Launching a planning process
March 19, 2019
As you can read about here, the Bay Area Open Space Council has turned the corner on its path to stability. This month we are launching an 8-month process to develop a Vision, Strategy, and Implementation Plan to set the future direction for the organization’s next chapter and lay the foundation for a relevant and sustainable organization. We want to be open about our goals, the process, and who is involved.
For almost thirty years, the Bay Area Open Space Council has provided a home for those dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of the Bay Area’s natural and working landscapes, water and outdoor recreation. It has provided science and information to guide our work, connections and collaboration to expand conservation funding, and kinship among those who care for our land and water. As the Council noted in its letter to our members in December, “the Open Space Council is essential to the Bay Area conservation community, and therefore indirectly to all 7.5 million people living in these ten counties who benefit from breathing clean air, drinking clean water, and living near 1.4 million acres of natural lands.”
Much has changed in the past thirty years – we are wired and connected in ways we couldn’t have envisioned in 1990 and the Bay Area Open Space Council now needs to evolve to meet the needs of 21st century land and water stewards. The programs and services the Council has provided have not proven to be sustainable and in the past year, the Council has struggled financially and considered closing its doors, believing that it may have served its purpose. Generous donations by several conservation organizations, as well as leadership from many around the Bay Area, have provided the opportunity to revisit the purpose and direction of the Council.
The goals of this planning process are to:
- Imagine a new future for the Bay Area Open Space Council. Build it from the ground up to address what is needed today and in the next 20 years.
- Involve the community. Solicit input from the people who have been involved and others who haven’t been in order to strengthen the quality of the outcomes and to create buy-in.
- Ensure the feasibility of the plan and sustainability of the organization. The organization needs to be grounded in a business model that is achievable, realistic, and sustainable.
The Board has generally agreed to rebuild the organization guided by the following principles about the work of the land and water conservation community:
- We need to steward the land and we include protection, acquisition, preservation, working lands, stewardship, maintenance, and restoration.
- All lands need to be stewarded and we include people working on private, public, urban, and rural lands.
- Everyone can steward the land and we include different perspectives, rich, poor, urban, rural, all ages, all abilities, environmental justice, Native Americans, immigrant communities, and others in the development of the organization’s strategy.
- We want to engage, not just educate, the public in taking care of our lands and water. We want to be in conversation and in collaboration with stakeholders.
The desired outcomes of the planning process are:
- A strategic plan with mission, vision, values, goals, strategies, programs, and projects
- A business plan that identifies revenue model and projected expenses for first three years
- General understanding within the BAOSC community about what the organization is and is not
Planning Committee and Feasibility Working Group
The Planning Committee and Feasibility Working Group will be established in March 2019 and consist of Board and Advisory Council members, and representatives from a variety of Bay Area organizations engaged in stewardship, land conservation, working lands, recreation, and outdoor access to underserved communities. The role of the Planning Committee is to provide direction to the Project Team throughout the process. A subcommittee of the Planning Committee – the Feasibility Working Group (FWG) will be responsible for providing high-level input into the financial and operational scenarios and the final financial and operational plan included in the Vision and Implementation Plan.
The members of the Planning Committee include:
- Andrea Mackenzie, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
- Brendan Moriarty, Trust for Public Land
- Erich Pfuehler, East Bay Regional Park District
- Jasmine Westbrook, Solano Land Trust
- Karen Buhr, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts
- Kim Moore Bailey, Youth Outside
- Lorelle Ross, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
- Max Korten, Marin County Parks and Open Space District
- Meredith Hendricks, Save Mount Diablo
- Noelle Thurlow, Peninsula Open Space Trust
- Rosemary Cameron, EBRPD retired, Save the Redwoods League Board
- Sharon Farrell, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
- Shelana DeSilva, Save the Redwoods League
- Tim Ramirez, San Francisco Water, Power and Sewer
- Yakuta Poonawalla, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
There will be four meetings of the Planning Committee throughout the planning process: May, June, September, and October.
The Board of Directors will make decisions based on the Planning Committee’s recommendations.
- Our project director is Annie Burke, interim Executive Director of the BAOSC and principal of Annie Burke Consulting. She will be the project leader and set its direction. She will coordinate the Planning Committee, Board, and Advisory Council.
- Our project manager is Tina Stott, principal of Stott Planning Associates. She will be responsible for the day-to-day work of the project including developing agendas, writing memos and reports, and coordinating logistics.
- Our meeting facilitator is Laura Rodriguez of Youth Outside. She will help plan and organize the Planning Committee meetings and serve as meeting facilitator.
- March – April: Data collection including online survey and stakeholder interviews
- July – August: Community input on potential strategic directions
- September: Determine vision, strategies, and business plan
- October 2019: Finalize the Vision, Strategy & Implementation Plan
Four members have stepped up to provide financial support for this important planning process. We thank Marin County Parks and Open Space District, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, and Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District for their leadership and support.
Please contact Annie Burke at [email protected]