Resources in chapter Create a Vision, Plan and Prioritize

Tipsheet

Tips for Planning Your Program

  1. Take the time to do planning, especially at the vision and strategic priorities level. This work can help to guide your program, determine how to allocate resources, and identify where to put effort.
  2. Invite and engage participation in developing your plans. This will cultivate interest and support and help you tap into a range of voices and experience that can shape an effective program.
  3. There is no such thing as a perfect plan. Instead, consider it a roadmap. As you move forward and the terrain changes, so too can your plans.
  4. Regularly revisit and adapt your plan to reflect ongoing input, new information and lessons learned, and the changing context you are operating within.
  5. Don’t develop a strong plan then park it on a shelf. Reference these important guiding documents. Activate them with strong implementation measures.
  6. Develop a strong operational plan that clarifies roles and responsibilities, work plans, budgets, schedules, etc.
  7. Share progress and results from your program efforts. Feed this information back to the community, integrate it into the work of your organization or Nation, and use it to influence change and decisions in line with your vision.
  8. Document and file the work of your program in an organized, systematic and retrievable way. 
Worksheet

Overview Worksheet - Create a Vision, Plan and Prioritize

 This worksheet provides a series of questions to help you think through how to develop a plan for your Indigenous Guardian program including a vision, strategic priorities, an operational plan and an evaluation framework. Download it now

Section: Building a vision: what do you want to achieve?

Tipsheet

Questions to Answer Before you Develop a Vision

 

What should you think about before you develop a vision?

  • It might be helpful to talk through the current “lay of the land” before you start a visioning process so that everyone involved has a strong sense of where you are starting from. Try having the conversation about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your existing or new Indigenous Guardian program before jumping into the visioning process. It can help you envision an aspirational future but one that still has two feet planted on the ground.  

Who should be involved in developing a vision?

  • Good visioning typically involves a lot of different voices. To do this work well, you may want to bring together political and cultural leaders, key departmental or programming staff, elders, youth, community members, and other valued advisors. Generally, the more you invite people to help shape your program, the more support you will have as you move forward.

Has your community already articulated a vision about the stewardship of your territory?

  • Work may already have been done by your community to lay out a vision for the future stewardship and management of your lands and waters. This may have been developed through planning processes, negotiating treaties or settlement agreements, establishing agreements related to stewardship, or may be articulated through your Indigenous laws and customs or by elders and leaders in your community. If this work has been done, take a step back and consider how the vision for your guardian program fits into and complements other vision statements that have been articulated.

How will your vision connect with other strategic goals of your organization or community?

  • A simple bubble sketch can be a great way to start mapping out the connections between your program and other levels of stewardship governance, planning and activity within your community. It is important to situate the vision for your guardian program within this larger context and communicate a compelling reason or need for the program so that you can provide clear direction on the scope and focus of guardian activities.
Tipsheet

Questions to Answer Before you Develop a Vision

Tipsheet

Considerations for Developing a Guardian Vision

Process - How you bring people into the visioning process is important. There may be cultural or organizational norms in your community that can help guide you. You may want to develop a mix of approaches for how people can participate in a visioning process. Some approaches to consider include:

  • Hosting a facilitated workshop.
  • Developing structured committees or advisory groups.
  • Organizing community meetings.
  • Conducting one-on-one interviews or surveys

Facilitation - You may want to bring in a facilitator, advisor, or respected elder to help design or support a visioning process.

Location - You may also want to think about where you conduct your visioning work – is it important to be on the land, should meetings be held in your office, is a community gathering place more appropriate?

Agenda - Some discussion questions that might help your group think about your vision include:

  • What is the big picture change we want to work toward with our Indigenous Guardian program?
  • What is it we want our Indigenous Guardian program to achieve in 5, 10, or 15 years?
  • What will be different from where we are at right now once we begin implementing the program?

Communications - Be sure you keep people informed and engaged as you go so they understand how their contributions are integrated into the vision and plans for your guardian program.

