What Parenthood is Teaching Me About Collaboration

What Parenthood is Teaching Me About Collaboration

In the months following the birth of my daughter, I came to truly appreciate the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” Had it not been for the support of midwives, grandparents, and siblings, my partner and I surely would have succumbed to insanity due to sleep deprivation!

The lessons I’m learning from raising my (now 2 year old) daughter, are serving me well in my work in the environmental field. I absolutely believe that a collaborative approach is vital to achieving any environmental goal. I’m a big fan of working “by committee,” and have seen so many examples of projects enriched by the variety of opinions brought by different organizations and individuals.

Grassroots groups bring irreplaceable on-theground knowledge, connection to their communities, enormous passion, and dedication to their causes. Larger NGO’s offer technical expertise, links to government, and experience in both policy and mass communication. Funders provide, of course, funding, but also trend-spotting and the big picture view. Government agencies play a vital role as decision- and policy-makers, as well as often having access to more resources. I could go on and on about the many types of groups that contribute to an effective collaboration.

As the newly-hired Canadian staff member for Freshwater Future, I’m looking forward to continuing our collaborative style in Ontario. With support from the Trillium Foundation, we’re organizing a gathering in the spring to bring together representatives of the Ontario Great Lakes community, to discuss shared and strategic priorities and identify opportunities for collaboration. I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting many knowledgeable and passionate staff and volunteers from organizations across the province, and I very much look forward to spending time with many of you this spring.

This is just one example of the exciting work that Freshwater Future has planned for Ontario this year. Please feel free to get in touch with me at april@ freshwaterfuture.org—I look forward to learning more about your work, and how we can protect our Great Lakes, together.



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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.