Here are a few tips from the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program
1. Build a large tent. Recruit a strong local advisory committee that represents a cross section of community interests.
2. Play fair. Identify your group decision-making process up-front.
3. Get on the same page. Establish a group mission and community vision by consensus.
4. Create allies. Get out and talk with those you might upon first glance, not be supportive. They can become your strongest allies if you ask about their concerns early on and address them sincerely.
5. Do a demo. A small-scale but highly visible demonstration effort will help make the larger project feel real and doable.
6. Achieve the possible. Set achievable goals, record progress, and build momentum by celebrating the small steps along the way.
7. Be graphic. People respond to images that help them visualize what you're proposing - use maps, drawings, photographs, web sites, brochures, slides, video and models.
8. Anticipate challenges. Consider how the project might be impacted by the needs and concerns of various landowners and by other community priorities. Do your homework. Meet challenges with workable solutions.
9. Mobiize citizen power. Area colleges, schools and community service groups might have committed volunteers looking for projects to tackle. Organize projects to use their time well. Show your appreciation. Make it fun for them.
10. Evolve. Renew the group with new participants and local expertise as the project grown and changes.
11. Share Success. Let everyone claim ownership of your idea.
12. Be passionate. You are improving the quality of life in your community and conserving natural treasures for future generations!