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Together We Can Do More

Posted November 11, 2018 by LSC

If you work or volunteer in the non-profit sector in Alberta, or even if you’ve attended a conference or networking event recently, you’ve heard how important collaboration is in a time when more and more groups are competing to secure limited funding, stay relevant and have a real impact. Keep reading to learn how several non-profit organizations are using the power of collaboration, and thinking outside the box, to further their collective missions. You’ll be inspired to do the same!

Learning Through Experience

The Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area consists of 4,800 acres of rolling foothills land that was donated by Ann and Sandy Cross for the protection of wildlife habitat and conservation education. Inside Education was founded in 1985 with the mission of helping teachers and students to better understand the science, technology and issues related to our environment and natural resources. These two organizations have come together to combine their expertise and strengths in a complimentary, creative and collective way.

Inside Education is bringing their programming expertise and ASCC is providing the beautiful natural backdrop for a unique learning experience intended to teach students how to be engaged and responsible environmental stewards.

“By combining our expertise, and utilizing a landscape level approach, we can address many environmental topics that are a part of Alberta’s education curriculum in a unique and experiential way,” explains Kathryn Wagner, Program Director with Inside Education.
Inside Education plans to lead ongoing education classes within the ASCCA area to teach students about and give them a hands-on appreciation for sustainable agriculture practices.

“Inside Education is a well-known and respected education organization, and the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area has a rich history of conservation practices and education,” offers shares Grey Shyba, CEO at ASCCA. “Bringing our two organizations together provides a great opportunity to enhance educational programming and encourage people to treat the landscape as a community and not just a commodity.”

Growing a Network

Land Stewardship Centre (LSC) is also no stranger to thinking outside the box when it comes to collaboration. In 2015, recognizing a natural alignment between their respective visions and missions, a natural cross over among their respective audiences, and a desire to utilize resources more efficiently, LSC and Nature Alberta entered into a shared-services agreement. Working together in effective and creative ways has shown to be a very productive approach to delivering consistent and stable support to the volunteer natural history organizations and stewardship groups that these organizations serve.

The success that LSC and Nature Alberta have had working together has resulted in more organizations seeking to collaborate, share resources and expand their impact. Through similar arrangements, LSC is now providing executive oversight to the Beaver Hills Biosphere (a recently designated UNESCO site), and serves as the secretariat for the Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Network (a multidisciplinary group of experts working to build the knowledge required to assist with the implementation of an ecosystem services approach in Alberta).

Investing in Each Other

Think of collaborations as an investment in proactive relationships that help reduce overhead costs, strengthen grant applications, provide more integrated services and deliver more effective programs, which ultimately increases the efficiency and impact of the organizations involved.

That said, the challenge with starting a collaboration can often lay in finding the time to explore potential opportunities, identifying shared goals and “the right fit”, and then moving from the idea stage to on-the-ground action.

“The best thing anyone can do is pick up the phone, start sharing ideas and look for places to add value,” suggests Kathryn.

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