Fostering Community-Ecologist Partnerships
Overview: Research and Education for Environmental Justice
One of the Environmental Justice (EJ) Section’s goals is to promote and support community-ecologist partnerships. Community-based, participatory ecological research and education may contribute to EJ by:
- Generating knowledge to inform environmental stewardship efforts and/or policy decisions that have implications for community health and livelihoods, and
- Enhancing community capacity to address environmental issues that impact quality of life.
To foster community-ecologist partnerships, the EJ section is collaborating with community-based organizations to:
1. Maintain an annotated guide to resources on community-ecologist partnerships. Visit our Resources for Fostering Community-Ecologist Partnerships page for descriptions and links.
2. Share, learn from, and support community-led EJ work that includes research and education partnerships with ecologists. We hope to create “practitioner profiles” or “case studies” of projects in which community leaders and ecologists worked together to build ecological knowledge and enhance community well-being. These profiles will be featured on the EJ section website with accompanying photos, videos, and other material sharing the stories of these collaborations. Learn more about the Practitioner Profile Project with this handout, distributed at our Special Session at ESA 2012 (scroll down to Special Session #22).
3. Form a community of practice (CoP) dedicated to supporting and enhancing community-ecologist partnerships for EJ. We are currently considering: structures and technologies for ongoing communication, as well as potential functions and activities of a CoP
4. Develop new resources to provide guidance to community organizations and ecologists seeking to collaborate. Potential formats include: a guidebook or summary of best practices, and/or a collection of multimedia practice stories.
We are currently planning a workshop with MN-based community organizations for August 9, 2013 in Minneapolis, MN (following ESA’s Annual Meeting from August 4-9) to discuss how to move forward on the goals listed above. Learn more about the workshop’s goals and approach of sharing and learning from practice stories here.
We also hope to work with other EJ organizations to gather stories of community-ecologist partnerships, input on best practices, and suggestions for the community of practice and needed resources.
- Read a list of issues and challenges in community-based ecological research, generated by participants in our Special Session at ESA 2012 (scroll down to Special Session #22). We are currently working with this list to develop appropriate resources for community organizations and ecologists seeking to collaborate.
We are seeking input from a broad range community leaders and ecologists in our efforts to support community-ecologist partnerships — so please contact us if you’d like to be involved! Below are some ways you can help; we’re also happy to work with you to find a “niche” in this project.
- Contribute your ideas about a community of practice and/or other resources that would provide useful guidance and support for community organizations and ecologists seeking to collaborate.
- Share a resource on community-ecologist partnerships and participatory research for the Resources page we are currently assembling.
- Volunteer to be interviewed about a project you worked on as an ecologist and/or community-based partner as part of the Practitioner Profile Project.
- Recommend other ecologists and/or community partners who have stories of community-ecologist collaborations to share.
- Volunteer to assist with transcription and/or editing of the interviews into profiles / case studies.