Tipsheet

Considerations for Developing a Guardian Vision

“We have a clearly articulated vision and strategic plan. This has been our saving grace. We are always going back to it. It gives us the mandate and provides direction on an ongoing basis. Even if it takes a year or two to get to this, it’s worth it. People need to buy in and believe it.“

Ken Cripps, formerly of the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance
Quote

“We have a clearly articulated vision and strategic plan. This has been our saving grace..."

Story

Building a Dehcho Stewardship Vision

“Developing a stewardship vision for the Dehcho took time and had to be done the Dehcho way,” explains Dahti Tsetso, Resource Management Coordinator, Dehcho First Nations. “We did the first workshop on the land, in the bush, and this helped create the right setting. We’d start each workshop by feeding the fire.

Story

Building a Dehcho Stewardship Vision

Community resource

Dehcho K’ehodi - Final Workshop Report

The Dehcho K’ehodi - Final Workshop Report was shared by Dehcho First Nations (DFN).  Dehcho K’ehodi (Taking Care of the Land) is DFN's stewardship program. DFN has been exploring ways within their existing capacity and authority to take care of the land.

Community resource

Dehcho K’ehodi - Final Workshop Report

Section: Setting strategic priorities: what should you focus on?

“Our program is guided by a number of plans including our Vision and Management Direction document, our Land Use Plan, and our department’s Strategic Plan. It is also shaped by the big issues we are looking at right now, such as hunting and mining, and strategic initiatives we are pursuing in coordination with neighbouring Nations.”

Anna Schmidt, Environment & Wildlife Officer, Taku River Tlingit First Nation
Quote

“Our program is guided by a number of plans..."

Community resource

Gitanyow Stewardship Guardians: Developing a framework for environmental monitoring and compliance in Gitanyow Lax'y Presentation – Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs

The 'Gitanyow Stewardship Guardians: Developing a framework for environmental monitoring and compliance in Gitanyow Lax'y Presentation' shared by the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs describes the foundational rights, responsibilities and laws that are the foundation to the Gitanyow Stewardship Guardian program's work.

Community resource

Gitanyow Stewardship Guardians: Developing a framework for environmental monitoring and compliance in Gitanyow Lax'y Presentation – Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs

Section: Creating an operational plan: how do you do the work?

"Develop clear workplans and break them down to a week by week schedule. Budgeting for hours, fuel, etc. It’s the little details and pieces that are important. It is helpful if you work on a detailed plan and budget before field season starts. Clarify the details of work scheduling at the beginning."  

Scott Harris, Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Society
Quote

"Develop clear workplans and break them down to a..."

Section: Evaluating your program: how are you doing?

Tipsheet

Ideas for Evaluating Indigenous Guardian Programs

Here are some ways that Indigenous Guardian programs are evaluating their work and gathering information about successes and challenges:

  • Track and document program activities and financials monthly.
  • Track patrol effort by guardians – both hours on patrol and distance travelled.
  • Track public outreach efforts and human interactions on the lands and waters.
  • Track and measure changes in activity related to program (i.e. incidents of illegal hunting).
  • Document, input, store, and develop reports on any monitoring data collected.
  • Survey departments or organizations that intersect with your program as well as community members about their perceptions of the work of the Guardian program. Learn from what folks are telling you – build on your successes and address any shortcomings.
  • Track and report on the program against annual workplans and budgets – use this as a tool to stay on track or refocus efforts.
  • Track and report on program activities against funder expectations and requirements.
Tipsheet

Ideas for Evaluating Indigenous Guardian Programs

"Have a form to capture input or feedback at any point when someone provides advice. Have a form for end of the program. Where and how are you creating opportunities for feedback from field staff and others and how are you integrating that feedback? Know that its okay if you can’t incorporate all that feedback right away, acknowledging it is important even if you can’t deal with it right away. "  

Devlin Fernandes, Ecotrust
Quote

"Have a form to capture input or feedback at any point when someone provides advice..."

Community resource

Guardian Program Evaluation - Ecotrust Canada and Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs' Forum