Bridging the Divide
In the aftermath of events such as Hurricane Katrina and Rita, and facing the looming threat of global climate change, PlaceMatters and David and Lucile Packard Foundation identified a critical need to effectively integrate ecosystem science and community planning in ways the public and decision-makers can readily understand and act on.
Likewise, PlaceMatters and the Packard Foundation believe the scientific community will benefit from tools and techniques that more effectively engage the public to help build consensus around critical ecosystem management measures in the context of broader community development objectives.
PlaceMatters and the Packard Foundation have entered into a novel partnership to develop new tools and resources to help communities in the U.S. better understand and protect the natural, cultural and economic resources vital to their long-term success, especially in sensitive high growth coastal areas. Starting in 2006, Packard has been funding PlaceMatters to undertake this new initiative, called the “Bridging the Divide” project. These funds, combined with PlaceMatters' staff and technology resources, allowed PlaceMatters to hire a PlaceMatters-Packard Fellow to conduct research and other project activities and to develop a pilot program for implementing new planning tools and processes in select “showcase” coastal communities where growth pressures are competing with ecological health. The Fellow works extensively with NatureServe, a Washington, DC-based organization that provides scientific information and tools for effective conservation.
- Integrate databases of ecosystem-based and community planning tools and processes into a single resource
- Identify coastal areas under significant growth pressure and apply the tools and techniques identified and created by the Fellow through pilot projects
- Share the lessons learned from these projects with others to assist in integration of science-based management and community planning on a larger scale