Coaching & Mentoring
Collaboration Learning Lab
Mentoring related to national level policies on collaboration and partnerships is an emphasis item for the NRST. Since 2006 the NRST has been engaged in an effort known as the ‘Collaboration Learning Lab,’ a concept borne out of the White House Conference for Cooperative Conservation and the subsequent Interagency Cooperative Conservation Team for Training and Development. The purpose of the Learning Lab is to build organizational capacity for collaboration and partnerships by exposing and engaging agency employees and their partners to the best practices of working in a partnership culture. One of the primary purposes of the Learning Lab was and continues to be the development of specific partnership and collaboration competencies, as developed by the ICCT workforce transition team, within participants.
The NRST and the Creeks and Communities approach was selected by the Forest Service Partnership Office as the venue for piloting the Learning Lab concept in 2006 because of their success in fostering community involvement and collaborative resource management through the use of facilitated communication and conflict resolution techniques, joint fact finding and learning while doing. This effort has since continued as a partnership between the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System and National Partnership Office. This is an opportunity for training and mentoring in the general principles and practices of collaborative problem solving as well as riparian assessment, management and monitoring. Mentoring activities typically occur during service trips and include participant shadowing of NRST support teams (with emphasis on providing one-on-one coaching in human and social dimensions), working with particular NLCS units to help them collaboratively address specific riparian issues and providing consensus building training.
During the 2006 field season, nine participants representing the FS, BLM, NRCS, FWS, California Fish and Game and the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution Facilitator Roster were selected to travel and work with the NRST. Regarding the NRST-NLCS partnership, which is in year two, three NLCS sites have been selected to participate in this collaborative mentorship: the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, the Black Rock Desert High Rock Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, and the Canyons of the Ancient National Monument. Two additional sites will be selected to begin work in 2010.