Last October the TELE team had the pleasure of hosting the Workshop for the Effective Engagement of Women Woodland Owners at the Edith Macy Conference Center in New York. This workshop was supported by the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry and the Women Owning Woodlands Network (WOWnet), and was co-developed with a host of natural resources professionals and academics from across the country.
The workshop brought together a group of leaders in women landowner engagement and programming, as well as many eager to begin this work. Over three days we dug into the research about women landowners and worked through strategies, challenges, and opportunities for program development.
Our conversations led to a robust list of goals for increasing the capacity around these efforts and we are now working with our collaborators to achieve these goals. In November we launched an online forum through Google Groups where professionals can tap into the collective knowledge of this network (to join, send a request to email@example.com). We are also working with the Forest Stewards Guild to develop a suite of resources to help folks create and sustain these programs. And we recently hosted our first webinar showcasing lessons learned from established women-focused landowner programs and methods for strengthening program evaluation. (Resources, webinar recordings, and more will be accessible through the Google Group.)
Perhaps most importantly, we are spreading the word to build support for developing landowner programming that is supportive of underserved audiences. At the Society of American Foresters (SAF) convention last November, we gave a presentation on the “why and how” of creating women-focused landowner programming. This year, we will be co-presenting at the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals (ANREP)* Conference in May with Angie Gupta, University of Minnesota Extension Forestry Educator and Coordinator of the Rochester Chapter of the Minnesota Women’s Woodland Network. We will also be discussing this work at the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) Small-Scale Forestry Conference and the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, both in June.
We are excited about the momentum behind this work and look forward to the growth of this network of dedicated professionals. If you would like to connect, please join our Google Group by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. And please come talk with us if you’re going to be at any of these meetings.
*If you will be at ANREP, we are planning to host a meet-up on Tuesday, May 1, email Cassidy.email@example.com for more details. Please reach out if you’d like to connect at IUFRO or ISSRM also!