As the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin continues to focus on our impact on Wisconsin’s lands, waters and wildlife, we are exploring resources that focus on evidence-based practices, evaluation, measuring and monitoring, as well as the best practices utilized by peer conservation organizations across the globe.

Our Director of Conservation Programs, Cait Williamson, recently returned from a week-long training to become a coach through the Conservation Coaches Network (CCNet). Alongside leaders from organizations such as WWF, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Nature Conservancy Canada and the Wildlife Conservation Society, including participants from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and Ecuador, Cait learned how to lead and facilitate conservation project and program planning using the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (OS).

This training will empower NRF to not only utilize the OS framework for our programs in Wisconsin, but can be shared with local, statewide, regional and even international partners to support their conservation efforts.

CCNet Coach Training 2020

Making Conservation Efforts More Efficient and Effective

The Open Standards are a conservation planning tool which helps teams be systematic about planning, implementing and monitoring their conservation initiatives.

Used by dozens of organizations on every continent, the OS are a framework for doing good conservation. These standards were developed by leading conservation organizations, including Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society and World Wildlife Fund.

The Open Standards draw on many fields, and the open source and common language framework ensures that conservation successes and failures can be shared across the globe, helping all of us to improve our work. Today, hundreds of organizations at varying scales are using the OS, and some major funders are even making the Open Standards a requirement for funding and using it in their own strategies and programs, including the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (OS)
The Open Standards model has 5 components, as seen in the model above. Built upon adaptive management models from other fields, the OS also includes elements specific to conservation planning, including human wellbeing targets, and climate change considerations. Organizations can implement all or part of the OS when working on conservation projects and programs. The framework focuses on the following key pieces of planning:

 

  1. Conceptualize: Summarize what you want to conserve and understand the current and desired condition, including critical threats and the conservation situation (socio-economic and ecological systems).
  2. Plan Actions and Monitoring: Identify goals, strategies, assumptions and objectives, defining theories of change that demonstrate how the strategies will work.
  3. Implement Actions and Monitoring: Implement the strategies, using work and implementation plans and timelines.
  4. Analyze, Use, Adapt: Analyze results, adjust assumptions, results chains, etc. as needed.
  5. Capture and Share Learning: Document what you learned and share with the conservation community.
CCNet Coach Training 2020

Increasing NRF’s impact on the field of conservation in Wisconsin

We plan to incorporate the Open Standards process into our work at the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin to ensure we have the most significant impact possible on Wisconsin’s natural resources. By taking the time to consider the conditions for success, developing SMART goals and objectives, selecting strategies based on a robust theory of change and committing to monitoring to ensure that strategies are adapted as necessary, the OS approach is powerful.

In the spirit of shared learning, we also plan to offer resources on the Open Standards to our Wisconsin conservation partners, such as webinars and workshops on what the Open Standards are, and how organizations at all scales can use them in their conservation work.

Conservation Dogs Lend a Paw in Bumble Bee Surveys

Thanks to the incredible support from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Fund, Midwest Conservation Dogs, Inc. has begun training professional detection dogs to locate bumble bee nests.

Conservation, Community, and Racial Justice

Recent events have shined a light on the deeply ingrained injustices that people of color continue to face, particularly the black community. The discrimination, violence, and oppression have left me and my colleagues at the Foundation deeply disturbed. We are angry. We are sad. We also stand in solidarity with all who are working to assure social and racial justice.

7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary

While most Earth Day in-person and large events have been canceled, the celebration of the nation-wide event that began right here in Wisconsin continues. 

14 Things We ❤️ About Wisconsin

To celebrate Valentine’s Day we have compiled a list of 14 things we love about our valentine—Wisconsin.

Exploring Best Practices in Conservation Planning

As NRF continues to focus on our impact on Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife, we are exploring resources that focus on evidence-based practices, evaluation, measuring and monitoring, and best practices utilized by peer conservation organizations across the globe.

Welcome to the Foundation, Sarah!

As we look forward to the next chapter, we are thrilled to welcome our new Birdathon Coordinator, Sarah Cameron!

GO Fund Grants Awarded: September 2019

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has awarded a total of $5,645 to 15 schools through the Go Outside Fund (GO Fund).

How to support your favorite cause without spending a dime

The holidays are a wonderful time of giving and sharing, but sometimes it can be hard to do everything we want within our budgets. The following are seven ways you can support your favorite non-profit cause just by opening your heart (and not your wallet!).

CD Besadny Conservation Fund Awardees 2019

Every year the CD Besadny Conservation Fund awards grants to new and original projects that involve and affect underserved communities, take advantage of local resources and partnerships, and demonstrate real outcomes.

Piping plovers return to Green Bay

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of the projects we support through our Bird Protection Fund: the banding of federally endangered piping plover chicks near Green Bay, Wisconsin.