Crowd Conservation

Facilitating collaboration for conservation solutions

Nicole Reese

Age 27, United States

PROJECT: Facilitating collaboration for conservation solutions

Tell us about the work you are doing to create a wilder world.
As a facilitator and conservationist, I work to bring stakeholders and community members together to discuss conservation issues, local values, and build trust for collaboration. I also endeavor to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners by packaging the best available science into easily understandable knowledge and build capacity for collaboration. This helps managers make the most impactful decisions for conservation to protect and restore our wild places.

 

What are five (5) of your short term goals to accomplish in the next 1-2 years?
1. Build a network of researchers, practitioners, concerned citizens, businesses, and students that regularly share insights from research and experiences to promote successful collaborative conservation.
2. Facilitate at least six meetings/trainings each year for collaborative conservation.
3. As an active member of the Coalition WILD Alliance, I will continue to champion the inclusion of young people in these collaborative conversations as well as at professional conferences.
4. Share insights from local and international conferences with researchers and practitioners working in the field to promote the concept of collaboration for sustainable change.
5. Publish a peer-reviewed literature review of the benefits of collaborative conservation.

 

What are five (5) of your long term goals to accomplish in the next 5-10 years?
1. Become a leader in facilitation for conservation issues.
2. Support an international network that supports collaboration for conservation.
3. Facilitate collaboration to successfully recover an endangered species.
4. Empower communities through citizen science, volunteering, and education opportunities to connect with their local landscapes.
5. Facilitate conversations that lead to the reform of Western water laws in the USA.

 

How can others help you accomplish these goals?
Others can help me accomplish these goals by getting the word out about my desire to facilitate collaborative conservation. This will help me find facilitation opportunities to put my skills to good use. I’m also looking for opportunities to share my social science expertise as part of an interdisciplinary research team.

 

How can the public get involved with your project/work?
Anyone can get involved by joining the network online. Please reach out if you’re interested in starting a citizen science project in your community, or if there is an issue within your community that you’d like to solve through collaboration.

 

What have been some successes you have had?
I recently secured my first paid training workshop in May where I will be sharing my knowledge of facilitation for collaborative conservation. I shared the value of collaboration at several conferences last year and I am continuing those conversations with researchers, facilitators, and practitioners to start building the network. Last year, as part of my thesis research, I shared recommendations with a local nonprofit organization in New Zealand on ways they could better engage stakeholders for the conservation of the endangered Maui dolphin. This past December I initiated my own nonprofit organization Crowd Conservation to pursue my passion for collaboration.

 

What are some lessons you have learned/what would you have done differently?
I have learned that someone needs to “sell” collaboration in order to get stakeholders to be present at the table. Research and numbers alone don’t inspire people to collaborate, they need emotional connections to open the door for collaboration and a willingness to change. Scientists often struggle with being a “salesperson” for their research, and need a voice that can promote the knowledge they have to offer. I aim to be the person who encourages that emotional connection and shares knowledge with decision makers. In almost every conversation when people discuss their experience with collaboration, they mention “trust” and “relationships”. We need to build more of those connections between people.

 

Have there been any major (or minor) milestones in your work?
I received a MS in Conservation Leadership at Colorado State University last year. I incorporated Crowd Conservation in December and received my 501(c)3 status from the IRS. I received an International Association for Public Participation certification on the Fundamentals of Facilitation in February.

 

Any words of advice or wisdom? Anything else you want to tell the world?
From an astronaut’s perspective, we are all in this together. We need to work collaboratively to build sustainable transformative change for our planet.

From an astronaut’s perspective, we are all in this together.

I also endeavor to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners by packaging the best available science into easily understandable knowledge and build capacity for collaboration.

Scientists often struggle with being a “salesperson” for their research, and need a voice that can promote the knowledge they have to offer. I aim to be the person who encourages that emotional connection and shares knowledge with decision makers.