National Forest Foundation

Learning Topics

Collaborating With the Forest Service

An important part of the National Forest Foundation's purpose is to support and encourage productive working relationships between the U.S. Forest Service and communities. Below is a collection of best practices and tools, peer learning sessions, and links that are useful resources.

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Selected Tools & Resources

Partnership Resource Center
The Partnership Resource Center is the result of a true partnership developed through the shared vision of the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and the National Partnership Office of the U.S. Forest Service. Recognizing the many resources being developed about collaboration and partnerships, the Forest Service and the NFF gathered a group of people in 2009 to talk about how to renovate the Partnership Resource Center into an interactive portal. Those working collaboratively in the effort include the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, the Red Lodge Clearinghouse and Southwest Decision Resources, as well as the Forest Service's Ecosystem Management Coordination staff, the Chief Information Office, and Forest Service staff from forest and regional levels.

Virtual Partnership Conference 2014
Over two days through a virtual conference setting, the Forest Service's National Partnership Office and the National Forest Foundation shared information on many aspects of Forest Service partnerships, including ethics and grants and agreements, while also highlighting success stories and lessons learned. Our goal was for attendees to take away a better understanding of the growing role of public-private partnerships and the tools and strategies used to support them, as well as to identify key questions and challenge.

The Ethics of Partnerships: Towards Clearer Guidance
This presentation was presented by the National Partnership Office during the 2014 Virtual Partnership Conference.

Forest Service Handover Memo
The Forest Service’s handover memo process enables an outgoing agency leader to share information with their replacement. The memo documents important relationships and collaborative work.

Forest Service & Non-profit Share an Employee
The Ochoco National Forest shares a permanent, full-time Forest Service hydrologist with the Crooked River Watershed Council (CRWC) through a Participating Agreement. This best practice outlines the details and steps the Ochoco took to develop the agreement.

Creative Forest Service Approach to Travel Planning
The Cibola National Forest partnered with the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to provide for deeper engagement in the travel management planning than possible in more traditional public processes.

Selected Peer Learning Sessions

Working with Collaborative Groups (March 12, 2015)
Some Forest Service units embrace collaboration; they prioritize collaborative work and help community-based collaborative groups succeed in finding common ground. Similarly, many collaborative groups embrace Forest Service line officers. The relationship between the Forest Service and a collaborative group can be satisfying and productive, but also requires thoughtful planning and involvement. In this session, speakers from the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution and Forest Service discussed strategic approaches to partnerships and collaboration.

Starting & Sustaining a Thriving Friends Group (April 10, 2015)
Why are Friends Groups useful? How can you lead the formation of a Friends Group? What is the National Partnership Office’s role in supporting friends groups? This peer learning session shed light on these questions and more.

Innovative Partnerships for Mission Accomplishment (January 22, 2015)
This peer learning session highlighted three of the agency’s most unique and unusual, yet highly effective partnerships. The session featured speakers from State & Private Forestry, the National Forest System, and Research & Development, along with a discussion of challenges, successes, and lessons learned specific to each deputy area.

Measuring Progress in Collaboration (February 13, 2013)
You've formed a partnership, and you're collaborating but how do you know if you are progressing successfully? This peer learning session answered this basic question by providing tools and strategies to support collaborative efforts in measuring progress and success.This session was sponsored by the USFS National Partnership Office and coordinated by the National Forest Foundation.

A Discussion of Challenges and Opportunities Associated with National Forest Planning and Collaboration (November 13, 2014)
In this peer learning session, which was sponsored by the National Partnership Office, participants were asked to consider the challenges and opportunities associated with integrating forest planning with other collaborative planning efforts. Speakers from the University of Colorado, University of Montana, and U.S. Forest Service discussed the 2012 Forest Planning regulations and why the requirements for collaboration and public participation are shining light on potential challenges and opportunities around overlapping collaboration and planning efforts.

The Line Officer's View on Collaboration and Partnerships (September 5, 2013)
What is the forest supervisor’s role in collaboration and partnerships? Each line officer has his or her own leadership style and brings a different perspective to how they interact with community stakeholders. In this peer learning session, we heard directly from several experienced forest supervisors about their views on strategic approaches to partnerships and collaboration, and how partnership coordinators and other staff can help them and the forest succeed in working with their communities.

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