Advancing Trail Stewardship: Developing Sustainable Volunteer Programs

A Core Track Presentation

This workshop focuses on practical ways for outdoor stewardship organizations and agencies to grow and expand the volunteer stewardship sector with greater organizational reliability and consistency across volunteer programs and in technical skill practices.

by Ann Baker Easley, Executive Director, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Dean Winstanley, Director of Statewide Stewardship, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Tom Mullin, Associate Professor, University of Southern Maine


The need for increased public engagement in trail stewardship is not a new challenge. Today, given the magnitude of increased outdoor recreation, over-use and damage of outdoor resources, stagnant or declining land management budgets, and limited skilled volunteer capacity, we need new approaches and practices to ensure we have skilled and sustained volunteer resources in place to meet our 21st century trail stewardship needs. This workshop focuses on practical ways for outdoor stewardship organizations and agencies to grow and expand the volunteer stewardship sector with greater organizational reliability and consistency across volunteer programs and in technical skill practices.

Hands-on best practices for volunteer management, along with tools and guides for growing and sustaining successful volunteer programs, will be provided. The workshop will conclude with a robust discussion on new volunteer program models to more effectively reach untapped populations, such as using volunteer stipends proven successful in promoting inclusion, efficiency and effectiveness.

Featured will be a case study of the Maine Youth Trail Stewardship Coalition on their success and challenges for engaging young adults in the stewardship of trails.

 

About the Authors

Ann Baker Easley has been the Executive Director of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) since 2007. Ann, a Colorado native, helps thousands who share her love for the outdoors get involved in outdoor stewardship volunteer efforts across Colorado through VOC. Over the past 23 years, she has led numerous environmental, volunteer, and youth-development oriented nonprofit organizations, with a focus on strengthening their programs and helping them grow to new levels. During that time, she founded or helped start 7 different youth and civilian service corps programs, both in Colorado and nationally. Prior to VOC, she founded the Colorado Youth Corps Association where she served as its Executive Director for 11 years.

At VOC, she is focused on recruiting a new generation of outdoor volunteers and leaders, and expanding VOC’s programs to pioneer a new era of outdoor stewardship. Baker Easley presently serves on the Board of Directors of Conservation Legacy, is a member of the Colorado Non-Profit Association’s Leadership Advisory Committee and was recognized by the Denver Business Journal as one of Denver’s 2017 Thought Leaders. She graduated from Colorado State University with a dual major in Psychology and Social Work and earned a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Dean Winstanley joined Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) as the Director of Statewide Stewardship in June 2013, bringing significant and relevant experience as a public land manager. He served as the Director of the Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation from 2007 through 2011. Dean currently oversees VOC’s 70 annual public volunteer stewardship projects around the state. Additionally he works to enhance collective statewide volunteer stewardship capacity and collaboration through his work with VOC’s Outdoor Stewardship Institute, field office program and leadership role with the Colorado Outdoor Stewardship Coalition.

Dean is a graduate of Colorado College and completed the Rocky Mountain Leadership Program through the University of Colorado-Denver’s Graduate School of Public Affairs. He has authored a best-selling travel book, The Colorado Guide, currently in its 6th edition.

Tom Mullin is an Associate Professor of Parks and Forest Resource at Unity College and an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Southern Maine's Recreation and Leisure Studies program. He is also on the board of directors of the National Association for Interpretation, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Waldo County Trails Coaltion and on the Stewardship Council of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

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