Coordinate, ensure compliance, and monitor achievement of the Council’s multi-year Multistate Conservation Grant (MSCG) by December 31, 2024.
The Council will work with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ensure all financial and performance reporting requirements are met. The addition of the Tracking and Reporting Actions for the Conservation of Species (TRACS) System enabled the Council to take the strategic priorities identified by the Board of Directors and develop clear, measurable goals that align with the TRACS Matrix; they are included below.
Partner and/or provide assistance on MSCG projects for 15 organizations by December 31, 2024.
Council Staff have historically engaged in other MSCG projects as a partner or by providing assistance and led the National R3 Implementation Workgroup (IWG) that helped set the strategic priorities for the R3 funds. The Council plans to increase engagement in partner MSCG projects with a goal of partnering with or assisting 15 organizations with their projects over the next three years. The Council is currently an invited and named partner on four proposals being submitted for 2022, ranging from facilitating development of data dashboards to implementing social media ad campaigns that interface with the general public, and will provide assistance on others as needed. A main goal for the Council will be to work with all potential MSCG applicants (e.g., AFWA Region R3 Committees) to increase partnership and limit duplication of proposals.
Provide technical assistance on 18 organization-level R3 strategic planning efforts by December 31, 2024.
National Hunting and Shooting Sports Action Plan was published in 2016 to identify, coordinate, and align resources available for R3 at local and national levels. The plan prescribes the processes, strategies, and immediate steps that must be implemented by R3 stakeholders to move the needle forward on hunting and shooting sports participation. This plan was the result of a collaboration between the Council and the Wildlife Management Institute initiating and chairing the Plan Development Workgroup. Since the plan’s release, R3 capacity has grown significantly and many organizations have developed their own strategic plans to advance R3 efforts within their workforce. The Council is well-poised to serve as a consultant in this process and has provided assistance with plan development in the past. These services have included R3-specific plans as well as marketing plans targeting the general public. Over the next three years, the Council plans to increase assistance devoted to strategic plan development and review for partner organizations with a goal of 18 total plans.
Host, facilitate, and/or assist with 12 state-specific R3 trainings, workshops, or summits by December 31, 2024.
State-level R3 workshops are a first step in initiating a statewide R3 collaboration, but also serve to keep those collaborations moving forward in future years. Workshops often serve to disseminate the best available information about R3 to stakeholders and improve coordination and partnership at the local level. Over the next three years, the Council will increase the number of state-level meetings it engages in to include assistance with planning, facilitation, and/or presenting at workshops with a goal of 12 total.
Manage the National R3 Community, facilitate engagement, and increase membership to 3,200 individuals by December 31, 2024.
Started in 2016, the National R3 Community is an online community of more than 2,900 professionals that work on R3 efforts across the country. The Council will continue to manage and host this platform to foster the conversation on R3 and to facilitate the advancement of the R3 movement. The goal is to continue to engage with the existing membership by providing relevant information, responding to questions, keeping event calendars up-to-date, providing resources such as webinars and virtual discussions, posting position announcements, and to increase membership to 3,200 individuals by the end of 2024.
Develop a social media presence to facilitate education of the public on the contributions that hunters and shooter make towards wildlife conservation and reach 10,000 followers by December 31, 2024.
The latter half of the Council’s mission is the “education of the public on the contributions that hunters and shooter make towards wildlife conservation.” Traditionally, the Council has worked through its partners to connect with the general public (e.g., providing marketing best practices, reviewing marketing plans, and disseminating the latest research on communicating about hunting) and it will continue to fulfill this role. However, a need for a direct interface with the general public was identified during the strategic planning process. The Council currently has social media accounts, but until recently has not placed any emphasis on their utility or management. For the first time in its ten-year history the Council will develop a social media strategy with a goal of growing its total following to 10,000 across accounts over the next three years to increase awareness of the importance of hunting and the shooting sports. The majority of the content shared will originate from the Council’s partners’ social media pages (e.g., Wildlife Sportfish and Restoration Program) to help elevate the existing messaging.
Manage the National R3 Clearinghouse, facilitate engagement, and increase the number of digital assets to 5,000 by December 31, 2024.
The National R3 Clearinghouse was developed by the IWG to serve as a central repository of hunting, target shooting, angling, boating, and other outdoor recreation materials to improve access to information and resources for agency, NGO, and industry working on R3 efforts. This platform allows for: open access uploading and downloading of content; organization-specific collections; search by enriched text, which allows identification of text in both PDF and text document formats; search by filters, and search by R3 topic. The Council will continue to manage the backend processes and host the National R3 Clearinghouse, facilitate engagement, and increase the number of assets available to R3 professionals. There are currently about 1,500 assets available with more being added every day. Several AFWA Region R3 Committees have used the platform to collect assets for MSCG projects and the Council will increase its engagement in those special projects as well as providing general user training to the community.
Produce 30 case studies by December 31, 2024.
The Council consistently provides information to practitioners on results of R3 projects and processes around the country, but has not previously had a standardized template to disseminate this information and ensure that it lives in perpetuity. To further serve the needs of the community, the Council will develop a case study template and identify projects to highlight. The result will be easily digestible case studies that will highlight best practices in real-world form to better inform practitioners and enable replication of successful efforts. These will be released on a rolling basis in one-page PDF form over the next three years with a goal of 30 total.
Host 15 R3 webinars by December 31, 2024.
The Council has hosted virtual events ranging from detailed overviews of development of state-level R3 plans to highlighting industry access initiatives. These have been well-received and will be retained in perpetuity which allows them to be easily distributed and referenced years after the live event. The Council will increase the number of virtual events it hosts (e.g., webinars and coffee talks) with a goal of 15 total by the end of 2024. These events will be used to highlight new organizations on the landscape, disseminate best practices and report project progress and project results in an interactive form (e.g., MSCG project updates), advertise IWG products, amplify diversity, equity, and inclusion guiding pillars.
