I recently had the opportunity to attend a three-day workshop run by Foundations of Success on using the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation and the software that is commonly associated with it, Miradi.  Miradi is free to download and can be an incredibly valuable tool for conservation planning when used properly.  It is used by The Nature Conservancy (among other conservation organizations) and countless local, state, federal and international NGOs and governments.  The State of Maine used Miradi in the 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan (see page 44 for the diagram) and you can find countless examples of the use of the program by searching on Google or the Miradi website.

I know what you're thinking: this graphic is confusing and why do we need yet another conservation planning tool?  I had the same thoughts prior to attending the workshop but came out thinking that this tool can have so many uses in the conservation community.  This is a tool that helps gather the different voices and perspectives that need to be included in a conservation project, and aligns them according to the project scope.  It attaches specific action items to specific threats (the green boxes labeled "Obj") so that there are direct action items.  How many times has your organization identified threats to wildlife and habitat, but not identified ways to mitigate them?  Miradi can help with this.  I think it can be a particularly valuable tool for RCPs because they are inherently groups that tend to have priorities that aren't always completely aligned.

As the facilitator said to our group - Miradi is just a tool.  It is not a software platform that one staff member can download, fill in and then distribute to your organization and then say "we have an action plan".  The first step is to reach out to a conservation coach and see if this is something that might be a fit for your organization.  If you aren't ready to do that, there are plenty of resources on the pages that I have linked within this post.  You can download a trial version of Miradi for free and that version does not expire (it says 60 days, but that just means you can't receive updates beyond that unless you pay for a subscription).

If anybody would like more information, I'd be happy to answer any questions or supply more materials.  I encourage you to explore the Miradi website if only to see what it's all about.

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  • 1. Bill, the training was held at Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park here in Maine. It was facilitated by Nick Salafsky from Foundations of Success.

    2. I think it could be useful for the RCPs, but I think the shared ecological priorities across the entire RCP network would be too broad. It would be perfect for individual RCPs, however.

    3. We haven't used it yet - it is like LTA Accreditation: a pretty big lift that needs the full attention of all participants.

    4. The best way to explore it is to download Miradi and look through some examples (linked above). If you organization wants to go beyond that, I think reaching out to somebody on the conservation coach list would be the logical next step. You may be surprised at how somebody you already know is a trained coach and can help you out.
  • Simon, this is very intriguing, and I have several questions:
    1. Where was that training and who facilitated it?
    2. Do you think an introduction to the Open Standards (which look similar to what was used for the CT River Landscape Conservation Design), would be useful to our conversation about coming up with shared ecological priorities for the RCP Network?
    3. Has the High Peaks Initiative or the Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust used Miradi yet?
    4. What do you think would be a good way to explore its use without committing to it?

    Thanks again.
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