Class Assignments and Agenda for Week 15, 2008 Dec 12

Class meets from 9:10 - 13:00 in 3214 Jordan Hall on the NCSU Campus. Lunch provided.


Things to do before our meeting - please read all items, regardless of team

Item 1: Class evaluation - please go to the class evaluation web site and submit your evaluation of the course by Mon 8 Dec - that is the last day the system is open. - you will need to log on with your NCSU Unity IDs.

Item 2: Please complete your peer evaluation and email to George by Thurs 11 Dec midnight. FinalPeerEvaluation.doc

Item 3: Please complete a self assessment and email to George by Fri 12 Dec midnight - sooner is better. SelfAssessment.doc

Item 4: Compile files for the final seminar packet and send them to George by noon Wed 10 Dec. If you send multiple files, please be sure to indicate the order in which they should be compiled. Also indicate for each if they are intended to be used during the presentation or as supplemental material for after the presentation. Grey-scale only, please. Don't forget to include your work on the individual properties.

Item 5: Complete your presentations and bring on a USB key Friday morning, to be loaded on classroom computer.

Item 6: Please review the presentation agenda and make sure I've listed the right presenter - correct as needed.

Item 7: Comment on bullet items for "Why is this important?" slide and "conclusions" by noon Wed 10 Dec - the proposed items are toward the bottom of this page.

Item 8: Thought questions for debrief - please ruminate over these during the week and be prepared to discuss during lunch. Everyone will be asked to participate.
  • Of the things you learned this semester, which was the most eye-opening for you? Please describe how you learned about this and how it will change the way you approach (similar) situations in the future.
  • If you were to approach another land conservancy about carrying out the kind of work we've done this semester ... and they agreed to read one relatively brief item to help them decide whether to proceed ... what would you have them read?
  • It takes less than a minute to reach the 86th floor of the Empire State Building by elevator ( see "Elevators" on ) ... let's call it a minute. You have that much time to explain the importance of measuring success to a group of land conservancy presidents. What would you say?
  • I'll be working with my undergraduate measurements class in the spring to try out some of the indicators we've identified. I'd be willing to create a 1- or 2-credit special topics for any of you who would like to participate somehow in that - details to be determined. Does anyone want to play?
  • Of course, anything else that you would like to raise that has been an important learning experience for you.

Item 9: Food and drink
  • George will arrange coffee for seminar
  • Others will bring snacks - please sign up right below this line in a bullet list
    • Kathryn - Banana Bread
    • Steve Allen - Ginger cookies (Don't worry, my wife is baking them)
    • Kate - brownies
    • Debbie - chocolate chip cookie bars
  • TLC is providing pizza for lunch (thanks, TLC) - Mary & Jeff working out details
  • George will provide drinks for lunch - water, soda, fruit juice

Item 10: Please try to arrive at about 9AM on Friday to help with setup and load files on computer.


9.00 Setup
- Get presentations on computer
- Get tables arranged
- Arrange refreshments

Final Seminar

11.30 Clean-up

11.45 Lunch and debrief

13.00 Adjourn for a wonderful break

These two slides proposed near the beginning of the presentation

Thinking about conservation success [ things I would say ]
  • Survey of all NC land trusts [ Louise conducted a survey of all the land trusts in NC to get an idea of how they think about and report success ]
  • Missions and goals focus on conserving natural resources [ As you might expect, they all have missions and goals that articulate a desire to conserve natural resources, working farms and forests, particular species, water quality, or similar ecological attributes ]
  • Most think about success in terms of sustaining natural resource values [ and, in fact, at least internally they think about success in terms of sustaining these values for the long term, though often in vague, difficult-to-measure ways (eg, ecological integrity) ]
  • Report acres protected and dollars raised [ but to the outside world, they talk about the amount of land they protected and the amount of money raised and sometimes spent ]
  • None report success in ecological terms [ none are reporting on whether their activities are actually conserving species, ecosystems, or other natural resources. This is a lost opportunity. ]

