OLCV Education Fund leads a number of programs that improve the capacity of the environmental community by educating, training, and coordinating citizens and organizations. Below is a list of the primary programs we have led since 2009.
The Oregon Conservation Network
Since 1996, OLCV Education Fund has coordinated the Oregon Conservation Network(OCN), a coalition of more than 40 organizations that work together to build the environmental community’s political power in Salem.
In its initial years, OCN primarily served to defend environmental safeguards from hostile legislative leaders. In the process, we helped build momentum to pass positive, commonsense laws that protect Oregon’s natural legacy. Since 2005, OCN groups have come together to develop shared priorities to promote in the Legislature. In the 2011 legislative session, OCN passed two of its Five “Priorities for a Healthy Oregon” and successfully fought many potential rollbacks to our environment.
During the session, OCN distributes the weekly email newsletter SalemWatch to nearly 12,000 people. SalemWatch provides timely information about environmental issues in the Legislature and state agencies, and opportunities for readers to take immediate action.
Regional Conservation Networks
The regional conservation networks are similar to the Oregon Conservation Network but are more focused on local and regional government bodies and voter engagement efforts.
The regional networks have two main guiding principles: to increase coordination in the conservation community and increase awareness and public support of our issues at the regional level. By adhering to these principles we will better foster local political leadership, improve advocacy efforts at all levels of government, and help to make the region a leader in passing innovative environmental policy, that includes but is not limited to measurable improvement in biodiversity, environmental quality and environmental justice and equity.
OCN’s Lobby Day
At a strategic time in each regular legislative session, OLCV Education Fund and the Oregon Conservation Network organize a “Citizen Action Day” at the state capitol. OCN’s 2011 Environmental Lobby Day was held in April and offered participants the opportunity to learn about OCN’s legislative priorities from policy experts and taught them how to engage effectively in the legislative process. 150 citizens attended in 2011.
OLCV Education Fund brings together conservation groups to explore how framing and language impact our individual and collective success in protecting Oregon’s environment.
The goal is to discover the values that motivate us all and to teach conservationists to stress these values when they talk about the issues. In 2010, the Education Fund commissioned a public opinion poll and a resulting messaging playbook to help Oregon Conservation Network member organizations talk about legislative priorities.
Non-Partisan Voter Participation
OLCV Education Fund developed an ambitious project in 2010 to educate voters in key counties about the importance of voting the whole ballot. Our work targeted thousands of environmental voters, providing information about how elected officials make critical decisions that impact them.
We also led an outreach project in three counties — Jackson, Marion and Clackamas – in which OLCV Education Fund teamed up with legislative leaders to discuss environmental issues important to their communities.
This project helps conservation groups raise more money and recruit more volunteers by providing them with demographic information about their membership from a commercial voter file. Eleven groups participated in 2010. We will be participating in this process again in the beginning of 2012.