m headed to Madison, WI for the 6th Extension Natural Resources (ANREP) conference. I’ve been to every ANREP conference, and they’re consistently excellent. It’s the best opportunity to connect with Extension natural resources folks, bar none.

Jim Johnson and I will be hosting an informal conversation over breakfast on Thursday to discuss peer to peer learning, social networks, and the Woodland Owner Networks project. This will be the first of many opportunities for our group to reach out beyond our leadership “think tank.”

More on the project, the think tank, and ANREP soon.