The Coached Planning for Landhelp project was designed to enhance the effective implementation of research-based practices for landscape stewardship by training natural resource professionals in the delivery of a comprehensive land management curriculum that allows target audience specificity while maintaining a standardized planning format. In other words, the project combined web-based curriculum with flexible database delivery and personal on-site assistance to enhance the learning and success of clients in the field. The format is easily usable by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cooperative Extension, Soil Conservation Districts, foresters, and other private natural resource interest groups. This flexible web-based curriculum platform allows each local team of natural resource professionals to identify target audience needs using subject education modules on home site planning, soil conservation, wildlife habitat, forestry, fire protection, pest management, water quality, nutrient management, air quality, conservation cropping, prescribed fire, traditional agriculture, alternative agriculture, grazing principles, and other modules. All audience or site specific education modules were delivered following the first module (introduction to resource planning) and the completion module (writing and implementing your resource plan). Following training on curriculum use, fourteen pilot projects in Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico were initiated and supported to test the applicability of the educational approach. Follow-up support and interviews with landowners participating in the pilot programs will allowed direct evaluation of the approach and impacts at the instructor and landowner level.
The overall objective was and is to enhance effective resource stewardship of private landowners by developing a collaborative approach for multi-agency professionals to work together in delivering a site and audience specific natural resource management curriculum. This would be accomplished by refining the curriculum, conducting train-the-trainer workshops, and initiating “pilot” projects in all three states. This collaborative and cooperative education approach will build strong partnerships between natural resource professionals. This will be done by dissolving redundant education efforts, standardizing course material, reducing manpower requirements, provide significant support structure for professionals and landowners and enhancing impact-to-investment ratio for professionals. The overall effort is supported by a web-based resource that has entered into its second format evolution due to technical maintenance problems.
- The Coached Planning for Landhelp project was a collaborative concept developed by range management, wildlife, and forestry field educators across four states that was based on several research-based realities:
•Landowners need educational help to effectively manages all types of landscapes.
•Landowners who develop effective plans, usually implement better practices.
•Landowners needs a broad range of information, site specific information and local assistance in translating and applying the information into action.
•Field educators need a uniform database of information that can be configured to local needs.
•All related information and programs should lead landowners to “make a plan for their land”.
Based on these principles, the collaborators initiated an aggressive and significant task of building a new, hybrid system that combined coaching, E extension and traditional site specific needs into one systematic approach.
As soon as the concept was initiated – partners began to collaborate. This project has developed a momentum that set examples for other educational coalitions including Forestand Range.Org, Living On the Land and others.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
Develop and collate curriculum of educational modules and other materials related to land management planning into one significant source readily accessible to natural resource educators. (Completed)
•Conduct “train–the-trainer” sessions for Cooperative Extension, USDA, and other natural resource educators in Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico. (Completed)
•Cooperate with and support educators in the four-state area to organize and conduct “pilot projects where educators could utilize the curriculum with land managers. (Completed)
•Conduct on-going evaluations at both educator and land owner levels to assess the effectiveness of the curriculum and delivery approaches. (Completed)
Outreach and Publications
Over 4,100 documents and 210 web resources were made available to project educators, project clients and THE WORLD! The collaborative team generated 27 new overview and subject matter documents after reviewing over 12,000 documents available at the time of project initiation. Each participant compiled a notebook of documents that were specifically targeting their personal management needs.
1. The “Coached Planning/ LandHelp” curriculum has successfully been used to educate landowners on issues of timber management, small acreage management, soil erosion mitigation, community resource planning, drought management, range management, water quality and a number of other topics.
2.Other cooperating agencies, staff and groups have found that the combination of curriculum and delivery methods provide a flexible and dynamic platform from which to launch a variety of programs with convenience. The USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado State Forest Service, and Navajo Nation have placed their materials onto the site to make access convenient to their staff in addition to www.Landhelp.org resources.
3.Word of mouth reports concerning program satisfaction have been shared with other community members. These new exposures have resulted in a secondary demand for Coached Planning program delivery in Wyoming and Colorado. Colorado is already enrolling new project participants for the 2004 year in Salida and Pueblo. South-central Colorado land owners have expressed a willingness to pay higher fee levels to establish the program as a perennial offering by Cooperative Extension. Four rangeland monitoring field educational sessions were conducted across Colorado at the request of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service.
4.Field sessions have identified that some technology transfer requires the use of “technology translators” to parlay technical information into non-technical terms for those not comfortable with computers, web sites and GIS data. One significant example is the participation of young navajo tribal educators to interpret documents on the web and translate both lingually and technologically to elder tribal grazers who needed to create grazing allotment plans to meet tribal needs.
5.Other entities have mimicked our approach to web based field education (example: http://www.rangeandforest.org).
6.The www.Landhelp.org website originally hosting the curriculum experienced technical maintenance problems. The website was re-designed and made more user friendly at the encourage ment of users and partners. The new site is www.LandHelp.info.
7.Over 36,812 users have visited the “LandHelp” web sites and more are signing on expected after reformatting the new site.
8.Over 214 professional educators have been oriented to the site and curriculum.
9.Over 645 land owners have been offered educational programs using the curriculum.
10.Educated land owners have the potential to positively effect over 146,000 acres of landscape using the materials now available to them.
11.Project principles have made presentations at professional organizations including EDEN, National Forester and National Wildlife conventions.
Outreach education challenges facing Cooperative Extension, CSREES, and our partners grow each day while funding and manpower diminish. Although we need to reach more people, faster and better, we must not forget the inherent value of personal contact, support, coaching and education. Much education never occurs because there is no teacher there to say “open the book”.
This project started by combining a highly successful teaching delivery technique with a high-tech resource base, a collaborative multi-state team, and the ability to flex curriculum to an educator’s needs. The result have exceeded our expectations and has grown dynamically. Field educators are facing more demands with less time and support. Approaches such as this allow the maximum effect for our educational time, dollar and talent, and that’s what its all about. It has been a privilege to work with such people.
The Coached Planning for Landhelp project has made the following contributions:
- A new hybrid approach to education delivery has been established blending traditional and technological methodology that enhances client success.
- Outreach educators have broadened their contact base and learned to work with peers across subject matter field and jurisdictional lines to meet the needs of their clients.
- A significant number of educational resources and many old resources were made more readily available on a new dynamic media platform that has the potential to endure well beyond project support..
- Significant program delivery success supports the continued need for both remote and personal delivery of educational programs.