RCPs, or Regional Conservation Partnerships, are generally informal yet organized networks of people representing private and public organizations and agencies who work together to develop and implement a shared, long-term conservation vision across town and sometimes state and international boundaries.
The RCP Network is an informal yet organized network of RCPs, regional partners, and individuals whom attend RCP Network events, Gatherings, and training. Our email list of Network members is around 1,100 people. Regional partners include state and federal conservation agencies, academics, philanthropic foundations, planners, foresters, and agricultural organizations. Regional partners find they can impact the practice of landscape conservation on the ground by working within and through the Network.
The RCP Network's governance structure includes a coordinator, Bill Labich, and a steering committee whose members represent the RCPs in their state:
- Charlie Hancock (VT),
- Sarah Wells (MA),
- Simon Rucker (ME),
- Jim Bonesteel (NY),
- Tim Abbott(CT), and
- Christopher Riely (RI)
The RCP Network coordinator works with the steering committee to advance Network priorities.
The RCP Network fundraising committee reports to the steering committee and its members also represent their states RCPs:
- Tracy Zschau (VT),
- Frank Lowenstein (NH),
- Bryan Wentzell (ME),
- Sarah Wells (MA),
- Ed Hood (CT),
- Kate Sayles (RI)
- Mike Hill (at-Large)
- Bill Labich (NY).
The Network also holds an annual meeting of RCP coordinators and leaders (the day before the annual RCP Network Gathering) who participate in setting longer-term priorities.
RCP coordinators voiced interest in forming an ongoing network at the 2011 RCP Gathering, and in having Highstead (a private operating foundation) serve as its host partner organization (i.e., provider of administation and coordination capacity). The RCP Network was launched in March 2012 and for the next three years, Highstead staff surveyed RCPs twice, developed educational materials (e.g., RCP Handbook), and collaborated with regional partners like Open Space Institute, North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, North East State Foresters Association, and Jessie B. Cox Trust to train and fund RCPs’ use of innovative practices to overcome challenges and move more quickly towards protecting land from development at a scale beyond what partners could do on their own.
In early 2015, RCP Network members with Highstead serving as convener, formed its first steering committee whose members led efforts to craft a shared mission, goals, and priority objectives.
In 2018, a year after the termination of the Cox RCP Innovation Grant Program and the Cox RCP Land and Easement Donation Fund, the Network established its first Fundraising Committee to increase funding to RCPs' activities at a scale that no one RCP could do on their own.