By NACD Northeast Region Representative and Policy Specialist Eric Hansen
In April 2018, representatives from across the conservation partnership in the Northeast met in Tarrytown, N.Y., to examine their current activities and assets. Participants shared their best practices and discussed their visions for the future. By the end of this meeting, eight action plans had been developed to strengthen the conservation partnership and drive the region toward our vision of a thriving Northeast. The report from this meeting, the beginning of the Northeast Region Capacity Building Pilot Project, is now available on NACD’s website.
This effort started when leaders from the Northeast recognized the need to engage in planning for the future needs of the conservation partnership in our region. The last time the Northeast undertook a similar endeavor was in 1996, over 20 years ago. Our leaders believed that such an effort was long overdue.
With input from NACD and the generous support of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Northeast Region Capacity Building Pilot Project was born. After months of planning, we brought together representatives from each of the members of the conservation partnership (NACD, NRCS, the National Conservation District Employees Association (NCDEA), the National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) and the National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils (NARC&DC)). With a focus on future needs, we worked hard to ensure that we had both seasoned and emerging leaders at the table. These leaders had a thoughtful discussion about our strengths and how to build capacity for the entire partnership.
The report, newly available on NACD’s website, lays out the full process followed and the action plans that participants developed. It includes the best practices of each of our Northeastern states. Through this process, participants learned that every state has assets to be admired.
While the report serves as a record of the activities at the capacity building meeting, it is also a blueprint that other regions can use to launch their own capacity building effort. It’s the Northeast’s sincere hope that, by undertaking this effort first, we can help strengthen the conservation partnership nationwide.
That said, there is still much work to be done in the Northeast. In the coming months, the Northeast Region leadership will be planning more work around the key themes – communications, training and leadership – that surfaced at the meeting. There is still much to come for the Northeast!