The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative: Charting A New Course for Conservation in the 21st Century

 

Submitted to:

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from:

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1 year, XX Days, XX Hours

who we are

The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) is a new organization dedicated to charting a new course in biodiversity conservation in southeastern North America (the world's newest global biodiversity hotspot) by bringing focus to the plight of one of temperate North America's richest ecosystems, Southeastern grasslands. The loss of these grasslands constitutes one of the greatest threats facing eastern North American biodiversity.

SGI is based out of Austin Peay State University's Center of Excellence for Field Biology (Clarksville, Tennessee) but the organization aims to serve a 23-state region that encompasses all of the eastern unglaciated U.S. east of the Great Plains.

The organization is focused on the conservation 

Southern grasslands come in all shapes and sizes, ranging historically from a fraction of an acre to millions of acres. There are more types of grasslands in the Southeast than the entirety of the Great Plains and Midwestern prairies. Unfortunately most Southern grasslands have declined by at least 90% of their former distribution.

our 5 programmatic priorties

I. LEADERSHIP

SGI will pave the way in identifying priorities for grassland conservation across 23 states and numerous ecoregions of the southeastern U.S. and in providing solutions to achieve successful conservation using a multifaceted strategy. 

II. RESOURCE CENTER

SGI will provide key resources to inform conservation of Southeastern grasslands. First, we are working with partners to develop an interactive database of Southeastern grasslands. Second, we will offer our expertise via online materials, training, courses, and consultation. Third, we are working to develop a physical headquarters at Austin Peay State University that will serve as an educational and conservation center that will feature a museum of Southern grasslands, research greenhouses, seedbank facility, botanical garden, classroom, and research facilities.

III. EDUCATION & OUTREACH

SGI will work with our partners across our 23-state focal region to develop a grassroots grassland conservation army. In doing so we will build local volunteer teams in dozens of cities/communities across our region. We already have more than 200 volunteers in 51 cities among 15 states.

IV. POLICY & ADVOCACY

SGI will work with our partners and leaders from local to national levels to advocate for and to develop sound policies that promote greater awareness and enhanced conservation of our Southeastern grasslands.

V. GRANTING PROGRAM

The majority of current conservation funding in the Southeast is being directed toward funding the conservation of forests, wetlands, and aquatic resources. SGI is fighting to get philanthropic donors and corporate sponsors to realize that in spite of the fact that Southeastern grasslands support an overwhelming majority of the biodiversity of the Southeast, there is very little funding dedicated to grassland conservation in region. SGI aims to work with the philanthropic and corporate communities to develop a granting program administered by SGI that will fund grassland conservation projects across our 23-state region. Currently, there are no sources of funding to support much of the critical work that desperately needs to be performed. We want to fight on behalf of our dozens of partners in conservation across the southeastern U.S. to change that.

where we've been

The idea for SGI was conceived by Dwayne Estes and Theo Witsell in October 2016, and soon thereafter, in November 2016, they submitted a proposal for a planning grant with the BAND Foundation (BAND). BAND awarded a $20,000 planning grant to the Austin Peay State University Foundation (Clarksville, TN) to be used by Dwayne and Theo to develop SGI in 2017.

We are working on a multifaceted effort to launch SGI. Our goal is to make an official launch in January 2018.

During the past year that SGI has been in development, we have worked to reach philanthropic foundations, federal, state, and local government agencies, non-profit conservation organizations, politicians, corporations, and academic institutions. 

where we're going

In 2018, we will ramp up these efforts across our 23-state focal region and we will begin a grassroots campaign to establish local volunteer-based grassland teams throughout our region. 

Need an abstract paragraph, that summarizes SGI, where we've been, who we are, and where we are going.. 

FIVE PROGRAMMATIC PRIORITIES

Leadership

Education/Outreach

Resource Center

Policy

Granting Program

business plan

 

Phase 1 - launch (december 2016-december 2017)

Paragraph that describes what Phase 1. 

