The SE PCA was formalized in 2020 and built upon years of strategizing and networking – Our goal is to bridge gaps between local and national efforts to prevent and restore the loss of plant diversity in the SE – this is achieved by building capacity, facilitating novel partnerships, and leveraging shared resources to stimulate collective success in our region. Most of the momentum and preliminary work to launch the SE PCA came from the SePPCon gatherings in 2016 & 2020. There were multiple goals and much success associated with these events – please check out www.atlantabg.org/seppcon to learn more or review. You can also check out recordings from SePPCon 2016 & 2020 presentations online via the CPC Rare Plant Academy. Thanks again to CPC for sponsoring A/V & videography services for the 2020 conference!
In order to assess needs for our budding network, a pre-conference survey was administered in 2020 – you can take a closer look at the details online, but here is a high-level overview. Participants’ affiliation and roles are diverse – as expected. Perceived threats to native and rare plants and their habitats include environmental factors, but also a lack of both public support & legal protections. Plant invisibility is a major issue, and we need to take this into consideration through planning, assessments, and public outreach. And, we must continue expand our networks and work more closely with social scientists, politicians, plus outreach and media specialists. You can see more details from the survey, plus needs expressed by other partners, here.
Constructive feedback was provided when asked how to increase collaboration among existing groups. Suggestions included species and habitat focused groups and forums; identification and training of leaders for interdisciplinary groups, a dedicated partnership building process; and setting achievable goals with clear expectations. In addition to services and activities that are expected for a network like ours, advocacy has risen to the top and taken a lot of precedence among needs. During facilitated PCA planning sessions we were prompted to consider our shared challenges and visions of success – here is what was said: Resource prioritization is important; a formal regional alliance is needed and can be based on various other groups but tailored to SE regional needs; we would benefit from the development of a regional species of greatest conservation needs (RSGCN) list for plants; and Advocacy and outreach efforts are critical.
Strategic planning efforts in 2020 included collaborative white-boarding to develop a S.W.O.T. analysis, a draft logic model, content for a website, and shareable material for outreach. We developed a shareable info-sheet that was included with correspondence to the new administration in D.C. – directly from SE PCA, as well as through the National PCA and other collaborators. We have a live website – check out results from recent strategic planning efforts here.
In 2021 we continue strategic planning by updating our logic model draft through collaborative white-boarding, as well as launching task teams and working groups related to key focal areas. Stay tuned for more information as efforts progress. During our regular bi-monthly meeting on May 10th we will host a comprehensive review of strategic planning efforts and activities to date – you can sign up for email updates and register online. Our July meeting will feature an overview and results of the SE Ex Situ Gap Analysis which is being conducted by BGCI utilizing a tiered priority taxa list developed in conjunction with NatureServe.