New opportunities for volunteer development abound through renewed local partnerships between TSN clusters and the Michigan Conservation Stewards Program (CSP). This Panel Discussion will include presenters from southern Michigan who have been involved with both clusters and the CSP. Panelists include cluster representatives, conservancies, agencies, and other non-profits. In Washtenaw County and Southwest Michigan, the CSP is hosted by active leaders in local clusters. The CSP features 40+ hours of ecosystem learning in on-line, field and expert-led sessions. Local conservation organizations serve as program hosts; MSU Extension provides core content in the on-line curriculum and facilitative support. Local conservation leaders, convened by the host organizations, provide CSP presentations and field expertise. This Panel Discussion will include ideas for offering a CSP volunteer training program co-hosted with a cluster and other conservation partners. Evaluation and case studies of program impacts demonstrate the value of this capacity-building initiative for conservation.
Bindu Bhakta, MSU Extension Oakland County
Bindu Bhakta will serve as Panel Moderator. She has served as an MSU Extension Educator in Oakland County, and works with many of MSUE's natural resources and water quality education programs. She is a leader in outreach program design, and an active member of the Association of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP) - a national organization devoted to the advancement of volunteer education programs in conservation and ecological restoration.
Shari Dann, MSU Department of Community Sustainability
Dr. Shari Dann will serve as panel co-moderator. She is a faculty member and Extension Specialist with MSU's Department of Community Sustainability. Along with more than three dozen conservation organizations, she worked with a large team to launch the Conservation Stewards Program in 2006. Presently, she serves as a state CSP team member and evaluator.
Monica Day, MSU Extension
Monica Day will serve as a panelist for this discussion of the Conservation Stewards Program. She is an Extension Educator with MSU Extension. Her focus is on community capacity-building and network facilitation for a variety of conservation, environment and sustainability issues.
Jason Frenzel, Huron River Watershed Council
Jason will serve as a panelist for this discussion. He has worked with numerous partners in the Ann Arbor area to convene a Conservation Stewards volunteer development program in 2015 and 2016. His ongoing role in the Huron River Watershed Council and in other work with The Stewardship Network allow him a unique window on the benefits and challenges of fostering collaborative conservation.