Natural Resources Planning Using Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation

Instructors: Abby Hook and Emily Gonzales
Date: Friday, September 22, 2017; 9:00am to 4:30pm
Room 470, Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
Fee: $225.00 + GST

Do you wish your organization was more unified and focused on achieving real conservation of the natural places that you love? Would it be valuable for you to be able to show measurable progress toward achieving your group goals? If the answer is yes, your organization would benefit by developing a strategic plan based on tested principles used by conservation professionals around the world. These principles are embodied in a suite of standards collectively known as the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (Open Standards).  Successful conservation organizations and initiatives that have learned to do one or more of the following: engage relevant stakeholders, agree upon and articulate a unified vision describing what conservation efforts are intended to achieve, set measureable objectives, prioritize potential interventions, or track implementation milestones. In short, these organizations are able to answer the golden questions of conservation success: are we doing the right things and are we doing them well?

The Open Standards process increases team unity and long-term efficiency and effectiveness in achieving and measuring the success of conservation interventions. A strategic conservation plan based on the Open Standards contains the following key elements:

  1. A shared vision among relevant stakeholders;
  2. A small number of conservation targets that encapsulate what the team cares about most;
  3. A ranked list of threats that impact conservation targets;
  4. A description of factors known or assumed to exacerbate threats;
  5. A prioritized list of interventions that are tied to factors contributing to the threats.
  6. A series of predictions that explicitly describes how stakeholders believe alternative strategies would produce desired outcomes.
  7. Objectives that are SMART (i.e. Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Results-based, and Time-bound) and that form the basis of the monitoring program.
  8. A monitoring program that not only tracks the status of conservation targets, but also monitors key intermediate results following strategy implementation, thus providing stakeholders with early warning signals as to whether a strategy is effective.

Bolster your current natural resource or strategic plan by learning how to include these elements, and improve your ability to achieve real conservation and demonstrate that your actions made an impact. 

Instructor Biographies

Abby Hook leads efforts to use conservation action planning and the Open Standards for Conservation as frameworks to design local ecosystem recovery programs. She holds a B.S. in forest engineering, an M.S. in hydrology, and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington.

Dr. Emily Gonzales’ passion for ecological restoration is rooted in its interdisciplinary nature and the opportunity for people to engage in the reinstitution of natural processes. Her graduate research examined invasive species and endangered ecosystems on BC's coast. She also completed a certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement at SFU. Her diverse career has included international policy analysis with Environment Canada, independent consulting, and director roles with non-profit organizations. Presently, she works as a National Ecological Restoration Specialist with Parks Canada and teaches conservation and adaptive management courses at the University of Victoria.