EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - Making a Difference: The Role of the Modern Community Advisor
A Consultation with Volunteer Stewards - Fall 2007
The Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board (SEHAB), in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), recently completed a three-phase consultative process designed to give volunteer stewards in the Pacific Region an early opportunity to contribute to the current Departmental review of the Community Involvement Program (CIP), with a focus on the Community Advisor’s roles and responsibilities.
DFO will integrate the product of this work into the data collection phase of the review. Volunteer stewards will have other opportunities to provide input, through SEHAB, as the CIP Review process moves forward in the coming months.
SEHAB represents BC and Yukon SEP volunteers and volunteer organizations whose efforts are supported by Community Advisors and the Community Involvement Program. www.sehab.org.
CA Checklist, October/07
“Eighty percent or more of the respondents provide the following services:
strategic salmonid enhancement, capacity-building, education and outreach,
client advocacy, habitat restoration, stewardship/bio-reconnaissance and salmon stock assessment.”
In consultation with DFO’s CIP Review Working Group, SEHAB designed and distributed a suggested checklist of roles and responsibilities to all Community Advisors (CA’s), with a request that they check the services they provide, add any that are not on the checklist, and submit the completed list to SEHAB.
Twelve of eighteen CA’s responded. Eighty percent or more of the respondents provide the following services: strategic salmonid enhancement, capacity-building, education and outreach, client advocacy, habitat restoration, stewardship/bio-reconnaissance and salmon stock assessment.
Friday Forum, October 26/07
“Working in small groups, forty-three participants quickly found consensus around seven service themes:
funding, liaison, access to Department, project support, technical support, motivation and education….
During an open-ended discussion, there was a unanimous show of hands to support the resolution
that the Department’s regulatory wing needs the capacity to protect habitat.”
SEHAB then organized and hosted a public forum in Victoria for volunteer stewards to prioritize CA services, and to voice concerns and issues about the Program itself. Registrants were asked to read the results of the checklist exercise (Above) prior to the Forum, and to consider it as material for workshop ideas.
Forty-three registrants attended the two-hour Friday Forum in Victoria. Working in small groups, participants quickly found consensus around seven services: funding, liaison, access to Department, project support, technical support, motivation and education. During an open-ended discussion, there was a unanimous show of hands to support the resolution that the Department’s regulatory wing needs the capacity to protect habitat.
Online Forum, October 26th
“Thirteen of twenty-one respondents (62%) indicated that
technical support and motivation are the first essential services provided by CA’s.”
Based on the live workshop design, SEHAB placed an online activity on its website at www.sehab.org/form/. This activity gave volunteers across the province the opportunity to provide input into the review process from October 26th to November 15th.
Twenty-six British Columbians responded online, and referred to a working relationship with ten different Community Advisors. Thirteen of twenty-one respondents (62%) listed technical support and motivation as the first essential services provided by CA’s. Twelve of twenty-one respondents (57%) listed liaison, technical support and motivation as the second most essential services.
For responses to an open-ended question inviting further wisdom, there was consensus on the high caliber of service provided by CA’s, and on the importance of the Community Involvement Program to volunteers who are protecting and restoring salmon populations and habitat.
Participants in both the live and online forums emphasized the fact that neither exercise adequately captured the level of complexity inherent in the CA’s role across the Pacific Region. This complexity in turn requires that the successful CA must possess a comprehensive set of personal and professional tools to meet the demands of this profession.
SEHAB, with input from the CIP WG and live Forum participants, is committed to the following timeline:
! Following October 26th live Forum, record workshop data.
! On November 15th, record online Forum data.
! By December 30th, synthesize and distribute results to SEHAB, CIP Review WG and to live and online Forum participants.
! February/08 discuss results at SEHAB meeting.
! By February 29th, forward advisory to CIP Review WG and Rebecca Reid, Director OHEB.
For further detail, please see report: “Making a Difference”.
Don Lowen, Secretary
Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board
December 21, 2007