SUCCESSFUL FACILITATION LEADS TO POSITIVE MOMENTUM FOR CAPE PARROTS

This article was first published by the Conservation Planning Specialist Group

Kerryn Morrison, chair of the IUCN Crane Specialist Group and Africa lead for the International Crane Foundation and Endangered Wildlife Trust, is a mentee in Conservation Planning Specialist Group’s (CPSG) Development Path. As a part of this conservation planning mentorship program, Kerryn recently facilitated a workshop for the Cape parrot, South Africa’s only endemic parrot species. The aim of the workshop was to bring stakeholders together to review the status and threats to Cape Parrots and to develop a conservation action plan for the species.

For Kerryn, the workshop was also a chance for her to strike out on her own as a facilitator, putting her developing skills to the test. Read on to hear her thoughts on the workshop and her experience as a mentee in CPSG’s Development Path.

How did you get involved in this workshop?

I have been a member of CPSG since the early to mid-2000s. I started off assisting with or leading Population Viability Assessment modelling at a number of workshops. However, I have not been an active member for several years. I then attended the online facilitation training course that CPSG Director of Training Jamie Copsey was leading and expressed my interest in becoming more involved in facilitation. When the Cape Parrot project request was received, Jamie approached me to do the workshop.

How did the workshop go? What were the results?

The workshop went well, and we achieved a lot in the very short two days that we had for the workshop. I used a hybrid CPSG/Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation approach, which I do think worked well. But I also learned a lot about where improvements could be made. The work was not completed in the two days, but commitments were made by all participants to complete the various sections by mid-October.

The outcomes of the workshop were many, but for me the following are key:

  • There was a real sense of collaboration in the room and a positivity about the way forward.
  • Funding and a supporting structure were offered by the Wild Bird Trust for a coordinating body to ensure that the plan and Cape Parrot conservation continues in a coordinated manner.
  • There was support for the development of a Cape Parrot Biodiversity Management Plan, which will use the plan developed here as a basis for a South African legislative process that provides for conservation action for a species.

We will commence this project in March 2020 when we embark on a Lost Species expedition up the West Coast to collect samples for analysis. If the results are positive, we could not only rediscover the species, but we will also narrow down the search area for future conservation actions. Watch this space!