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The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF) is a nonprofit organization based in Colorado, USA. CLF is the official umbrella organization for the Friends Grassroots Network, a group of more than 60 community-based “Friends” organizations who work to protect their local public lands. The mission of CLF is “to protect, restore and expand the National Conservation Lands through education, advocacy and partnerships.”

CLF requested two volunteers from GISCorps to support the Friends groups in science-based data collection, spatial analytics, maintenance and improvement of their Terra TRUTH mobile application, as well as the creation of online and static maps. The volunteers were asked to help two CLF Friends groups immediately, the Grand Staircase Escalante Partners and Friends of the Inyo.  They may also help other friends groups in the future, including Friends of Gold Butte, Colorado Canyons Association, Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument, and the Western Slope Conservation Center. Volunteers Alexis Handelman and Chris Packer were paired with CLF in September 2018 and work was soon underway.

Alexis Handelman

In February 2019, Alexis Handelman reported back on the work she performed to help CLF Friend organizations make data-driven decisions:

Trail Maintenance Survey123 form

First, I created a few sample surveys using Survey123. Survey123 is an easy way to create user-friendly, public, form-based surveys that are backed with the power of GIS. These sample surveys are intended to be used by CLF to showcase to their Friends groups how Survey123 can engage the public to facilitate data collection. The sample surveys include a survey for locations of trail maintenance, a survey to indicate if water features are wet or dry in Agua Fria National Monument, and a survey that can be used by the Junior Ranger program.

In order to help CLF visualize the current political climate and make decisions from a political, data-driven perspective, I built a national level story map of BLM land with political boundaries. This story map has a tab to view national conservation lands as well as political boundaries and party affiliations, and locations of military installations throughout the United States.

Story Map depicting BLM lands, political boundaries, party affiliations, and military installations.

Lastly, to help showcase the work the CLF has done and highlight how far-reaching their influence is, I created a CLF Grants story map. This story map shows where CLF funding has been put to use in each state over the last decade. Each tab summarizes a different year and shows how much funding each state received that year. The story map really highlights CLF’s growth over the last decade.

Story Map summarizing state-level CLF grant funding by year.

Chris Packer

In May 2019, Chris Packer completed his portion of the project and submitted this report:

My first projects with CLF highlighted the groups they work with, their mission, successes, and opportunities available for the public. The first of these projects was to showcase some of CLF’s Friends groups with an Esri story map. The story map not only allows for an interactive experience learning more about the great people CLF works with, but I think really helps convey the far reach of the organization.

Story Map: Friends of Conservation Lands Foundation

On that note, the next story map I made gave some background on the Conservation Lands Foundation, their mission, and some of their successes. To further help convey the opportunities available to the public, I also created a Web AppBuilder application that allows visitors a chance to see the points of interest and resources available to them when visiting National Conservation Lands. The story maps were shared with donors and board members and along with the application, are now serving as models for future work.

Story Map: What is the Conservation Lands Foundation?
Web App: Visit the National Conservation Lands

The next project I worked on with CLF focused on giving a background of the Western Arctic for which the Conservation Lands Foundation has worked to protect. This project was designed as a model for a new campaign site. The website is still only in a preliminary state, but the tool is accessible for the Alaska team to share with donors and members of the community surrounding the campaign.

Story of the Western Arctic

Lastly, I performed some GIS work concerning the mapping of mining claims. The Bodie Hills partnership and the Friends of the Inyo in California are trying to form a comprehensive picture of mining claims around the central CA/NV border. They are using the web map I created and the information it contains to make informed decisions about campaign strategies, focus areas, and next steps for their advocacy. 

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