"Maintaining the Foundation of Collaborative Groups", USDA Forest Service National Collaboration Cadre, April 2019
Are participants losing interest in your collaborative effort? Has the purpose of your collaboration become unclear? Is your collaborative no longer making sufficient progress? Does your collaborative lack a sense of accomplishment? Has their been an increase in dissent among participants? Is collaboration just not fun anymore? If you answered, "Yes" to any of these questions then you should have a look at this document from the USDA Forest Service National Collaboration Cadre.
"Building a Solid Foundation for Collaborative Efforts", USDA National Collaboration Cadre, July 2019
Whether building, evaluating, or rebuilding a collaborative effort, all require thoughtful consideration to what people will accomplish and how they will do it. This document guides collaboratives through the process of constructing or reconstructing a solid foundation for collaboration based on the collaborative's purposes, people, process, and products.
"Collaboration as a Pursuit of Progress", USDA Forest Service National Collaboration Cadre, January 2021
How can you tell if a collaborative effort is working? People often ask if a collaboration has succeeded, but perhaps it is better to ask what progress is being made by a collaborative. From there, progress can be broken down into progress on substance, processes, and relationships.
"Interest-Based Problem Solving", USDA Forest Service National Collaboration Cadre, January 2021
When the parties in a natural resource collaboration focus on their positions and overlook their interests the entire collaborative process may slow or shut down. Searching for common ground can seem impossible when people take extreme and mutually exclusive positions. Moving from positions to interests provides the seedbed for innovative ideas that move land management forward in creative ways that sometimes none of the participants had foreseen.
"Aligning Expectations for Effective Collaborative Work", USDA Forest Service National Collaboration Cadre, January, 2021
In both professional and personal situations, people develop expectations about their interactions with others. Whether creating a business partnership, joining a civic organization, or getting married, people anticipate and expect certain behaviors and outcomes. Multi-party collaborative efforts involving public lands management is no different. Finding ways to develop, communicate, and maintain alignment of the participants' expectations in collaborative efforts is critical to a collaborative group's vitality and effectiveness.
"Understanding Collaboration", USDA Forest Service National Collaboration Cadre, January 2021.
Collaboration supplements traditional public participation with more focused activities that will typically allow more meaningful contributions. Collaboration requires considerable time and effort for everyone and should be undertaken when the collaborative potential is high. Collaboration can build and maintain productive working relationships and trust and capacity, both internally and externally, well beyond the immediate issue or situation.
National Collaboration Cadre – USDA Forest Service
The Cadre helps forest and stakeholders organize for collaboration and are available to work with existing collaborative groups to help them evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and identify ways to improve their collaborative work. In addition, the Cadre offers two trainings: Understanding Collaboration and Collaboration in NEPA and Planning. These courses are offered on an as needed basis. Cadre members work with Forest staff to schedule and design a session that fits a Forest’s needs. An experienced Cadre team will travel to the Forest for the training.
The RLCH website — originally founded in 2001 by renowned fashion designer and philanthropist, the late Liz Claiborne and her husband, Art Ortenberg — has served the needs of individuals and organizations engaged in collaborative natural resources management for nearly a decade. The Natural Resources Law Center (now the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment) took over the project in 2007 and, with continued funding from the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation, recently resolved to broaden the mission of the project to support a wider variety of problem-solving methods and to break down the barriers impeding citizen engagement.
The RLCH website is home to one of the most extensive collections of collaboration resources on the web, which includes stories chronicling collaborative initiatives and the lessons learned, a collaboration handbook, funding information, and much more. However, the site is not just for collaborators anymore — it is full of additional tools that are useful for anyone who wants to learn more about how to have an impact on natural resources policy decision.