VERMONT – On March 20, more than fifty partners, including collaborators and representatives from motorized and non-motorized user groups, congressional offices, timber contractors, conservation groups and fish, wildlife and watershed organizations, convened in the Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests headquarters office in Rutland, Vermont for a collaboration summit.
The meeting was scheduled as a follow-up to a partner round-table meeting held in March of 2018. Attendees had expressed a desire to get together more frequently and dialogue about formation of a Friends group. The meeting kicked off with an update from forest supervisor John Sinclair on national, regional and local Environmental Analysis and Decision Making efforts over the past year.
Designed as a check-in to determine how partners felt about their efforts over the past year, attendees were asked to share their feelings on their relationship with the USDA Forest Service while also brainstorming ideas on how to better serve the public. Facilitators shared information on how other forests and organizations have used “Friends” groups to work together to support common and unique goals and objectives.
In the context of shared stewardship, partners led small group discussions on climate change resiliency, youth engagement, friend organizations, and coordinating and communicating collaboration effectively. Group report-outs allowed the Forest Service to document dozens of ideas and concepts and share future opportunities.
Partners provided information and creative ideas to increase the forest’s ability to manage the Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests in more efficient, cost effective and meaningful ways. The forest recognizes that every partner brings something different to the table and values each organization’s significant contribution to collective success.