STAFFING

Executive Director

Director of Research

Chief Science Advisor

Director of Communications

Office Assistant

Interior Plateau Coordinator

TN PCA Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEERING COMMITTEE

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

Working with Administration to get a headquarters

Website and Development of Grasslandia

EDUCATION & OUTREACH

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SGI Summit

SGI Packet

SGI Video

Class

Preaching

Website

Volunteer Registry

Newsletter

Blog

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

Newspaper articles

Interviews/documentary

Tennessee Conservationist Article

ON-THE-GROUND CONSERVATION

Status Assessment & conservation Plan for Southern Grasslands

Google

MembersCoordinators.jpg

Dunbar Cave

US National Park Service

TDOT

TVA

TDEC

Nashville Metro Parks

Forest Hills

Little River Canyon

EHR Ponds

Mt. Cuba new species

TRAVEL & PROMOTIONS

Map of Travels, number of meetings, number of persons reached

PHILANTHROPIC, CORPORATE, & GOVERNMENT PARTNER LEADS

Map of Meetings, Show Prospects

Google


 

Phase 2 - implementation & expansion (January 2018-December 2019)

FIVE PROGRAMMATIC PRIORITIES

Leadership

Education/Outreach

Resource Center

Policy

Granting Program

PROJECT MANAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION

Monday

Communications Strategy

CONTINUE EXISTING STAFFING

Executive Director

Director of Research

Chief Science Advisor

Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee

Director of Communications

Office Assistant-Technical Clerk

Interior Plateau Coordinator

TN PCA Coordinator

NEW POSITIONS

Administrative Assistant

Grant Writer

Cumberland Plateau Coordinator - Joey Shaw hybrid position

Blue Ridge / Piedmont Coordinator - Duke Energy, Z Smith Reynolds, Ward Burton, Mt. Cuba, VA Solar, Tim Sweeney

Mid-Atlantic Coordinator - Mt. Cuba, VA Solar

OK-TX Coordinator - Noble Foundation, Kirkpatrick Foundation, Indian Nations

GA-SC-AL Coordinator - Easter Plantation, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, UGA, Seminole Nation, Dobbs, Turner

Florida Coordinator - Seminole Nation, Easter Plantation, George W. Lindemann

STEERING COMMITTEE & BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Draft Strategic Plan

Communications Strategy

PARTNERSHIPS

Society for Range Management

Mississippi Entomological Museum

University of Tennessee Chattanooga

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill NC Botanical Garden

Arkansas State University

Roundstone Native Seed

Quail Forever

Highlands Biological Station

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Arkansas State University

Missouri Prairie Foundation

Center for Native Grasslands Management

National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative

National Wild Turkey Federation

State Botanical Garden of Georgia

INFRASTRUCTURE

Headquarters - basement

Grasslandia Database

EDUCATION & OUTREACH

North American Prairie Conference

SGI Packet - Revise

SGI Video - New?

Class

Preachingh

Website - improvements & hits

Volunteer Registry

Newsletter

ON-THE-GROUND CONSERVATION

Massive New Grassland Preserves

e. AR

Cumb. Plateau TN

Pennyroyal Plain

Piedmont-NC

TRAVEL & PROMOTIONS

2018 Travel Predictions

PHILANTHROPIC & CORPORATE LEADS

 


Phase 3 - long-term sustainability & longevity

Core Funding

  • Philanthropic
    • identify the possible/potential foundations (explicitly states these groups support these activities)
    • identify the level of core funding that will be needed to sustain us over different intervals
  • Corporate
    • corporate strategy plan
  • Government
    • similar to NFWF
  • State Appropriations
    • Legislative 
  • University Allocations
    • Capital Campaign

Infrastructure

  • Headquarters
    • Have a plan to have a permanent headquarters 
    • Costs
  • Database
    • ArcGIS, ESRI

Governance

  • 501 (c)(3) status or not
  • Board of Directors
    • Cayce McAlister

Steady Flow of Projects to Fund Coordinators - 

  • Project a little about the kinds of projects
  • CESU
  •  USFWS
  •  USNPS
  •  Army Bases

Staffing

  • grow new coordinators
  • Grant Writer
  • Corporate Development Specialist
  • Seed person 

On-the-Ground 

  • Volunteers 

Timeline of Activities

BUDGET