Class Assignments and Agenda for Week 1, 2008 Aug 22


Class meets from 9:10 - 11:55A in 3214 Jordan Hall on the NCSU Campus. You are free to bring food and drink to this classroom.



The major objectives for our first session are to ...
  • meet everyone involved in the course
  • understand course objectives and approach
  • develop a deeper appreciation for the problem with which we are grappling



Things to do before our meeting

To make the best use of our time together, there will almost always be a number of things to be accomplished before we meet. Early in the semester, instructors will determine what those assignments are; once we get moving, students will make that determination, under guidance of the instructor(s).

Item 1: Short biography, due Fri 15 Aug.
  • So that we know something about one another before we meet, I'd like each participant to create a short biography, including a small .jpg photo of yourself. (Please scale down the photo to < 1Mb before inserting). Not looking for a CV here, but something more fun that lets everyone know a little about who you are. Here's mine as an example: GeorgeHessBio.pdf
  • Please send this to me (George Hess) in a Word or PDF format by Friday 15 Aug. Use the same file name format as I used for mine: FirstLastBio.doc or pdf. I will distribute to all students in the class.
  • 2008 Aug 18: Received bios are available in the ClassBios.zip file with the Readings (not all are there yet).

Item 2: Introductory reading and thinking, due Wed 20 Aug.
  • I'd like to get you thinking about missions, goals, and measuring success. So here's a multipart thought exercise.
  • Do Part A before doing any reading.
  • Please complete by Wed 20 Aug. I need your files in my in-box when I wake up on the 21st.

  • Part A
    • Imagine that you are about to start a land conservancy in Wake County (that's the county NCSU is in; Duke students, you can think Durham if that makes it easier for you). Open an MS Word file and write down a mission statement for your conservancy. I'm not trying to teach how to write a mission statement, but you might want to consult a couple of web sites as you think about this ...
    • Now that you have a mission statement, imagine that your organization is about to make it's first conservation deal on a property. Write down the goals for that property - what is it you expect that property to do?
    • Now imagine that 5 years have elapsed and someone asks you if that property has met its goals. How would you demonstrate that it has or has not? What would you measure?

  • Part B: Reading Please do NOT read these articles until you have completed Part A
    • Howard, Alice & Joan Magretta. 1995. Surviving Success: An Interview with the Nature Conservancy's John Sawhill. Harvard Buisness Review 73(5): 109-118. ( Readings filename Howard&Magretta1995_OnSawhill.pdf )
    • Sawhill, John C. & David Williamson. Measuring what matters in nonprofits. The McKinsey Quarterly 2001(2): 98-107. ( Readings filename Sawhill&Williamson2001_MeasuringWhatMatters.pdf )

  • Part C
    • Now that you have completed these two readings, please go to the bottom of the file you created in Part A and redo the exercise from Part A.
    • Do NOT erase your original effort - just put a horizontal line across the bottom of the page and do it again in light of what you have just learned.
    • Once you've done that, put another horizontal line across the bottom of the page and provide an evaluation of the differences between your before-reading and after-reading efforts. How did things change and why?
    • Send me (George Hess ) the file by email - use naming format FirstLastDay1.doc (eg, GeorgeHessDay1.doc)

NOTE 22 Aug 07:45: All the Day1 assignments I received have been uploaded to the readings directory - look for Day1.zip



Agenda for class session

9.10 Introductions (Hess, 20 min max)
- Be prepared to introduce yourself in 60 seconds or less.
- Do include
  • name
  • school and degree being pursued
  • your major interest in this course
  • anything else you'd like to say about yourself

9.30 Course format (Hess, 15 min)
- Hess will talk about how he expect the class to work
- Questions and discussion
- Who is going to keep time - reminding us when the agenda says it's time to move on (rotating duty)
- Who is going to post notes to the wiki for this week's class? (rotating duty)

9.45 Introducing Triangle Land Conservancy (Brice, Masten, 30 min max)
- Brice / Masten will talk about TLC's mission and goals and provide a brief history of the organization
  • handout with TLC mission / vision / goals as appropriate - 1-pager
  • handout with brief history of TLC
  • Note: More detailed information available in readings directory - see file TLC2007_StrategicDirections.pdf

10.15 Brainstorming exercise (Hess, 30 min)
- Come up with ideas for measuring success at TLC, based on their mission / vision / goals
- Format
  • Each person given some sticky pads
  • Write one idea per page, as many ideas as you can - about 10 minutes in silence for this
  • Post on wall
  • Try to organize into categories

10.45 Break (15 min)

11.00 Discussion (Hess, Brice, 30 min)
- Talk about the ideas just generated and connect them with what students did in their pre-class assignment
- What issues can we surface?
- Where do we see problems? opportunities?

11.30 Next Steps (Hess, 25 min)
- Take a look at big-picture calendar
- Where shall we go from here?
- Change to plan for next week?
- Generate any action items

11.55 Adjourn




NOTES FROM CLASS


Notetaker: Julia Gruber
Class Notes: August 22, 2008

Introductions

End Products from this course:
  • a peer reviewed article on our research findings
  • measures of conservation success for TLC, ideally will be things that can be tested in a course next semester
  • professional development: collaborative research work, improved communication skills, peer review of our interactions, leadership skills, etc.

