December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities

Our emphasis on the triple bottom line means that Resourceful Communities engages in work and with partners that represent a broad range of issues – renewable energy, youth leadership development, eco-tourism, cultural preservation and more.  We recognize that some issues call for special attention because they are innovative, represent critical need, and support The Conservation Fund’s broad mission of working land protection and economic development.  Our targeted initiatives advance innovative solutions for our most economically- and socially-distressed communities.

North Carolina ranks in the top ten most food insecure states, with significant rates of poverty, farm loss and food deserts.  Two of our current initiatives, Healthy Eating, Active Living and Food and Farm, address these serious trends.  By employing our three primary program strategies of training, direct investment and networking, we are increasing low-income individuals' and families' access to healthy food and opportunities for recreation.  We also help small farmers connect with new markets, better growing strategies and hard-to-reach resources.

Through these initiatives, we have supported SNAP/ EBT access at local markets with targeted technical assistance on securing and implementing equipment and targeted outreach to low-income community members and effective vendor education to support sales to SNAP recipients.  Other projects include community gardens and trail building, training for youth and veterans in agriculture entrepreneurship, a chop-and-bag project that provides cafeteria-ready produce to rural schools and more.  Convenings and peer learning visits support awareness of trends related to these issues; connections to peer educators and other resources; and skills to replicate effective strategies that garner real community change.

In addition, we are working with agency partners to advance Community Forestry.  Many landowners and small municipalities own property that provides critical habitat; can improve water quality; offers outdoor education and passive recreation opportunities; and can generate sustainable revenue.  Through workshops and technical assistance, we are helping develop partnerships and stewardship plans to ensure the best use of forest resources.  

Resourceful Communities is also developing our Growing an Outdoor Generation initiative to help people of color and low-income communities connect with the outdoors. By connecting low-income youth of color and rural youth with environmental/outdoor education field trips, STEM-based curriculum programs, and natural-resource based professional development opportunities, we’re helping create new environmental stewards and addressing economic and social inequities. 

December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Cities

Optimization Modeling

If you’ve ever studied a crowded supermarket shelf—Which brand? Size? Price?—you know the challenge of comparison shopping. So do conservationists. From state governments to local land trusts, cash-strapped conservationists must choose which of America’s special places to save. Today, with tight budgets, those choices are tougher than ever.

But we’ve developed a tool that can help.  Our strategic conservation team, working with a resource economist, has crafted a computer model that enables conservationists to shop smart—by evaluating potential conservation projects for best dollar value.

“We all want the most bang for our buck, and conservation is no different,” says Will Allen, our director of strategic conservation. “Are you spending too much money on expensive projects, or are you getting real value? With public budgets so tight, government officials must be able to justify how they’re spending these dollars wisely.”

The new model “optimizes” conservation decisions. It works by turning raw data about conservation decisions—project costs, benefits (scored numerically), budget constraints—into a user-friendly spreadsheet yielding comparison shopping conclusions.  Using the model, for example, a government agency can quickly compare the relative value of all possible projects and then make, and justify, an informed choice.

Optimization Modeling On The Ground

On the ground, the Baltimore County Agricultural Land Preservation Program in Maryland has already used our optimization model to save 22% more farmland than it would have otherwise over the past three years. Every year since 2007, Baltimore County has applied the optimization model to choose which agricultural lands to save. Optimization has helped the county protect an additional 680 acres of high-quality agricultural land, at a cost savings of roughly $5.4 million—a return on investment over three years of more than 60 to 1. In other words, for every $1 that Baltimore County spent using the optimization model, it has gained more than $60 in conservation benefits.

Wally Lippincott, Land Preservation Administrator in Baltimore County, is pleased with the results: “After trying for years to balance price with farm quality using rank based methods, we switched to optimization. In the first three years of using optimization, Baltimore County has been able to protect an additional 680 acres for the same amount of funds that would otherwise have been spent.  This also translates into a savings of approximately $5.4 million.”

Rob Hirsch likes that the program is easy to use: “Optimization has proven easier to administer and run than our old methods.  During our rank-based days, we performed extra administrative and mathematical work in order to solicit discounts and award extra LESA points for discounting.  With optimization, this is no longer required.”



More about OPTIMIZATION

Purchase book on optimization and strategic conservation
December 31, 2014| Resourceful Communities

 

table of contents

 



Grant Writing for Beginners

Grant Writing for Beginners copy
  • Click here to view all videos from this playlist

New to grant writing and feel overwhelmed by the grant application process? This playlist breaks up the process into manageable pieces and uplifts the most important facets of grant writing for beginners. We recommend you spend time watching all of the videos included here, but feel free to go at your own pace. This playlist includes the following sections:

  • Where to Find Funding
  • Funder Fit
  • Funder Cultivation
  • Grant Writing Checklist
  • Project Description
  • Building a Budget


Download the Grant Writing Checklist here, which is referenced in the Grant Writing Checklist video and is a great tool to reference in the future!




Virtual Peer Learning Visit: McDowell Local Food Action Council
 

Creating Community Food Access

  • Click here to view the video

COVID-19 has upended our world in many ways—but communities have risen to the challenge and proven that necessity truly is the mother of innovation. Learn from McDowell Local Foods Action Council as they share their creative strategies for food access in western NC, and the many ways they continue to adapt to the ever-changing need. This information is useful for all organizations working to increase community food access.




