Director’s Notes: Maintaining Energy and Enthusiasm

Director’s Notes: Maintaining Energy and Enthusiasm

by Jill Ryan

Many of the articles in this issue discuss the results of activists and groups that have managed to continue their work over a long period of time. As we all know, this is, of course, easier said than done. Passion, anger, and love of resources often cause individuals to become involved in local environmental issues, but how do we remain engaged if the issues continue for years, often decades?

While I don’t know how all of the activists featured in this issue have managed to keep themselves and their groups engaged and fresh, I would like to offer some successful strategies I have witnessed:

  • Create a clear objective. Whether you are working to create an international refuge or save a small wetland, be sure each person knows the objective of the group, and keep that objective obtainable.
  • Celebrate successes. Whether large or small, get together and acknowledge the hard work that created each success.
  • Communicate. While there may be a core group of people at the heart of any issue, keep others who are involved informed of the current status; obviously they are more likely to be involved if they know where the issue stands.
  • Acknowledge. Be sure to acknowledge the money, expertise, time, and other resources given to the effort.
  • Recruit. Ask new people to join your group and encourage them to add their new ideas and energy to the work.
  • Change. Rotate responsibilities if you are tired of what you have been doing, try something new.

Have fun! Get out into the resource and remember why you are continuing this effort. Float your river, fish your water, photograph your group near the wetland, or just have a picnic to get to know your group members outside of the work.



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