Historically natural resources professionals’ (NRP) interactions have been with natural resources. Today these relationships are more with resource owners. This action research study explores this relationship shift and how collaborative learning might change the interaction.
The community group discussed here represents one natural resources professional’s facilitation of collaborative learning in meetings that addressed natural resource and community issues. Her intentions were to foster group interactions acknowledging the significance of lived experience and create a resources network for evaluating land management options.
She used qualitative methods to inquire into group members’ experiences. Themes reflected positive outcomes toward relationship building. Resource owners experienced the group as allowing disparate groups to come together to learn and see their community in a new way. However, NRPs, who saw their roles as that of outside resources, perceived the group as lacking a unifying focus.
The study indicates that collaborative learning was successful in enabling resource owners and NRPs to engage with each other, learn about each other and their shared community, and develop new community and landscape visions. Some group members, however, held additional unmet goals of achieving specific outcomes. This inquiry highlights areas of opportunity for NRPs engaging resource owners and points to necessary changes in practice.
|Keywords:||Collaborative Learning, Action Research, Natural Resources Professional, Community Development|
Forest Stewardship Program Associate, School of Forest Resources, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Professor, Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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