National Forest Foundation

Collaboration Resources

Conservation Connect

What is Conservation Connect?

A learning network, Conservation Connect serves community-based groups and Forest Service employees involved in collaborative stewardship on National Forest System lands, and complements the NFF's grant programs. Conservation Connect's objectives are to:

  • Foster peer-to-peer and community-to-agency connections
  • Support exchange of knowledge, tools and best practices
  • Identify common challenges and move to team problem-solving
  • Promote the development of new understandings around the ecological, social and economic objectives of collaborative forest stewardship
  • Build the organizational capacity of collaborative groups

The Conservation Connect Philosophy

Community-based conservation continues to grow and evolve. Conservation Connect services focus on peer learning because:

  • Community-based collaborators are experts in their work
  • Collaborative group experience and knowledge is on the cutting edge of the field
  • People naturally learn best through current, real-world challenges and sharing ideas with each other along the way
  • Peer learning is an efficient way to share knowledge with others
  • By connecting people across rural areas, states and regions, we are fostering a network that we hope will sustain itself beyond specific learning opportunities

For more information on Conservation Connect, please contact:


The National Forest Foundation documents tools, best practices and examples of collaborative processes for a "Toolbox" of shared knowledge. The purpose of these documents is to enable easy sharing of innovation and creativity in the field of collaborative stewardship.


Peer Learning Sessions are 90-minute video and web conference discussions around key issues collaborators face when working on National Forest issues. Objectives include:

  • Supporting shared learning and exchange of knowledge among community-based collaborative groups and Forest Service employees
  • Identifying lessons learned and best practices
  • Building relationships among people working on similar issues across distances
  • Identifying common challenges and moving to team problem-solving

Conservation Connect provides direct technical assistance and coaching in-person, on the phone and via email, offering information and referral on a variety of topics related to collaborative stewardship of National Forests and Grasslands.

Coaching is customized and service-oriented. Through one-on-one discussion, we help identify other needs and more effectively match groups with the resources appropriate to the issue. We strive to refer people to community-based collaborators or agency resource staff who offer specific expertise relevant to each request.

The National Forest Foundation offers skilled facilitation services for collaborative efforts involving the Forest Service at the forest, state and regional level. The NFF is known and respected for our neutrality, and we bring experience and knowledge of collaborative process and structure.

In addition to offering short-term facilitation and assistance to numerous collaborative groups across the country, we have been actively involved in facilitating and/or participating in the following processes:

When stakeholders consider entering a collaborative process, they often appreciate learning about the approaches used by other groups and their results. The NFF staff's familiarity with collaborative efforts across the country is often of great benefit to new efforts. Our services include:

  • Assistance in developing governance documents, protocols and ground rules
  • Process structure and organization
  • Meeting facilitation
  • Record-keeping and coordination

Collaborative Restoration Workshop:

Working Toward Resilient Landscapes and Communities

April 26-27, 2016 || Denver, Colorado

The 2016 Collaborative Restoration Workshop was a forum for sharing innovative approaches to collaborative restoration, tools, and lessons about planning, implementing, and monitoring restoration efforts on and around National Forest System lands. Through a series of plenary sessions and five breakout tracks, participants engaged deeply in discussing the successes, challenges, and critical questions facing community partners, the U.S. Forest Service, and others working on collaborative efforts. Through the lenses of science, collaboration, planning, and monitoring, participants thought critically about amplifying restoration and working together towards success in the future.


Upcoming Peer Learning Sessions & Events

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World-class organizations are fully committed to learning and self-criticism. The "expert model" is being replaced by "communities of practice" and through knowledge sharing. This format is an excellent venue for achieving these aims. Keep it up!"

Conservation Connect Participant