Member Spotlight: Nicole Reese
What do conservation and IAP2 P2 practices have in common? Nicole Reese!
Nicole recently completed her Master’s Degree in Conservation Leadership at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado where she focused her research on stakeholder engagement, collaborative processes, and public participation in science. With as few as 55 adult individuals remaining, New Zealand’s endemic Maui’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) is critically endangered. Nicole traveled to New Zealand to conduct research concerning the Māui Dolphin Research Advisory Group where she recommended strategies to inform and engage stakeholders in protection efforts.
Nicole attended IAP2 Foundations in Public Participation at the recent Skills Symposium in San Diego where she saw first-hand how P2 can support science-based efforts. “In science, we do facilitation as related to conservation, but the framework was developed from the conservation research world. I always felt like there were gaps, and the Foundations course really filled them in!”
Nicole was “blown away” by the three IAP2 Pillars, the Core Values, Ethics, and Spectrum, which gave her a framework to use that’s based on a much broader practice base than just conservation.
“This was a very different perspective for me. I spent most of my time outside of class talking with people, and it was great to hear their experiences and perspectives. I was really impressed by a woman from a construction company who described their outreach to the public and how they work with the communities to engage them in the process that would impact them.
“It was great to learn about the P2 techniques and see how I can use them with stakeholders in conservation. It really validated my sense that we need to do more, and gave me the tools that I need to carry my work forward. I learned so much in those five days!”
She especially enjoyed the Big Hairy Problem event. “I thought it was fantastic. It was very energetic. We were really getting into the swing of things when we had to end it, and it felt like people really wanted to continue. It was a real life example of something happening right now, and it felt good to contribute.”
Nicole recently formed the Colorado-based nonprofit Crowd Conservation to facilitate collaboration for conservation solutions, and has signed up for the Mentorship Program to continue to build her knowledge on how to apply P2 principles to her work in engaging communities in conservation.
“I joined IAP2 USA while at the Symposium, and am really impressed with the organization and the training I received. Hearing about the mentorship program and wanting to be a part of it, I applied. Since I’m new to facilitation, I was excited to hear about the opportunity to get a mentor to have someone to bounce ideas off of. To be able to tap into their seasoned perspective and knowledge is something I’ve been actively looking for. I thought it was really great this organization already had a way to do that.”
Nicole is looking forward to the networking opportunities that come from being part of IAP2 USA, and is excited to share the wealth of knowledge she gained from the Symposium with the people who are trying to make change happen within their communities. “I really want to help promote IAP2 to help the organization share their knowledge with different groups.”
“In the conservation research realm there are a variety of natural resources fields such as wildlife biology, rangeland ecology, and marine ecosystems. Each specialty area operates as a silo, and there’s not of communication between disciplines. The IAP2 framework gives us an opportunity to share knowledge between groups doing similar things. We can learn a lot from each other.”
At its inception, Nicole sees Crowd Conversation as having a national focus, but she hopes to make it international. Her vision is to create a network of many different organizations and stakeholder groups to share success stories and lessons learned in collaboration for positive outcomes in conservation. She hopes to facilitate that collaboration and support projects that bring people together to solve environmental problems.
“I really liked how Barbara described ‘Be the guardian of the process.’ That really struck a chord with me. One thing I hear over and over in research on conservation collaboration is that it’s all about trust and relationships. That’s something science isn’t prepared to do, and is what I hope to bring to the table.”
If you are interested in Nicole’s efforts, reach out! She would be thrilled to have conversations with IAP2 practitioners about best practices and lessons learned for engaging communities and stakeholders that she can apply to conservation and natural resource issues.