General Project Information
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.
Our project aims to increase the public’s participation with the Hood River Forest Collaborative, and to help them identify and engage with stakeholders. We plan to do this by helping the Collaborative develop an online presence, through which they can host events, share knowledge, and engage in outreach to invite more voices to the conversation.
The Hood River Forest Collaborative discusses land management issues that affect a wide range of people who visit the Hood River National Forest. The HRFC grapples with forest management including tree thinning, road closures or opening, logging, and management of key species. There are many competing interests for management of the Hood River National Forest; balancing the local economy, recreation, conservation, and habitats (Daniels). Identifying stakeholders in a variety of ways is a key component in managing the forest as stakeholder interests change (Luyet).
Some say that we currently live in a post-truth world, where people often cannot agree on the facts. Our project could have particular challenges in this context; on social media, there is a lot of misinformation, and it can be hard to engage anonymously online. However, we should not be scared to invite new perspectives, and let people’s engagement with the facts develop into a shared truth. By listening to, and engaging with, as many perspectives as possible, the forest service’s plan can be relevant and beneficial to a greater number of people. When people cannot agree on the facts, it can help to engage, and discuss diverse interpretations of truth. In the Collaborative’s work, this could mean discussing sharing land management knowledge online to a wider audience and providing a virtual (or physical) space for discussing the facts and how they apply to the current issues being debated. We think that through greater accessibility and a bigger conversation, more people will have an opportunity to engage with what land management looks like, and this will help people grapple with what the “facts” even are.
Andrew Spaeth, 4/2/20: overall positive feedback, engagement project would be helpful to the Collaborative
Jim Proctor, 4/20/20: Suggestion to have trained facilitators involved in the Collaborative’s discussions (Oregon Humanities or Crossing Party Lines offers this training which could be undertaken by community members interested in getting more involved with the Stew Crew as facilitators.) Also suggested that we should be clear in our assessment and targeting of this engagement project. Overall positive feedback on scope of project.