Attend any forestry meeting about engaging woodland owners and you’ll soon hear someone mention about reaching “beyond the choir.” In essence, landowner outreach programs are good at reaching people who like managing their land and are actively engaged in it. However, reaching beyond that core group has remained a challenge. A recent study completed as part of a Kickapoo Valley Reforestation Fund (KVRF) project sought to take a look between woodland stewardship and religious faith by addressing three questions:
- How do landowners and faith community members describe the connection between faith and forestry?
- What opportunities are there to further engage landowners through their faith, and what barriers may exist to doing this?
- What are some potential themes, reoccurring language (e.g. “stewardship”), or iconic images that participants use to describe their connection to faith and their land?
The answers? Check out the final report (report.pdf).
Project partners included the Alanna Koshollek (Aldo Leopold Foundation), Cara Carper (formerly with Southwest Badger RC&D) and me. Special thank you to Bethany Laursen (see her website for more about the really diverse things she does) who consulted on the project on completed the focus group and individual interviews.