Participate in 36 regional and national meetings (i.e., conferences, trade shows, informational/business meetings) to help facilitate R3 by December 31, 2024.
Council Staff will attend and take an active role in 36 regional and national meetings (i.e., conferences, trade shows, informational/business meetings) over the course of three years to increase awareness of R3 initiatives, provide guidance and uniformity across regions and platforms, and disseminate best practices. Specific actions will include, but are not limited to: engage in all AFWA Region R3 Committees; host Director breakfasts to ensure leadership is informed; increase partners invested in R3 (e.g., industry, nonendemic organizations, new NGOs on the landscape); organize symposia, presentations, seminars, and press conferences; and facilitate relationships among industry, agency, and NGO stakeholders.
Sponsor three in-person R3 practitioner trainings by December 31, 2024.
The Council has identified training for R3 practitioners to be a significant need given the number of new positions, turnover in existing roles, and the rapid pace at which R3 is evolving. With the increasing stratification of R3 professionals within organizations, there is a need to train practitioners where they are in their career path and skillset. Entry-level training should be provided with targeted training to meet participants needs, while experienced R3 professionals who oversee teams or supervise sections have a different set of skills and experiences and need more complex engagement and training. The Council will engage with the USFWS and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and USFWS to assist with the National Conservation Training Center R3 Training. As a supplement to this the Council will also design and host a training session each year on the front side of the annual National R3 Symposium. These three trainings will identify areas of need for R3 practitioners at different levels and focus on the greatest need for the given year.
Produce three hunting and shooting sports participation reports by December 31, 2024.
Ensuring hunting and shooting sports participation data is available at an interval relevant to helping R3 practitioners make strategic decisions is a priority for the Council. The Council will partner with the Outdoor Foundation to produce the Special Report on Hunting and Shooting Sports. This will be the first time an annual report has been produced at the national level to identify overall trends in participation (including demographic information), motivations, barriers, preferences of key groups, crossover activities, and the report will identify opportunities for engaging new audiences. A report of this nature has been in high demand from the R3 community and the general public, and it will be produced annually for a total of three by the end of 2024.
Produce three hunting license indexes by December 31, 2024
In addition to the need for participation data identified in Objective 11, the Council also receives numerous requests for hunting license sales data. The Council has been and will continue to be a partner on the hunting license dashboard project, but to-date there are not enough states participating to claim it is a representative sample of the country or most regions. In 2021, the Council partnered with Southwick and Associates to collect monthly resident and nonresident hunting license data from more that 40 state wildlife agencies to quantify and compare 2020 to 2019 hunting license sales levels. This resulted in the largest hunting license index ever produced and as such, was representative of the national and regional trends. Providing this timely information to R3 professionals (and others) allowed them to shift strategies in a relevant timeframe to improve the effectiveness of their efforts (e.g., with the increases in many areas in 2020 there was a large shift to retention efforts). Responding to the demand of the community and the general public, the Council will continue to partner with Southwick and Associates for the next three years to produce an annual index of hunting license trends.
Administer three stakeholder surveys to assess the needs of the R3 community and inform strategic actions by December 31, 2024.
The Council’s main role in the conservation and shooting sports community is facilitation. As such, input from the stakeholders it serves is vital to adjusting strategies and services to better meet the needs of the ever-evolving community. In 2019, the Council started conducting an annual stakeholder survey to take a pulse on the R3 community, identify gaps, and take action to help move the National R3 Initiative forward. The Council will continue to conduct an annual stakeholder survey for the next three years but will improve the survey by having an independent third party administer the survey and by expanding participation to a broader stakeholder base.
Engage 40 stakeholders representing NGO, agency, and industry in the development and implementation of The Assessment Group (TAG) and TAG Review Panel by December 31, 2024.
The Council convened the IWG in 2018 to further the implementation of the National Hunting and Shooting Sports Action Plan. After two phases and over 5,500 collective hours from IWG members, R3 Implementation Priorities were identified, five products were produced (National R3 Clearinghouse, Marketing Best Practices, Mentoring Self-Assessment, Statewide Collaborations Best Practices, and Hiring and Building a Team Guidance), and membership reported that participation in the group was helpful to their professional role. After review of the original charge and progress by Council Staff and IWG membership it was determined that the IWG’s work was complete, but there was a need for a new group. The Council will convene the TAG and TAG Review Panel that will be charged with assessment of the National Hunting and Shooting Sports Plan progress (and possible update) and the IWG work products. Similar to the IWG, the Council will serve as the facilitator of TAG and leverage the talents and time of the membership with the goal of engaging 40 R3 professionals by the end of 2024.
Host three National R3 Symposiums.
The Council hosted the first-ever National R3 Symposium in May of 2018 in Lincoln, Nebraska. This event resulted in a groundswell of national focus and efforts to increase R3 of participants in hunting, shooting sports, angling, and boating. While the Council hosted two Virtual R3 Forums in its place in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID restrictions, the event will return to an annual in-person gathering in 2022. The National R3 Symposium is the only entirely R3-focused meeting and bring several hundred representatives form agency, NGO, and industry form the practitioner to the director/CEO level to advance R3 nationally. The Council will host the National R3 Symposium in 2022, 2023, and 2024 in different locations across the country to ensure a broad impact.
Miscellaneous tasks to accomplish.
Through the strategic planning process, numerous tasks were identified that were of importance, but did not fall within the lines of any single objective. To ensure accountability, Objective 17 was created to serve as a landing place for these tasks.