Summary of Georgia’s R3 Journey
The Georgia’s R3 Initiative (GRI) was founded through a cooperative agreement between Georgia Wildlife Federation (GWF), Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division (GADNR), National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), and Safari Club International (SCI), all of which funded an R3-dedicated position in December of 2015. The objectives of the GRI are to 1) increase participation in hunting and shooting sports as they relate to hunting and 2) increase societal acceptance of and support for hunting and shooting sports. While there are five funding partners, the GRI encompasses all organizations with a vested interest in the objectives in Georgia. Since inception, the GRI has produced a strategic plan, broken down barriers between stakeholders to facilitate a cooperative approach, and piloted nontraditional strategies. The data-driven strategies taken by the GRI have resulted in increased license dollars from marketing efforts and legislative changes, pilot programs making national headlines, and a continuation of the upward trend in hunting participation in Georgia.
The Georgia Hunting Action Plan is the guiding document for the GRI and was formed by 1) restructuring the pertinent action items in the National Hunting and Shooting Sports Action Plan to make them applicable to Georgia, 2) conducting a literature review, program inventory, and workgroup meetings to identify Georgia-specific R3 needs, and 3) hosting the 2016 Georgia R3 Summit to solicit stakeholder input on the proposed action items. The Plan was updated in 2017 based on progress made and feedback from stakeholders.
Steering Committee and Position
The Steering Committee funds, supervises, and provides direction for the R3 Manager. The R3 Manager’s scope of work includes:
- Implementing and updating the plan by working with committees, individual partners, and through direct efforts from the position.
- Serving as the main point of contact and strategic conduit for stakeholders.
- Hosting an annual R3 Summit.
- Expanding tested programs and piloting new programs based on the best available data.
- Representing the GRI at state/national meetings.
- Publicizing and/or facilitate publication of GRI efforts through media outlets.
Georgia R3 Summits were hosted in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Each one had a different objective with the main theme of the summits being to provide a time to bring stakeholders together, update them on R3, and put them to work. The objectives of the summits have focused on plan development, committee formation, action implementation, and partnership development.
While the GRI has had involvement in many partner learn-to-hunt programs, several have been piloted directly under the GRI umbrella with two evolving out of the pilot stage, Field to Fork (targeting food-focused audiences) and Academics Afield (targeting college audiences). Both programs target non-traditional audiences and follow the evaluation/tracking guidelines outlined in the Georgia Hunting Action Plan.
Five-partner position hosted outside of the agency (GADNR):
- Literal buy-in ($) from partners reducing the organizational silo approach to R3.
- Flexibility to wear many hats, connect with multiple volunteer bases, and tap into more resources.
- Influence in more than one organization.
- Able to be flexible and adapt quickly.
- Provides a direct line of communication to agency leadership, while a similar position (mid-level) inside the agency might not.
- Furthers stakeholder engagement and spreads out the workload. Piloting programs under the R3 partnership:
Piloting programs under the R3 partnership:
- Ensures tracking and evaluation.
- Enables experimental programs that follow the data and target non-traditional audiences.
- Provides proof of concept and does not require compromising with existing programs.
Five-partner position hosted outside of the agency:
- Satisfying each organization (position justification, reporting requirements, branding, events, etc.) detracts from working toward the objectives.
- Drafting, agreeing upon, and finalizing agreements is a significant undertaking.
- Less influence in any one organization.
- Disconnected from the agency divisions and general operations.
- Lack of stability; the position is term limited.
- Possible to lose track of the objectives.
- Inconsistent meeting frequency.
Piloting programs under the R3 partnership:
- Requires significant resources and time.
- Can be challenging to shift from the pilot stage to the implementation stage.