EMC: Public Engagement Update

Featured FAQ

EMC’s Public Engagement Group has launched a monthly series to bring you information about what’s happening in the world of public engagement inside and outside the Forest Service. We appreciate the positive feedback we received after our inaugural edition last month! Stay connected by joining our Community of Practice or engage on our Public Engagement SharePoint site [Internal Link].

Who in EMC can I contact to share my public engagement thoughts and questions?

Contact EMC’s Public Engagement Group! We’re here to help you strategize as you engage with internal and external audiences. Currently, seven staff members in EMC work on various aspects of public engagement under three Assistant Directors. A snapshot of our staff’s roles and expertise is included below. For complete bios, click here [Internal Link].

Public Engagement (Deb Beighley, Assistant Director)

Brad Kinder, bradley.kinder@usda.gov, 202-239-4184

  • Public Engagement Group Coordination, PE Tools and Resources, USDA Customer Experience Center of Excellence, Environmental Analysis and Decision-Making

Catherine Doyle-Capitman, catherine.doyle-capitman@usda.gov, 202-205-1643

  • Liaison to the Forest Service’s Human Dimensions group, Social Science, Coordinating with Research & Development

Sharon Timko, sharon.timko@usda.gov, 202-205-1140

  • PE Tools and Resources, Collaboration and Collaborative Processes, Coordinator of National Collaboration Cadre and Leader as Conveners Workshops

Planning (Andrea Bedell-Loucks, Assistant Director)

Maia Enzer, maia.enzer@usda.gov, 503-312-8863

  • Public Participation in Forest Planning, Collaboration and Collaborative Processes, County Coordination, Federal Advisory Committee Act, Partner Engagement

Adaptive Management (Jamie Barbour, Assistant Director)

Madelyn Dillon, madelyn.dillon@usda.gov, 970-295-5734

  • Public Participation in Adaptive Management and Monitoring, Strategic Communication

Michelle Tamez, michelle.tamez@usda.gov, 202-205-1194

  • Multi-party Monitoring, Citizen Science, Crowdsourcing, Engaging Youth, Engaging Underserved Communities

Drawing on our diverse skillsets, our goals is to act as a dynamic hub for public engagement, serving the Forest Service by (1) gathering and sharing knowledge, expertise, and guidance, (2) convening and connecting networks, (3) developing new and expanding use of existing tools and resources, and (4) leveraging research and innovation.

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


Tools and Resources

International Association of Public Participation (IAP2)  

The Forest Service is now a member of the USA affiliate of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2). You can leverage this resource to connect with national and international experts and to learn from dedicated public engagement professionals. IAP2 has a wealth of resources available to assist organizations, decision makers, policy makers, and practitioners to improve the quality of the public participation work.

  • IAP2Pillars including the public participation spectrum, core values, and code of ethics can help Forest Service employees select the right public participation techniques, inform their public engagement processes, and enhance the quality of participants’ experiences.
  • IAP2 Monthly Webinars (Free for Forest Service employees!)

Upcoming Webinars:

For more resources, visit IAP2’s website.

To register as a member and receive your individual login, please email info@iap2usa.org and provide your basic contact information (name, email, address, department, and title).


From the Field

Science Symposium: An innovative technique to engage the public during forest plan revision. To expand and strengthen public engagement during the Custer Gallatin National Forest plan revision process, the forest held a science symposium with 135 attendees. The forest received very positive feedback from the public and increased public awareness of the type of science the forest is using in the revision process. The symposium complemented public meetings that did not provide ample time for engaging in-depth in science discussions. The symposium was paired with the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Science Conference held by the park’s non-profit arm. For more information, contact: Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan, mdleuschen@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!


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 welcome 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)
  • Leader as Convener Workshop 2: This training offers a deeper dive for those who are LCW graduates to learn and experience convening techniques and develop self-management skills for working in an emergent learning environment. Contact GTLeadership@fs.fed.us for more information. Upcoming dates: October 29-31, 2019, Grey Towers (Milford, PA)    

For more information about LCW, contact Sharon Timko at sharon.timko@usda.gov.

Upcoming International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Trainings

  • Foundations in Public Participation (Planning & Techniques): April 29-May 3, 2019, Chicago, IL
  • Planning for Effective Public Participation: May 1-3, 2019, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Techniques for Effective Public Participation: June 3-4, 2019, Salt Lake City, UT

Learn more about training at IAP2’s website: https://www.iap2.org/events/event_list.asp

Udall Foundation’s U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution

  • The Udall Foundation’s U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution recently announced its open trainings for 2019


Community of Practice News

Public Engagement Reference Guide

Maia Enzer, a member of our Public Engagement Group, presented the Public Engagement Reference Guide, which she co-authored, during March’s Public Engagement Community of Practice call. The Guide provides concise, clear descriptions of common public engagement terms, information about working with partners, and public engagement approaches that will best fit your needs and situation. You can find the reference guide and other resources by following this link.

Public Engagement Community of Practice Calls

Join us for the next Community of Practice call, April 16, 2019 at 2:30pm EST.  Sharon Timko will be speaking about collaboration tools and resources, including IAP2, Leader as Convener, and the Collaboration Cadre.

Join audio by phone: 888-844-9904, Access Code 7561605. Join the video presentation on Adobe connect: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/emcpe/.

Upcoming Community of Practice Calls 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.

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

Training on Foundations in Public Participation

Four members of the Public Engagement Group attended the IAP2 Training – Foundations in Public Participation in March. The training brought together a diverse group of federal, state, and county government employees and independent consultants to learn how to plan for public participation and practice a variety of techniques for effective public participation. We all had a really great time and learned a lot! We would recommend this training! Follow this link for more information on IAP2’s training opportunities.

USDA Customer Experience Center of Excellence (CX CoE):

The USDA Customer Experience Center of Excellence, accompanied by our own Brad Kinder, spent a week on the Payette National Forest in McCall, ID, meeting with Forest Service staff, members of the Payette Forest Coalition, and a variety of other stakeholders to learn about local public engagement efforts. 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.

Forest Service Human Dimensions Meeting and Region 2 Visit:

In late February, the Public Engagement Group attended the annual Forest Service Human Dimensions meeting in Boulder, CO. Meeting topics included Using Citizen Science as a Collaboration Tool, How Values Shape Environmental Thought, and Talking Points Collaborative Mapping. The Group also had a great time visiting and talking public engagement with colleagues at the Region 2, Regional Office and the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. 

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

March 13-17th the USDA Forest Service 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 [Internal Link]. 


Public Engagement Group Contacts

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

Public Engagement (Deb Beighley, Assistant Director)

Catherine Doyle-Capitman, Social Scientist, catherine.doyle-capitman@usda.gov, 202-205-1643

Brad Kinder, Public Engagement Specialist, bradley.kinder@usda.gov, 202-239-4184

Daniel Silvas, Public Engagement Specialist, daniel.silvas@usda.gov, 970-295-5769

Sharon Timko, Public Engagement Specialist, sharon.timko@usda.gov, 202-205-1140

Planning (Andrea Bedell-Loucks, Assistant Director)

Maia Enzer, Planning and Public Engagement Advisor, maia.enzer@usda.gov, 503-312-8863

Adaptive Management (Jamie Barbour, Assistant Director)

Madelyn Dillon, Strategic Communication Specialist, madelyn.dillon@usda.gov, 970-295-5734

Michelle Tamez, Natural Resource Specialist, michelle.tamez@usda.gov, 202-205-1194