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Project Tips

What are some tips to get -- or keep -- your locally-led conservation project moving?

1. Build a large tent. Recruit a strong local advisory committee that represents a cross section of community interests.

2. Play fair. Identify your group decision-making process up-front.

3. Get on the same page. Establish a group mission and community vision by consensus.

4. Create allies. Get out and talk withthose who might, upon first glace, not be supportive. They can become your strongest allies if you ask about their concerns early on and address them sincerely.

5. Do a demo. A small-scale but highly visible demonstration effort will help make the larger project feel real and doable.

6. Achieve the possible. Set achievable goals, record progress, and build momentum by celebrating the small steps along the way.

7. Get on-site. See sidebar.

8. Be graphic. People respond to images that help them visualize what you're proposing -- use maps, drawings, photographs, websites, brochures, slides, video and models.

9. Anticipate challenges. Consider how the project might be impacted by the needs and concerns of various landowners and by other community priorities. Do your homework. Meet challenges with workable solutions.

10. Mobilize citizen power. Area colleges, schools and community service groups might have committed volunteers looking for projects to tackle. Organize projects to use their time well. Show your appreciation. Make it fun for them.

11. Evolve. Renew the group with new participants and local expertise as the project grows and changes.

12. Share success. Let everyone claim ownership of your idea.

13. Be passionate. You are improving the quality of life in your community and conserving natural treasures for future generations!

photo of Capital Crescent Trail

Abandoned railbed, now home of the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethsda, MD.

Get On-site

Tip #7. Get on-site. Organize events on-site to help people see, feel and touch the vision.

Here, community members from Bethesda, Maryland are led on a walk by the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail. Their trail became a reality, thanks in part to dozens of on-site walks like this one which showed neighbors and local public officials the fabulous potential the abandoned corridor held for reuse as a trail.

 
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Land and Water Conservation Fund | Conservation and Outdoor Recreation | National Trails System
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