The work of conserving places and communities is never-ending and ever-changing. It’s a bigger “project” than timelines and strategic plans can hope to convey. It’s longer than board terms, congressional cycles, and political careers. It is longer even then individual human lives.
When a mission lasts decades and decades, how does an organization evolve its definitions of what conservation means to be relevant to the present? How does an organization negotiate its meaning and values between generations? When does one generation’s strength and force of understanding the past make it hard for the next generation to look squarely and honestly at the present? How does one generation, on fire with purpose and vision, allow the next generation to see the world through their own eyes?
In the winter and spring of 2015, I had the honor of collaborating with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) to help them grapple with these questions and formulate a new theory of change that reflects a new generation’s approach and meaning.