Below is summary information on ENVS 295 engagement projects; click on any title for fuller information.
Project partner: Sustainable Northwest
Sustainable Northwest, over the past twenty six years, has been successful in managing natural resources in what they call the “radical middle” of the economy, environment, and community. The goal of our project is to connect Sustainable Northwest with students through a workshop —using the organization as an academic resource while creating two-way dialogue between different generations from different parts of Oregon. Specifically, we wish to connect the organization with we would seek to include older high school students, undergraduate students, and graduate students with an interest in natural resource management issues. Throughout the course of the workshop, we hope to have Sustainable Northwest share the methods in which they have exercised environmental engagement in the natural resource sector — going into detail about the intricacies of their projects.
Project partner: Healthy Democracy
Our project is an extension of Healthy Democracy’s Community Oregon program. This program makes efforts to bridge the divide between rural and urban Oregonians, working with community leaders to have a lasting and effective impact. Our project builds on that by using Zoom to host an event that highlights the experiences of Oregonians with different experiences surrounding logging in Oregon. The goal of our project is to have an event that increases engagement and overall understanding of different experiences surrounding logging and to create a method for engagement that can be used to solve other issues that involve participants throughout the state.
Project partner: Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Our main goal in our partnership with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission is to assist in creating a regularly occurring forum that allows for a productive conversation towards the betterment of salmon populations in the Columbia River Drainage Basin. CRITFC serves to protect the rights of the native Yakama, Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Warm Springs tribes, and salmon have always been an integral part of tribal culture, as they provide wealth, food, and a way of life. Unfortunately, salmon populations in the Columbia have declined for several reasons since the 1800s and have only recently started to slightly rebound. One reason has remained at the forefront of the salmon debate, which is the issue of dams, as they impede salmon migration resulting in declining numbers as well as habitat degradation. It is incredibly important that this conversation be among CRITFC, stakeholders with opposing interests, and also the general public in order to achieve a recovered salmon population.
Project partner: PCUN
Our engagement project is a language exchange initiative. Our program would offer basic Spanish language instruction to farm owners and other stakeholders who would benefit, while simultaneously providing English language instruction and assistance to farmworkers, many of whom are native Spanish speakers from immigration backgrounds who may lack the resources to pursue English language education. At the core of engagement is communication, which is often obstructed by barriers in language comprehension. By facilitating instruction in both Spanish and English language proficiency for relevant stakeholders, and dialogue between these groups, including cultural events and themed discussions, our project could hopefully help facilitate communication between parties that may come into conflict. This would give farm owners increased understanding and thus empathy of their employees, and giving farmworkers an increased ability to communicate their needs.
Project partner: Green Empowerment
Our collaborative project with Green Empowerment aims to spread awareness about the organization to Portland communities and gain local support. The proposed project consists of a video sharing stories and perspectives from people involved with Green Empowerment; beneficiaries, volunteers, and members of the board of directors.
To complete the project, we would continue a partnership with Green Empowerment so that students at Lewis & Clark would play a primary role by being the ones who would conduct the interviews with each player in the organization, and would compose the videos for Green Empowerment.
Our goals for the project were developed in accordance with the values which Green Empowerment cares deeply about. We aimed to incorporate partnership, engagement, capacity building, and impact expansion to the various elements in our project in order to maximize the connection and demonstrate our understanding of our potential partnership.
To date, we have not been able to form an official partnership with Green Empowerment because of unforeseen circumstances regarding COVID-19. We are hoping this project will be carried out in the future when this partnership can be secured.
Project partner: Hood River Forest Collaborative
Our proposed project with the Hood River Forest Collaborative aims to increase the group’s presence in the community and allow more stakeholders to be heard. Currently, the Collaborative is composed of a small subset of representatives from industry and environmental groups, but we see potential to incorporate other stakeholders into land management discussions. We hope to do this by utilizing social media to create new spaces for interaction online, and eventually in person through public speaker events. The goal is to identify new stakeholders to provide input on discussions and create better and more civil discussion among all members, as well as make participation more accessible than it is currently.
Project partner: Oregon Humanities Conversation Project
To wrap up our semester in ENVS 295, our team has created an engagement project proposal in collaboration with Oregon Humanities. For our theoretical project, we would implement our own virtual Conversation Project surrounding how our personal connections to land and the biophysical world influence what lands we choose to protect and manage, who we believe should hold the responsibility of protecting lands, and how we protect and manage lands. This Conversation Project would take place in the Portland metropolitan area, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon. Thus, conversations would be virtual to facilitate engagement across distances. The main goals of these conversations are to inspire participants to broaden their own opinions regarding land management and to inspire participants to take further action on the subject. After the initial conversations, we would implement a series of surveys for participants to fill out over six months, which would measure the long-term impacts of dialogical engagement. We would analyze the data gathered by the survey to understand how people think differently depending on the region in which they live.
Project partner: Crossing Party Lines
Over the past semester, we have been working on an engagement deep-dive to better understand practices of effective engagement and action. We explored the three different constituents of effective engagement – what, who, and how – so that we could move forward with our partner organization Crossing Party Lines (CPL) and apply what we have learned in practice with them. Our proposed engagement project will bring together Portland youth across diverse backgrounds to take part in a modified CPL moderator training focusing on “talking & listening environmental politics.” After the 4-week moderator training is completed, the youth would host a CPL style meetup about climate change “fact-checking” in our post-truth world. We are currently in contact with Lisa Swallow, the co-founder of CPL who is completely on board with the proposed project and is ready to pick it up with future ENVS 295 students.
Project partner: Portland Harbor Community Coalition
As students of Lewis and Clark College, specifically in the Environmental Studies program, it is imperative that we learn, and practice, successful engagement with a diverse range of individuals and parties in our community and beyond. In actively doing so this semester, we have officially begun creating partnerships with organizations in the Northwest Oregon region that represent/advocate for different voices on various environmental issues. This includes the Portland Harbor Community Coalition (PHCC), a group actively working to represent minorities and at-risk individuals in the fight to clean up and restore the Portland Harbor Superfund Site (Superfund sites are an environmental issue that shows how closely intertwined issues of pollution are with racial and economic inequality. People of color and low-income folk are often the most impacted by Superfund sites). This organization is one whose main focus is outreach and advocacy for marginalized community members. Their biggest strengths, and weaknesses, however, lie in the ways in which they are able to communicate with and involve a diverse community. While PHCC has created and maintained many partnerships, there are still certain demographics they are working to reach. Thus, through brainstorming collaboration opportunities between PHCC and Lewis and Clark students, there seems to be opportunity for a wider range of individuals to be reached through up-to-date technological platforms such as Instagram.
Project partner: Oregon Farm Bureau
Our project with our partner organization, the Oregon Farm Bureau, aims to open up a conversation and make room for feedback in regards to Oregon's divisive cap and trade legislation. The stakeholders include the OFB, which is meant to represent Oregon farmers, and Oregon’s legislative body in support of cap and trade. The relationship between the two parties is made more complicated as Governor Kate Brown, who passed cap and trade by executive order, was elected entirely by urban counties. The OFB’s main grievance is that cap and trade is that it does not allow farms to offset their carbon emissions by doing other things, like having solar panels. By facilitating discussion between Oregon farmers and legislative members, we hope to find a legislative middle ground that is still true to the aims of cap and trade and is agreeable to farmers.