• What is the Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Network?

The RCP Network is a voluntary association of people involved in RCPs, including their coordinators, member groups, and regional partners. Regional partners work with, fund, or otherwise engage RCPs like local, state, and federal government commissions and agencies, the academic community, natural resource professionals, local and regional planning and conservation organizations, foundations, and other collaborative groups and people.

The RCP Network is also an RCP of RCPs organized like an RCP with a host partner organization (Highstead Foundation), coordinator, a steering committee including 7 RCP leaders each representing a state’s RCPs, a website, vision, mission, goals, and priority actions. The RCP Network also has an annual conference, the RCP Network Gathering with other state-based meetings, training, and sub-regional conservation initiatives. Since 2009, the RCP Network and its earlier iterations have helped raise $5.4 million in funding that have supported the growth of individual RCPs as they move from emerging to maturing, to conserving.

Although the RCP Network’s service area is primarily New England and eastern New York, people and groups interested in the RCP model can be found across the country and in other parts of the world. It is assumed that that the RCP Network would allow for and, in fact, promote the exchange of ideas and information between RCPs and RCP-like groups wherever they are located.

• What is the RCP Network site?

The RCP Network site is the online forum for members of the RCP Network to exchange information and ideas, discuss issues and concerns, hear from leaders in fields of interest like conservation finance, landscape ecology, land use planning, etc.  Another purpose for the site is to help RCP members learn more about what makes RCPs successful to advance their own partnership’s activities and to contribute to the advancement of the field. The site can also be used to advance our priority actions by offering space on the site for more private working group discussions.

• Why was it created?

It was created by the RCP Network Steering Committee to serve as our online networking site, to augment email, and our LinkedIn group. Two of our 15 priority actions identified (see list here) at the 2015 RCP Coordinators’ Meeting were to 1) Create an RCP list-serv (calendar of training, info-sharing), and 2) share ideas for funding (e.g. for coordination). We decided to combine these two actions.

• Who moderates the site?

The RCP Network Steering Committee and, in particular, the Coordinator and other Highstead staff provide moderation and oversight to content.

• What does it do?

The RCP Network is a ning.com site designed to make it easy for Network members to exchange, access, and share information. Members can also use the site to create and use working groups and new content. See, “What are its main functions by page?” for more about what each

• What are its main functions by page? Looking at the navigation bar, from left to right:

     o Home: Check out the most recent content in the Activity, Blog, and Discussion. This page also acts as a launch pad to working groups and members. The subtabs under the Home tab are RCP Map and RCP Handbook. The former opens the online interactive RCP map that is on the Wildlands and Woodlands (W&W) website RCP Network pages. The latter links to a page on the W&W page for downloading a free copy of the RCP Handbook.

     o Blog: Learn about timely opportunities for RCPs here. Read articles on topics of interest from experts in a variety of fields. Contribute content by submitting articles for review by the RCP N editorial working group.

     o Forum: Post questions, inquiries, and requests for help or feedback and respond to your peers’.

     o Things for Sharing: The home page provides quick access to the most recent content shared in each of the two main categories:

           News: Projects, Successes, and Lessons: Write and add short articles about projects you are working on, any successes, and lessons learned. Share these articles to social media for broader impact.

           Documents and Presentations: Click on the link to access the RCP Network’s Google Documents folder to share and download presentations, slides, templates, reports, etc.

            RCP Resources: Click this tab to access a list of funding opportunities for RCPs maintained on the W&W website for RCPs.

            Photos: Upload photos of your RCP or project to share.

     o Working Groups: Join groups and create new groups. With each group, members have their comment page and forum for discussion. Members can invite members to join groups. Working groups can be for individual RCPs, for coordinators, or be issue or initiative-specific.

     o Guidance Documents: these pages contain the draft mission, goals, objectives, and actions developed reviewed, accepted, and developed at the RCP Coordinators in their meeting in the fall of 2015. The Priority Actions page will be used to track progress on these activities, and to add new ones in time.

      o Members: Check out who is a member of the RCP Network. Use My Page to set up your profile info and photo.

     o Calendar: You will see a Google Calendar maintained by Highstead for all RCP-related events. Should you want some of your RCP-related events showing up here, contact Highstead (jcologgi@highstead.net). The Events and Activities page lists the main RCP-related events for the Network

     o W&W: Subtabs take you to the most relevant Wildlands and Woodlands related initiatives and pages.

What distinguishes RCPs from other large landscape conservation initiatives?

According to the Practitioners Network for Large Landscape Conservation Initiatives (LLCI), LLCIs, have multiple objectives, are cross-jurisdictional, and, like T-shirts, can be any size (XL, L, M, S, etc.), but leaders in this group have also referred to LLCI as being at least 200,000 acres in size and typically a million acres or larger. They can be formal and informal, be an institution, government agency, statewide or regional land trust, or a watershed association. They can be 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organizations. One type of LLCI is the RCP.

RCPs represent a type of LLCI that disrupts the argument of size. RCPs have service areas that cross at least one political boundary. Their areas have either natural, political, or use some combination of the two for their boundaries. RCP regions are constructs that can be modified over time, scaled to the needs of the member groups. The best RCPs are informal yet well-organized networks (for more information see the RCP Handbook). RCPs are supremely designed for local, regional, and statewide land conservation trusts to engage with a diverse set of stakeholders dependent on their objectives and the attributes of the regional landscape.

• Are there rules for using the RCP Network site?

There are no rules per se for using the RCP Network site although members of the RCP Network are expected to hold themselves to the high standards of communication that they and their RCPs and organizations reflect in their public affairs and treat themselves and each other with respect. Members choosing to behave badly will be given fair warning, and may be removed from the site.