Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
ServiceBiologists learn about public participation tools
Midwest Region, June 25, 2013
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Dr. Paul McKenzie explores a new world of Alpine plants during a training trip to Colorado.
Dr. Paul McKenzie explores a new world of Alpine plants during a training trip to Colorado. - Photo Credit: jledwin (USFWS)
Alpine wonders
Alpine wonders - Photo Credit: jledwin (USFWS)
Blue marvel
Blue marvel - Photo Credit: jledwin (USFWS)

Paul McKenzie and Jane Ledwin from the Columbia, Missouri, Field Office traveled to Denver to learn of additional tools to engage the public in our conservation mission. They participated in a course titled "Citizen Participation by Objectives." This course is a follow up to building informed consent, and covers specific public involvement tools that can be strategically used to forward our mission. With increasing public interest in both conservation issues and decision making, it is important to provide meaningful, constructive, opportunities for collaboration. Coincidentally, we met some Missouri colleagues who were taking the course to apply toward the issue of chronic wasting disease.


Paul and Jane learned a great deal about how to craft the most effective input vehicles to provide positive, productive and structured opportunities to interact with the public. They also learned strategies to avoid or minimize events that lead to combative, unproductive, painful confrontations that can derail successful problem solving.

The course includes tools to enable a detailed, comprehensive analysis of individual project/issues, interests groups, regulators, etc., and various options and communication mechanisms to best address their need for input and consent, and managers need to move forward with their mission. Chronic wasting disease is only one of the many issues facing conservation professionals.

Paul and Jane returned with a wealth of information, insights and inspiration to employ these new tools in our work on big river restoration, endangered species recovery, developing partnerships for conservation, and outreaching to the public. We recommend these tools become a standard part of the Service tool box.

Contact Info: Jane Ledwin, (573) 234-2132 Ext. 109, jane_ledwin@fws.gov
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