With a fresh layer of snow on the ground, ELP's 2010 Eastern Regional Fellows met at Light on the Hill Retreat Center in Van Etten, NY for their third and final retreat. The retreat focused on two core training pieces, the development of partnerships and collaborations, and a day long training on strength based leadership.
ELP Senior Fellow and Board Trustee Kevin Bryan lead the partnership and collaboration training, drawing on his experience as a mediator at the Meridian Institute and his participation in the USCAP project in particular. Fellows shared stories of their own success and challenges while participating in coalitions and other programmatic collaborations.
One interesting outcome of this training, which both the Eastern Region and New England Region, completed was the collaboration that resulted between Karen Purcell (ERN 2010), Project Leader for Celebrate Birds at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman (ERN 2010), Senior Environmental Health Coordinator at WEACT, and Sarah Dunagan (NERN 2010), Staff Scientist at the Silent Spring Institute. Karen and Ogonnaya met Sarah at ELP’s cross-regional retreat which brought together our Eastern and New England Network Classes. Out of discussions that began during their retreat, and extended through emails and conference calls, the trio created an ELP Webinar, Translating Environmentalism: Strategies and Tools to Create Healthy Communities which focused on the role of community based participatory research. It was fascinating to see how an ornithologist, environmental justice activist and breast cancer researcher recognized the similarities of their tools across disciplines and created a public program to showcase their success.
During our second day of training, Fellows had in-depth conversations about their personal strengths and how these were or were not currently being utilized in their jobs. Fellows developed strategies for returning to work and engaging their supervisors and staffs about strength based leadership. For example, Megan Ward, the Programs Manager at the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, discussed with the class how her organization had doubled in size from two to four in the last few months. Upon returning from her retreat Megan scheduled a time to meet with her Executive Director (also an ELP Senior Fellow) about scheduling a day for the staff to take a leadership assessment, discuss their results and strategize how the organization could best align the strengths of its staff with the tasks and projects that needed to be completed.
The retreat concluded with Fellows graduating into ELP's Senior Fellowship Program and beginning the process of visioning for their future together. Though it is unlikely that all 15 members of the class will be in the same room together anytime soon, they have already begun making plans for future meetings and know that each can be counted on for support, encouragement and perspective as they move forward in their careers.
With all 29 of ELP's 2010 Fellows now in the Senior Fellows Program, we turn our eyes to our 2011 programming. Applications for our 2011 program will be accepted through April 1.
Thank you for the tremendous support you have provided to the Environmental Leadership Program in supporting our 2010 Fellows. We know each member of the program benefits tremendously from the experience and that experience just can not happen with out you! Please join us March 16th for our GlobalGiving one day challenge - we hope to raise $10,000 for scholarships for the 2011 classes and know we will be successful with your help!
Karen Purcell and Bill Craig
Zena Nelson and Jody Roberts