“By changing the type of conversation we are willing to have and with whom we are committed to having it, conservation can begin to be helpful to a much broader range of issues and opportunities. With serious intention to break patterns of class, fear, time, we seek to work through divides and in this effort to better understand one another, we are learning the skills to protect land in a much more durable way.” -from Healing and Repairing, 2016
Conservation Unbound is about releasing the full potential of conservation from old definitions, audiences and methods. I speak out on this larger promise of conservation, and I conduct organizational and coalition trainings. I work especially hard to find opportunities where I can help the conservation movement to innovate and evolve by connecting it to other efforts for social change. For example, by connecting Native and non-Native conservationists, or making allies between land trusts and food security groups, or creating greater understanding between rural and urban conservationists.
I co-create, design and lead learning experiences of many different lengths (from two hours to eighteen months) for citizen leaders and career professionals who aspire to strengthen conservation by making it more inclusive and by connecting it to other efforts for change. My approach to learning favors experiences over presentation and emphasizes modeling of ideas. These workshops, regardless of length, are highly interactive and geared toward experiencing the questions and practicing the answers, rather than presentation of ideas. All of my workshops, no matter the group size, are highly interactive and include group work, personal reflection, facilitated dialogue, problem-solving and commitment-making.
Almost every workshop I do begins by me interviewing participants to ensure that the curriculum design meets them where they are and helps to take them where they need to go in their journey.
The themes that most often are covered include:
- How is our nation evolving demographically, culturally, politically, what does this ask of conservation?
- How do different generations define conservation and what does that mean for our work?
- Who is visible and less visible to us in our community and how does that affect our mission and capacity?
- What is the historic role that land has played in creating privilege in our region and what does this ask of us as we aspire to be in service to more and different people?
- How are groups evolving the practice of conservation through improving food systems, childhood education, water resiliency, renewable energy, meaningful work, and social justice?
- What are principles of relationship-building that might yield the most durable and successful relationships between conservation and human wellbeing?
- What is the role of story in helping us to ally to one another? How does our story put up walls or help to take walls down?
Recent clients for these workshops and trainings include: River Network, Big Sur Land Trust, Alaska Land Trusts, Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Peconic Land Trust, Door County Land Trust, Vermont Land Trust, Otsego Land Trust, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Maine Land Trust Network, Southeast Alaska Conservation Coalition, The Nature Conservancy, Land Trust Alliance.
“I am grateful to you for co-facilitating such a heart-full, energizing and thought-provoking series of days. Beyond affirming that the community conservation path is the one we want and need to be on and beyond the strong and welcome sense of alignment that emerged between board and staff, it has been so much fun to come back to the office this week and hear how staff are already connecting the dots – making those small tweaks to reach a different audience, collect information differently, and problem-solve in new ways.” -Sarah Hale Krull, Maine Coast Heritage Trust