“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” -African Proverb
A healthy forest or watershed provides habitat, energy and water to the mammals, reptiles and birds alike in that particular geographic region. “Healthy” is relative to perspective and dependent on cooperation. While competition is important, in a forest or watershed, as well as in an economy or community, cooperation and longevity determine the success or health of that forest, watershed, economy or community in and over time.
I often think of that African proverb when I think of creating a positive impact on the world. Sometimes I want to just go fast and I slip into that notion that “if I want it done right I have to do it myself” but usually after I breathe a bit longer my anxiety goes away and I remember that I can’t do it alone; I need other perspectives. I actually do want to learn with other people and their company is enjoyable.
Reflecting on the proverb reminds me that I want to go far. I believe our culture wants to go far and that effort is seen by cooperation, collaboration and all the drama in the media. We’re all still trying to figure out how we actually go together and where the boundaries of “far” are.
We have to do it together. We have to learn and work and compromise together. The statement is simple but the meaning is profound. Together is better because the outcomes of learning and overcoming challenges are whole. Together is better because all parts are represented and included and the impact of inclusion reaches into the future.
The Sierra Institute advances health of environment and communities by facilitating dialogues, increasing public involvement in policy development and getting people -both youth and adults- outside on landscapes. We work to build capacity and resiliency of rural communities and young stewards so they can fully participate in the natural resource decisions that affect them. Our current projects allow us to work with many people throughout our county, region, state and at a national level.
SCALE, Sierra to California All Lands Enhancement, meetings are becoming an informative, and may I say cool, gathering to attend. Why? Because agencies, stakeholders in collaborative groups and individuals realize they are not alone in their challenges to natural resource management and there are tangible strategies to overcome the most common barriers. Feel like you are alone when working with the U.S. Forest Service? Read the Key Issues identified by Collaborative Groups. Interested in Local Contracting or how “local” is defined by the USFS? Our SCALE team organizes a lot of information and has it available for you here so you too can be informed and go far.
You’ve heard of a watershed but have you heard of a fireshed? Yes, a fireshed. I define it as a geographic region where fire on the landscape exists or could exist. The edges or boundaries of a fireshed would be visible by a dramatic shift in water, vegetation or ecology. But did you know that a fireshed has social and cultural boundaries too? Check out this example: Scroll down to see how Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition addresses their ecological and social concerns while also defining their fireshed. Closer to home, the South Lassen Watershed Group is identifying the fireshed boundaries in relation to the watersheds of Mill and Deer Creeks. Stay tuned for more updates from the South Lassen Watershed Group in early 2018.
This week #Giving Tuesday is highlighting Healthy Forests and Watersheds because our communities and cultures are dependent on the services they provide.
All donations to our #Giving Tuesday campaign will benefit our Developing Young Stewards programs. When you donate to our organization you agree that youth and rural communities matter, a stewardship ethic will keep our forests and watersheds healthy and collaboration is effective in achieving management goals.
Thank you for your support.