Kevin Brice:
Triangle Land Conservancy is just like any other non-profit and must have a way to measure its success. Land trusts and local communities taking initiative are a growing movement across the US. The idea of land trusts began in New England, and many NE states have an abundance of local/township level land trusts.

The state of North Carolina has a strong system of county governments. Our area is lead by the Triangle J Council of Governments (TJ-COG). In the late 1970’s/early 80’s, a land use plan was drafted through the year 2020. Along with other growth issues such as water quantity, it was decided that a non-profit land trust was needed.

TLC was founded in 1983 as an all-volunteer organization. With the vision of Pearson Stewart, a planner from western Massachusetts, TLC grew into a successful non-profit and “the best land trust in the country”. TLC had a passion for its mission and had great expertise in planning.

Side Note: While the Triangle area knew it was growing, TLC was developed before a crisis situation arose. In contrast, the Eno River Association was founded when plans to flood the river were already underway and concerned citizens lobbied to save it.

In its early years, much was invested in prioritization. For example, Natural Heritage inventories of biological communities were created for the counties in the area. This involved a lot of time, effort, and expertise, as well as the ability to reach out to local landowners and get their permission to inventory their properties. In other words, TLC did not focus all of its resources on land acquisitions. They invested in these inventories so they knew exactly what they were trying to protect and why. Some experimentation was also tried along with their discipline for planning.

Landowner cooperation is a huge part of the success of a land trust. TLC must keep landowner perspectives in mind with all of their activities. Landowners in NC are often older and more conservative than the average population, and we must make them willing to discuss conservation options.

In 1988, TLC’s first full time staff was hired. Volunteers are still a critical component of the organization, with 100+ active in various ways. Today there is a staff of 15 and an annual operating cost of ~$1 million. Non profits must always strike a balance between staff investment and volunteers to make the most of their financial resources.

In the beginning, landowner outreach started by looking for voluntary donations of money or property. Tax incentives and word-of-mouth helped a lot since TLC had very little funding at first to purchase properties outright.
In summary, land trusts need 3 things to be successful:
  1. good leaders
  2. a community willing and receptive to the idea of conserving land for the future
  3. financing and support (fundraising, getting legislators on board, etc)

Jeff Masten:
“Increasing the pace of conservation” is the trajectory for TLC. Conservation is not just acquiring land, that’s why TLC is trying to influence regional planning. For example, the Natural Heritage inventories have helped alter the path of development in some cases. TLC’s mission statement is broad enough to allow a change in strategy, if/when needed.

TLC now works with other governments and advocacy to increase their network of influence. In this way, we can impact other conservation issues with a small budget. For example, TLC is involved in creating 2 new state parks on the Deep and Haw Rivers. Raising awareness is also a great way to build leverage and support within the community.

Another important action is the long-term protection and stewardship of the land. How do we measure success in stewardship? How can we plan for the long-term?

The staff at TLC is divided into 3 main areas:
  1. Conservation Strategies Group/Land Stewardship
  2. Communications/Advocacy
  3. Administration/Fundraising/Development

Handouts:
Summary and Mission Statement of TLC
( Readings file TLCSummary.pdf )
TLC Annual Report 2006-2007 (booklet) ( Readings file TLC2007_AnnualReport.pdf )

Brainstorming Exercise
How should TLC measure its success based on the mission statement?
Everyone wrote down ideas on sticky notes, afterwards they were grouped into the following categories on the board:
Stream length/# feet protected, water supply, water quality, air quality, wildlife counts/diversity, healthy habitats, forested acres, size:needs, invasive species, baseline data, agriculture, planning, advocacy, education, recreation , open space, natural heritage, none/intrinsic value, % impervious surface.

Some points from the discussion:
  • How can you measure peoples’ satisfaction? Values?
  • Not every conservation deal will fulfill the entire mission statement, but should contribute to the overall vision.
  • A mission statement is not measurable, but goals and actions are.
  • A mission statement sets the tone for the goals and actions
  • A mission statement should be timeless, while goals can and should change over time
  • How can we define “important”, “healthy”, and “vibrant”?
  • Advocacy is persuading others to take your opinion, while education is explaining the facts
  • Non-profit boards can be very influential, especially at first, or be more of the governing policy makers
  • The readings for week 1 seemed to divide the class into 2 groups – those that broadened or narrowed their mission statements afterwards.
  • How do publishers rank the “best” places to live? What criteria are used?



Photo of our ideas: MissionSuccess.jpg

ACTION ITEMS


Please review the grading system on the syllabus and voice questions/comments. Grading will be based on mid-term and final evaluations by teachers, peers, and yourself.

See the following websites for more background info on land trusts:

Small group will look up articles/organizations that rank the “best places to live ” to find out what criteria are used, both qualitative and quantitative. (e.g. Outdoor magazine, Forbers, Money, US News)