Trails & Greenways Amid COVID-19: Highlighting Hayesville’s Success

Trails and Greenways

  • Click here to view the video

COVID-19 has forced a lot of us indoors, but has also renewed interest in getting outside and enjoying some more isolated outdoor activities. For any organizations who have any interest in building a local trail or using cultural resources as a driver of health and economic development, we present to you the inspiration you need to kick it into gear: the story of Hayesville, NC, as told by Rob Tiger of Clay County Revitalization Association (CCRA)!

This 30-min virtual Peer Learning Visit focuses specifically on the building of Jackrabbit Trail and the partnerships that made it happen. This recording is suitable for any organization that is interested in learning more about the process of getting started with trail-building; it’s full of wisdom from Rob Tiger, who has been part of Hayesville’s renaissance from the start. We hope you are as inspired by their work as we are.

December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Cities
By the Numbers:
Strategic Conservation Planning has performed green infrastructure activities in close to 40 states.

Strategic Conservation Planning has completed greenspace plans for three of the largest metropolitan areas in the country.
The Conservation Fund works across America to support healthy, vibrant cities and more equitable and livable neighborhoods. We start by listening, working with people, local partners, and civic leaders to implement their visions. Our balanced approach to nature and our built environment is helping to revitalize neighborhoods, unite communities, and position cities to thrive for every resident.



December 31, 2014| Cities

Achieving environmental and economic goals often requires solving complex problems. That’s why creating practical approaches that balance natural systems with the built environment is essential for livable communities. Our team thinks big and offers solutions that government leaders, conservationists, and others need to create systemic and lasting environmental solutions in communities across the country. Strategic conservation makes economic sense—establishing an environmental legacy for future generations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

We bring strategic conservation expertise to government leaders, industries and communities across the country to achieve the multiple benefits from investing in clean air, clean water, habitat, climate resilience and adaptation, and community livability. We help communities identify their conservation priorities and goals, and we recommend high-impact and cost-effective implementation strategies that help build the capacity of communities to fulfill their conservation visions.

Through state-of-the-art geospatial mapping, and valuing the economic benefit of ecosystem services, we strategically evaluate areas for land protection and stewardship as well as identify opportunities to integrate planning for green and gray infrastructure.

We provide custom tailored tools to help solve complex planning problems:

  • Green infrastructure networks / landscape design
  • Regional conservation visions
  • Ecosystem service valuation
  • Rapid open space assessments
  • Strategic conservation guidance
  • Implementation / acquisition targeting
  • GIS decision support tools and map services
  • Optimization models for cost effective decision making
  • Structured decision tools using the Logic Scoring of Preference method
December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Cities
December 31, 2014| Programs
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, plaga blandit mara utrum mara comis ne, et lobortis exerci humo nisl praesent brevitas et. Aliquip qui verto pertineo eum jumentum sudo elit luptatum. Plaga consequat augue plaga in velit eu pagus enim euismod incassum esse. Enim loquor autem vero te, in et saepius ventosus typicus. Minim, wisi consectetuer wisi adipiscing nimis dolor epulae defui, adsum defui venio in iaceo.
December 31, 2014| Cities
December 31, 2014| Programs
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December 31, 2014| Cities

What Is Green Infrastructure?

Definition: A strategically planned and managed network of natural lands, working landscapes, and other open spaces that conserves ecosystem values and functions and provides associated benefits to human populations. (Source: Benedict & McMahon 2006)

The Conservation Fund is the only conservation organization to design green infrastructure plans in three of the country’s largest metro areas: Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. We also have worked in metro areas that understand the strategic advantage to having an interconnected network of greenspaces and trails for quality life, such as Nashville, Indianapolis, and Kansas City. We also think big, working with whole regions and even completing the nation’s largest green infrastructure plan, across 13 states.

 

Green Infrastructure Case Studies

  1. Maryland’s Green Infrastructure Assessment and GreenPrint Program
  2. Florida’s Ecological Network
  3. Metro Greenways: Seven-County Twin Cities Region, Minnesota
  4. Saginaw Bay Greenways Collaborative, Michigan
  5. Conservation Resource Alliance’s Wild Link and River Care Programs, Northwest Lower Michigan
  6. Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan Pima County, Arizona
  7. Mountains to Sound Greenway: Seattle to the Cascades
  8. The BioMap Project, Massachusetts
  9. Baltimore County Forest Sustainability Project
  10. Kansas City Green Infrastructure Case Study
  11. 'Nashville: Naturally' Case Study

 

Green Infrastructure Webinar Series


The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network, with support from the U.S. Forest Service, hosted a series of free webinars on cutting-edge topics on green infrastructure planning initiatives and applications.

WEBINAR #3 ARCHIVE: Military Implementation Of Green Infrastructure
Representatives from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and U.S. Marine Corps discussed how green infrastructure is being used on their installations to support broader sustainability goals.
 

WEBINAR #2 ARCHIVE: International Applications of Green Infrastructure
This webinar highlighted the latest in how green infrastructure is being implemented in the European Union and in South America from leading practitioners!


WEBINAR #1 ARCHIVE: Using Green Infrastructure to Prevent Disease Vectors
This webinar explored how Green Infrastructure contributes to human health through the prevention of transmission of disease vectors through ecosystem management and land use strategies.


OTHER GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE RESOURCES