Managing diverse viewpoints: Decision-making and best practices on volunteer boards

Date and Time:

February 24, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Urban trees provide a multitude of benefits to citizens, businesses, and visitors alike. Beyond the aesthetic values, trees also provide practical and environmental benefits, and economic value, about which many communities are unaware. With only three Vermont towns that have arborists on staff, many towns rely on volunteer tree boards or conservation commissions to guide direction of local urban and community forestry programs.  

Citizen-powered boards, committees, and commissions are an invaluable resource to Vermont cities and towns; they are often tasked with coordination, advocacy, and raising awareness about relevant community issues, such as the management and cultivation of a healthy public tree population.  However, these groups often comprise individuals with varying, and sometimes conflicting, viewpoints. Join us for our February webinar to understand common - and unique - challenges of viewpoint diversity and to explore a variety of best practices for managing conflict and making group decisions. This presentation may be particularly useful to municipal board, committee, and commission members, especially those that make decisions concerning natural resources and public trees, and the Vermont Tree Wardens who work with them.  

Our presenter is Emily Silver Huff, Research Forester with the USDA Forest Service and adjunct faculty member at the University of Massachusetts. Emily holds a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Maine, specializing in human dimensions of forestry, and a M.S. in Forest Management from the University of Minnesota. She is currently part of the Family Forest Research Center where she works on the National Woodland Owner Survey and related efforts to better understand the decisions of private forest landowners nationwide. Her work uses mixed methods including large-scale surveys, in-depth interview techniques, and focus groups. She has worked with inter-group dynamics and decision-making processes on several projects including a new national effort to better understand urban residential landowners' attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions of their green space and trees