Presentation Abstract

This presentation reflects on the process that emerged when a small ENGO on the east coast of Vancouver Island experienced significant funding cuts to its programs and struggled to redefine its purpose. This changed when the Board became aware of community concerns regarding the local estuary which had been severely compromised by industry and commerce over the past century. Debate was occurring in the local media concerning plans to develop a gas station along a road that ran through the estuary; regarding a new ‘for sale’ sign on a decommissioned former sawmill site in the estuary; and ongoing seal predation on migrating salmon which had many calling for a seal cull. The Board decided to organize a symposium as a way to increase the public’s awareness of how these issues might be addressed.

The symposium brought together leading researchers and experts who provided knowledge input. It also included a process that engaged symposium participants in a visioning exercise followed by an invitation to all interested participants to ACT on the visions that had been developed. An action group formed that became an inter-organizational partnership. An inclusive strategy attracted knowledgeable local environmental leaders, researchers and government personnel representing varied disciplines. An intentional effort to reach out to the local Indigenous community further enriched and extended the impact of the ENGO. Over time, a number of critical initiatives cemented relations between the ENGO and various levels of government (local, regional, provincial, federal and Indigenous), bridging boundaries that often seemed insurmountable. The process that unfolded over the next decade can be described as an Emergent Change Process. Beginning with the awareness of a number of issues related to the estuary, the process moved through increasing awareness regarding the importance of the estuary to the formation of an Action Group. Action included strategy, engagement, and specific to the estuary, restoration and protection. The ENGO is now seen as a valued environmental partner by governments in the area and region as illustrated by the significant projects they have undertaken in recent years.

Session Title

The Application and Creation of Knowledge that Leads to Action to Restore and Protect an Ecosystem

Keywords

Community engagement, Funding restoration projects

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-292

Start Date

6-4-2018 9:15 AM

End Date

6-4-2018 9:30 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 6th, 9:15 AM Apr 6th, 9:30 AM

The community engagement process: inclusivity, integration across cultures and fostering boundary permeability

This presentation reflects on the process that emerged when a small ENGO on the east coast of Vancouver Island experienced significant funding cuts to its programs and struggled to redefine its purpose. This changed when the Board became aware of community concerns regarding the local estuary which had been severely compromised by industry and commerce over the past century. Debate was occurring in the local media concerning plans to develop a gas station along a road that ran through the estuary; regarding a new ‘for sale’ sign on a decommissioned former sawmill site in the estuary; and ongoing seal predation on migrating salmon which had many calling for a seal cull. The Board decided to organize a symposium as a way to increase the public’s awareness of how these issues might be addressed.

The symposium brought together leading researchers and experts who provided knowledge input. It also included a process that engaged symposium participants in a visioning exercise followed by an invitation to all interested participants to ACT on the visions that had been developed. An action group formed that became an inter-organizational partnership. An inclusive strategy attracted knowledgeable local environmental leaders, researchers and government personnel representing varied disciplines. An intentional effort to reach out to the local Indigenous community further enriched and extended the impact of the ENGO. Over time, a number of critical initiatives cemented relations between the ENGO and various levels of government (local, regional, provincial, federal and Indigenous), bridging boundaries that often seemed insurmountable. The process that unfolded over the next decade can be described as an Emergent Change Process. Beginning with the awareness of a number of issues related to the estuary, the process moved through increasing awareness regarding the importance of the estuary to the formation of an Action Group. Action included strategy, engagement, and specific to the estuary, restoration and protection. The ENGO is now seen as a valued environmental partner by governments in the area and region as illustrated by the significant projects they have undertaken in recent years.