The CCC has been working with and through practitioners since its inception in 2008. Starting in July 2016, the CCC started to expand and formalize work with practitioners through the development of a new conservation practitioner program. The purpose of this program is to work together with conservation practitioners to develop, share, and test collaborative tools and skills that will enable current and future conservation practitioners to achieve conservation outcomes.
Collaborative skills are abilities and expertise one can learn through observation, demonstration and practice, such as leadership, mediation, listening, and facilitation. Collaborative tools are tangible (like a participatory mapping tool or virtual meeting software to broaden participation) or intangible (like the communication techniques) mechanisms that extend a practitioner’s skill set to solve particular problems.
We believe that practitioners are the best people to help the CCC develop a practitioner program. We started by forming an advisory team of practitioners representing the diversity of conservation issues, organizations and places. Next, we decided to conduct a needs assessment to determine what role the CCC might play to strengthen and build support for the use of collaboration in the conservation practitioner community.
We designed the needs assessment to ask conservation practitioners three main questions:
- What existing collaborative skills and tools are already available for current and future conservation practitioners and who delivers them?
- What gaps in collaborative skills and tools do conservation practitioners feel are needed to further support their conservation efforts?
- What are the best methods to deliver these tools and skills?
Sixty-four practitioners from across the American West were interviewed between August 2016 and February 2017. Actions for the CCC Practitioner Program are now being developed based on the results of the needs assessment. The report wil be available at the end of May 2017.