Value of measuring conservation success [ things I would say - we think it's important for conservancies to change how success is measured and reported, to move from bucks and acres to more ecologically-focused, outcomes-oriented measures that demonstrate the organization is meeting its conservation goals, not just its land acquisition and fund raising goals ]
  • strengthen fundraising campaigns and grant applications [ measuring the success of conservation efforts beyond acres protected - in ecological terms - being able to demonstrate that species and ecosystems were conserved, that water is clean and abundant - will help strengthen your fundraising campaigns and grant applications in an increasingly competitive environment ]
  • trend: granting agencies demanding more accountability [ indeed, granting agencies are already demanding more accountability in terms of outcomes. For example, the National Fish & Wildlife Association wants evidence that species are actually conserved; the Farm Bill (Kathryn, can you help me with details here) ]
  • more well-developed management strategies [ clearer definition of goals in measurable, time-specific way can help you develop clearer, more focused management strategies. there's a big difference between saying "Temple Flat Rock will be a grassland prairie" and "By 2020, TFR will have more than 90% warm season grasses with approximately one large oak or persimmon for every 5 acres" - both in terms of how you manage the site and how you measure success toward goals ]
  • abandon failed strategies / strengthen working strategies [ operational efficiency could be improved, because measuring success will help you identify strategies that do and do not work, focusing efforts on those that do work ]

Wrap-up slides

<<george - I've asked Jeff if he would be willing to do this part, as demonstration of how committed TLC is to this process and the role they have played all semester - he has agreed>>

Findings [ we've discovered a number of things during the past 15 weeks and list some key points here ]
  • success can and should be measured beyond "bucks and acres" [ The Conservation Measurements Partnership adaptive management protocol has been developed by some of the biggest players in conservation - WWF, TNC, CI - in recognition of the need to think beyond buying land to be effective in conservation, and trends among funding agencies for increased accountability and tangible demonstrations of conservation success. We believe that TLC is ahead of the curve among local land trusts. ]
  • doing so leads to changes in organizational philosophy and focus [ as you saw in the Temple Flat Rock and regional examples, the conceptual models developed using the CMP protocol highlight the need for strategies well beyond buying land and easements, if conservation is to be effective. Building these models exposes holes in the network of activities needed to effect conservation and highlights opportunities for partnerships with other organizations. It has the potential - as it did for TNC, WWF, and other organizations that have used the approach - to change the way TLC thinks about doing conservation. We can envision TLC taking the regional diagram "on the road" to other organizations and discovering what's missing and how all the pieces fit together. ]
  • tools are out there - we need to adapt and use them [ BUT we don't have to reinvent the wheel - we can build on existing work, such as adopting the CMP approach, using the NC Streamwatch protocol, and developing partnerships with other organizations to develop a regional network of conservation organizations ]

Continuing on ...
  • Hess' measurements class will test ideas [ in continuing collaboration with TLC, Hess' undergraduate measurements class will attempt to measure some of these indicators in the Spring. The idea is to see if some of the field-based indicators can be measured by volunteers after short training sessions. His students will also experiment with some of the GIS and database analyses at the regional scale (Jeff, I'm happy to step in if you tap me for more explanation) ]
  • continue refocusing organizational philosophy on outcomes [ with the Conservation Strategies Task Force, TLC started down the path of think about what land was being protected FOR rather than protected FROM. The processes we've touch on today allow the organization to continue down that path, develop more specific outcomes, and a framework for evaluating progress and success towards attaining those outcomes.
  • develop more explicit regional goals [ In that vein, a good first step would be to continue working on the regional model, developing more explicit goals, identifying holes, and looking for ways to fill them through changes within the organization or partnerships with other organizations. TLC needs to think about what representative ecosystems are to be protected, and how much of each. How much trail? What is a scenic landscape, and how much do we want? How will we recognize success in working farms and forests?
  • develop goals for all properties that linked to regional goals [ all properties should link to a direct conservation target or public benefit - the process we've shown creates a structure that can increase focus on those links ]
  • start small, but start now [ There's a lot here and it might seem a bit overwhelming, but we think it's important to continue this thinking and work, even it you have to do it in small steps. And it can be done in small steps. But it's important to keep moving. As we worked through these past 15 weeks, we frequently encountered steps in the process that we didn't know how to do, for which data were unavailable, or the desired goal unclear. The neat thing is that we were able to document these unknowns and uncertainties, and see where work must be done. For example, we don't know what fire frequency is required at TFR, but we know it's more than what's currently occurring - we write "uknown" and "not enough" - these will be refined later as we learn more. The regional model clearly showed threats to the public benefits TLC works toward that must be addressed ..... not sure where this is going yet. ]