A statistically significant survey of all VNRLI alumni in the spring of 2013 yielded these results:
- More than 95% of the alumni agree that, on a regular basis, they provide leadership for collaborative problem solving around environmental issues, to move beyond conflict, and to find creative solutions.
- More than 85% of the alumni indicate that they better understand the complexity of Virginia’s natural resource issues.
- More than 77% of the alumni responding agree that they are now better able to conduct group processes, build consensus, and show leadership in their work.
- 85% agree that being a VNRLI alum has made them of greater value to their employer.
- Finally, 95% of the alumni indicate that they would recommend VNRLI to others as a way to gain leadership and collaborative problem-solving skills related to natural resource issues.
Alumni in Action
Fellows use their skills to make a real difference in their communities, region and across the Commonwealth, addressing divisive issues, and reducing the high cost of intractable, extended confrontations. Below are a few examples of endeavors initiated by VNRLI Fellows following their graduation.
VNRLI Fellows develop innovative partnerships to address broad, persistent issues:
- In an effort led by Ann Jennings, Virginia Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Agriculture and Conservation Partnership for Water Quality (“The Partnership”), brings together a diverse coalition of partners to identify and advocate for those sustainable solutions that support both a vibrant agriculture economy and clean water.
- In another effort led by Ann Jennings, in partnership with others, the Waste Solutions Forum (WSF and WSFII), brings together farmers, environmentalists and industry leaders in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to develop innovative ways to manage animal manure and litter.
- Initiated by Ann Beals, Executive Board of the Virginia Forestry Association, an environmental education program ensures that all elementary school students in Spotsylvania have outdoor environmental education.
VNRLI Fellows develop community collaborations to address specific place-based land use problems:
- Shenandoah Forum, founded by Rosemary Wallinger addresses the proposed widening of I-81, and County growth issues.
- An inter-faith collaboration for inner-city revitalization was facilitated by Anthony Scott, a mediator and facilitator.
VNRLI Fellows develop collaborative regional planning for improving water quality and sustaining working lands:
- The Rivanna River Basin Commission founded by Ridge Schuyler, Piedmont Director of the Nature Conservancy, provides a collaborative stakeholder approach to watershed management.
- Led by Jim Lawrence, the Abrams/Opequon TMDL Implementation Steering Committee provides a collaborative stakeholder approach to watershed management.
- The Ecosystem Value Trading Program for Working Forests was led by Buck Kline, Virginia Department of Forestry, in partnership with other alumni including Bud Watson and Bruce Hull.
- The Forum on the Future of Agriculture in Southeast Virginia (for peanut farmer transition) was conceived and organized by Michael Roberts, Virginia Cooperative Extension.