EMC: Public Engagement Dispatch

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EMC’s Public Engagement Group produces a monthly dispatch to bring you information about what’s happening in the world of public engagement inside and outside the Forest Service.

We’re trying something new this month. We’re working to tailor each PE Dispatch around a theme to coincide with the Public Engagement Community of Practice Webinars. Each month the Featured FAQ, From the Field, and other sections of the Dispatch will highlight key elements of the monthly theme. April’s PE Dispatch emphasizes EMC-supported Public Engagement Resources including: IAP2, Leader as Convener Workshops, and the National Collaboration Cadre.

Stay connected and engaged by joining our Community of Practice or visiting our Public Engagement SharePoint site [Internal Link].

Featured FAQ

How do I join the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) to access public participation resources, free webinars, the journal of public deliberation, and training opportunities at a reduced cost?

The USDA Forest Service is now a member of the USA affiliate of IAP2. All Forest Service staff are eligible to register as members. To register and receive your individual login, please email info@iap2usa.org and provide your basic contact information (name, email, address, department, and title). For more information, contact Sharon Timko at Sharon.timko@usda.gov.

What FAQs do you have? Join the discussion on our Community of Practice Discussion Board [Internal Link].

Tools and Resources

International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Monthly Webinar:

In an era where citizens are increasingly empowered to shape their cities, youth are still overlooked, undervalued, and often included only as an afterthought. Even when engaged, youth inclusion and participation is often tokenistic and transactional. As a result, youth are the most untapped resource in addressing our cities’ sustainability challenges. This session critically examines the underpinning theory and systemic barriers that continue to exclude youth participation, resulting in civic disengagement, lack of trust, and significant missed opportunities. By analyzing case studies and sharing best practices, techniques, and tools, we hope to empower engagement practitioners to re-imagine and redesign their youth engagement practices. Free for FS Employees who register.

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Webinar Series:

Citizen Science Toolkit

  • The recently-released Citizen Science toolkit was developed by cross-deputy teams and includes a Project Planning Guide, Project Plan and Quality Assurance Template, webinar case studies and more. Find them here: external link; internal link (provides more information than external). The Project Planning Guide is available in Spanish, Canadian French, and Chinese Mandarin.

From the field

Leader as Convener Workshop (LCW) Concepts in Action: The Stakeholders Forum for the Nantahala and Pisgah Plan Revision includes nearly thirty organizations representing wildlife, recreation, forest products, and conservation interests. Over the four years since its formation, there have been numerous challenges to the group's levels of trust and collaborative spirit. A recent visit to a successful forest restoration project in the field shed light on some hidden fears about active management. The project offered an example of how multiple interests came together to advance a successful restoration effort, along with hike, bike and equestrian recreation management. During the trip, Forest Service staff worked to increase trust and understanding among participants by using a LCW Storytelling & Harvest facilitation tool. In this technique, individual stakeholders told their stories about their experiences with the original forest restoration project, the challenges they faced, and how those challenges were resolved. Field trip participants or “listeners” then shared with the storyteller what resonated or stayed with them from the story. Those new to the project learned about the project itself with an example of how the collaborative process worked during planning and implementation. Field trip participants valued the experience and learned about Forum members’ interests. Due to its success, another field trip is in the works. For more information, contact: Alice Cohen, alice.cohen@usda.gov.

If you’d like to have your story appear here, please contact Brad Kinder, bradley.kinder@usda.gov or share your story on the Public Engagement SharePoint site [Internal Link].

Training opportunities

Leader as Convener Workshops

  • Leader as Convener Workshop (LCW) at Grey Towers: This training is intended to teach convening leadership concepts. All are welcomed, and workshops are often attended by FS employees with a range of backgrounds and responsibilities. Contact GTLeadership@fs.fed.us for more information. Upcoming dates: May 14-16, 2019, Grey Towers (Milford, PA)

International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) North American Conference

  • 2019 North American Conference Leveraging P2 to Create Thriving Communities. Charlotte, NC, September 4-6, 2019. More information at: https://www.iap2usa.org/2019nac.

Community of Practice News

Public Engagement Community of Practice Webinars

  • Sharon Timko, a member of our Public Engagement Group, presented on collaboration tools and resources, including IAP2, Leader as Convener Workshops, and the National Collaboration Cadre. You can find a recording of the webinar on our PE Community of Practice site [Internal Link]under “Meetings”.
  • Join us for the next Community of Practice call, May 21, 2019 at 2:30pm EST. Engaging the Public in Forest Planning through a Science Symposium - Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan, Public Affairs Specialist, Custer Gallatin National Forest.
  • Join CoP Webinars by phone: 888-844-9904, Access Code 7561605 and by video presentation on Adobe connect: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/emcpe/.

Visit our Community of Practice SharePoint Site or contact Daniel Silvas daniel.silvas@usda.gov to engage, learn, and help us innovate.

Updates from the Public Engagement Group

USDA Customer Experience Center of Excellence (CX CoE):

  • The USDA Customer Experience Center of Excellence wrapped up and presented its case study findings of public engagement efforts on the Payette National Forest. This case study is a part of CX CoE’s national-level Human-Centered Design analysis of public engagement in the Forest Service. For more information on the CX CoE, follow this link.

EMC Public Engagement & Collaboration SharePoint Redesign:

  • The Public Engagement Group is working to update and redesign its SharePoint site. Our goal is to develop the site into a dynamic tool that houses resources, information, and updates to aid and assist the agency in strengthening public engagement efforts.

Forest Service at the Citizen Science Association Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Last month, Forest Service staff presented, networked, and was trained on the latest in citizen science activities across the U.S. and internationally. One of this year’s themes was environmental justice and inclusion with several sessions and a panel on this topic from leaders in the field. Fitting this theme, the EPA also released its guidance and templates for quality assurance in citizen science. Other important topics included getting useable data quality and effectively managing the volunteer lifecycle. The CSA meeting occurs every two years and is highly recommended for practitioners, researchers, and those interested in the field of citizen science. To see the Forest Service’s presentations and more visit the Citizen Science SharePoint.   

Public Engagement Group contacts

For more information about EMC’s Public Engagement Group, visit our Public Engagement SharePoint site [Internal Link] and connect with:

Public Engagement (Deb Beighley, Assistant Director)

Planning (Andrea Bedell-Loucks, Assistant Director)

Adaptive Management (Jamie Barbour, Assistant Director)