All of us at Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) are excited to announce the launch of our Stepping Up Stewardship Toolkit, an online collection of resources to help any organization start, enhance, or expand volunteer outdoor stewardship efforts!
For 34 years, we've been utilizing volunteers to maintain parks, trails, and public lands throughout the state - but with increasing visitation and limited resources, land management agencies need more organizations and more volunteers to tackle the ever-growing needs facing our state's natural places.
By sharing our own proven practices in organizing, managing, and training volunteers, we hope to expand other organizations' capacity to tackle the most pressing outdoor stewardship work.
The Toolkit offers free, in-depth step-by-step how-to guides on topics such as project selection, volunteer recruitment, and working with youth. Stewardship groups, whether new or established, can complement the knowledge found in each guide with ready-to-use templates and checklists, hands-on training in leadership and technical skills through our Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI), and customized additional assistance, if needed.
While the guidance provided by the Toolkit was developed over decades of working in Colorado, we hope that much of the information will be applicable to groups across the country and we are proud that the Toolkit has already garnered support at the state and national level.
"Volunteers play a vital role in helping care for national forests and grasslands, and the USDA Forest Service simply cannot fulfill our mission without their service,” said Susan Alden, Partnership Liaison for the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, “The Stepping Up Stewardship Toolkit is a terrific resource that will help us collaborate more effectively around volunteer service on public lands, as it guides program and volunteer workforce development from project inception to celebration."
Luis Benitez, Director of Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, acknowledged the importance of hands-on stewardship to the state as a whole: "Outdoor recreation, a multibillion-dollar economy in Colorado, depends on access to safe and healthy natural areas. By expanding the ability to care for these places, the Stepping Up Stewardship Toolkit supports the state's economic future and identity as an outdoor recreation destination."
Explore the Toolkit at www.SteppingUpStewardship.org, download and use the materials, spread the word, and give us your feedback!
With more of us actively caring for the outdoors, we will ensure the next generation will find these outdoor places at least as good - if not better - than what we inherited.