In late May, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) partnered with the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region to host a statewide capacity-building workshop for California. Nearly 60 participants spent the day learning from their peers by exchanging experiences, information and ideas with each other.

Participants came from the Klamath through the Sierra-Cascades and Transverse Mountain Ranges. They represented conservation corps, conservancies, training centers, youth, tribal government, and other entities working in both rural and urban settings. Key topics covered during the day included governance and decision-making; engagement and education; planning for landscapes and for projects; and funding, funding, funding (everybody’s priority topic!).  

The workshop built on an analysis of grantee work under the NFF’s Community Capacity and Land Stewardship Program, and a supplemental workshop survey from the spring. In the morning, the NFF’s California Program Manager and workshop facilitator Dorian Fougères framed the day with an exploration of “collaborative leadership” (i.e., leading a group without having hierarchical control over others). In the afternoon, the NFF’s Director of Conservation Awards, Adam Liljeblad, presented to the group on best practices for preparing grant applications. The NFF’s California Program Director Kim Carr, along with Acting Deputy Regional Forester Jeff Marsolais, closed the day with their assessment of the past decade’s accomplishments and recent trends, and their vision for this next generation of collaborative and community-based forest management.

Flipcharts tracking the conversations.


The day’s design focused on providing people with a variety of ways to interact and meet a large number of new people. These included variations on open space technology (where people move around and “vote with their feet”); world café (where people investigate one question but with two small groups, one after the other); as well as “lightning presentations” (no more than 7 minutes), plenary (full group) discussions, and a satisfying lunch!



The idea of “making the invisible visible” constituted an overarching theme of the day.  So did the exchange of tools. Curious what that means?  Check out this complementary web page!



Participants offered to host a future workshop outside of Los Angeles to explore how urban youth and disadvantaged communities can access, benefit from, and help steward our National Forests. They also offered to host a workshop on a ranch near the Oregon border, to highlight partnerships with tribal governments. The NFF will keep talking with the  Pacific Southwest Region and see what turns out!

Network map created at workshop

National Forest Foundation