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Three More States Launch Relevancy Efforts
Virginia, Ohio, and Missouri have all begun work with the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) and other partners to engage with broader constituencies to increase relevancy to their states’ residents. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (AFWA) Blue Ribbon Panel on the future of fish and wildlife conservation recommended that state agencies seek ways to engage and serve broader constituencies as a way to broaden political and financial support. In response, WMI and AFWA coordinated development of strategies and tactics to overcome barriers to engaging broader constituencies that were compiled into the Fish and Wildlife Relevancy Roadmap. WMI then began working with six “pilot” states under a 2020 Multi-State Conservation Grant (MSCG) to implement the roadmap and launched a Conservation Relevancy Community of Practice website. The three new state projects expand these relevancy efforts.
“The long-term success of conservation depends on agencies engaging with and serving more citizens to earn their political and financial support,” said WMI President, Dr. Steve Williams. “WMI is pleased to be in a position to support state agency actions to implement the Fish and Wildlife Relevancy Roadmap.”
Under a 2021 MSCG, WMI recently initiated efforts with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) and the Metropolitan Group (MG) to identify under-engaged constituencies in the state, build agency relationships with one priority constituency, and develop an understanding of that constituency’s values, priorities, and perceptions of the agency. WMI and MG will also help the VDWR assess the impacts of the agency’s culture and capacity on its ability to engage new constituencies.
Meanwhile, in Ohio and Missouri, WMI has joined forces with Innovative Outcomes and Responsive Management to help those states’ wildlife agencies increase their relevancy. In these states, WMI and our partners will work with agency leaders to identify priority relevancy goals and objectives through a three-step process. The first step takes an “inward” look, evaluating the agency’s readiness and willingness to adapt as needed to reach new constituents. The second step includes a statewide survey of residents’ interests, needs, and concerns regarding wildlife conservation and their awareness of the state agency and its role in conservation. The third step uses results of the first two steps to develop concrete action plans to engage new or underserved constituents.
WMI Special Projects Manager, Matt Dunfee, is the lead working with VDWR and Western Field Representative, Chris Smith, is working with Ohio and Missouri. For further information on these projects, contact Matt or Chris.