Deep community engagement is a fundamental component of successful community-based conservation planning. Throughout this interactive session, participants will learn more about community engagement strategies to deploy before, during, and after the planning process to maximize participation and to incorporate perspectives that reflect the demographics of the communities in which they work. This session will discuss potential challenges and present techniques to help garner trust, enthusiasm, and participation in the process. Taos Land Trust and The Trust for Public Land will use their shared work on community-based conservation and trail planning in Taos County as a case study in using a wide variety of strategies (both successful and not-so-successful) to engage local residents in setting priorities for land trusts and local governments. Workshop participants will have a chance to use key pad voting in a simulated community engagement exercise. This session will provide community leaders with a toolkit full of techniques to deepen engagement through interviews, partnerships, mapping exercises, social media strategies, ground-truthing, surveys, speak-outs, community events, and more.
Participants will learn from general approaches and specific examples of how to take advantage of national and regional easement maps and mapping technology for strategic conservation planning, stewardship, and permanence. We will begin with an update on the National Conservation Easement Database and other regional datasets available on private land conservation. Next, land trust leaders working nationally to locally will provide case studies for improving organizations’ strategic use of digital maps, such as for pipeline prevention and defense, and regional planning and coordination. Results from a 2016 national survey of over 300 land trust and government agency staff will provide perspectives on digital maps. Over 90% of respondents said it would be somewhat to extremely useful to have a map of all the conservation easements in the regions where they work. The most common uses of easement digital maps were for coordinating with other conservation organizations, strategic planning of new acquisitions, and making the case for conservation to policymakers. Third, we will address ways to reduce landowner, staff and board member concerns about privacy for online maps. Land trust leaders will share examples of how they addressed concerns in their own organizations and in consultation with others, and provide a range of options available for land trusts with different levels of GIS experience. Survey results showed that for organizations that have not yet contributed to the National Conservation Easement Database, the top reasons for keeping easement data internal were that they had not been contacted, had other higher priorities, or had limited GIS capacity. About half of respondents indicated that concerns for landowner privacy were a somewhat to extremely important reason for keeping their records internal. Discussion will provide an opportunity for those in attendance to ask questions, share their experiences, and make connections.
Session Level: Basic Session Location: Colorado Convention Center