About Community Conserve
What is Community Conserve?
Community Conserve is a forum for municipal personnel to access practical environment and conservation information. That means a place to:
- Get free information and research on municipal environment and conservation issues
- Share ideas on what are the most pressing issues
- Explore opportunities to pool dollars with other municipalities on Community Conserve projects priority
The site has three main sections:
Want more detail on how Community Conserve works?
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What is Community Conserve for?
Community Conserve is a place Alberta municipalities can access well-researched environment and conservation information, share ideas, and even pool resources. The Resource Library contains free resources create under Community Conserve, the Idea Forum allows municipal personnel to see who shares their concerns, and the Resource Pooling facilitates municipalities who want to share resources to address common issues
Who is behind Community Conserve?
Community Conserve is partnership project of the Miistakis Institute, the Environmental Law Centre, with the support of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, and Rural Municipalities Alberta.
To learn more, visit the ‘About’ page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are Community Conserve ‘resources’?
Community Conserve ‘Resources’ are the reports, tools, templates, guides, presentations, data or any other ‘foundational information’ created or gathered during a Community Conserve project.
What is ‘foundational information’?
”Foundational information” means background research, tool-development, guidebook, legal foundation, policy review, etc. that is applicable to two or more (likely all) municipalities in their effort to better understand the environment and conservation issues underlying their work.
The resources were created primarily by the Miistakis Institute and the Environmental Law Centre, but there may be other organizations, too. Each Resource page lists the organization that created it.
Are the Resources subject to costs or use constraints?
All Resources are made available using a Creative Commons licence, meaning you are free to download, use, modify, share any of the materials so long as you don’t commercialize them, you credit the original source, and you add the same licence information going forward.
What if my municipality wants more personalized support?
The idea of Community Conserve is to create resources that can be of use to a variety of municipalities. However, your municipality may want to get direct support applying a tool, drafting a policy, receiving training, etc. In these cases, you can approach the organization who did the project, and retain them to provide that advanced support.
The Idea Forum is a place for municipal personnel to better understand if their thoughts on environment and conservation issues are shared by others. Staff, managers, and councilors can post ‘issues’ or ‘ideas’, and others can up-vote the idea to show they share the issue or support the idea.
What is an ‘issue’? What is an ‘idea’?
An “issue” is a conservation or environmental dilemma that is facing an Alberta municipality; it doesn’t need to include a solution, just the problem. An “Idea” is the kernel of an approach that might address a known issue, one that could be fleshed out into a Community Conserve project.
Who is eligible to post issues/ideas and vote?
Anyone from a municipality can post an issue/idea or vote: staff, managers, councilors – we want to hear from every perspective. You are not representing your municipality when you vote, just yourself.
No, just go ahead and participate. If you post an issue/idea, we will ask for an email address so we can contact you if clarification is needed, but your name will not be shared.
Two things happen. First, the ideas (and the votes they get) inform municipal personnel about what the local government community has on their minds regarding environment and conservation issues.
Second, they inform funding and project work. The Miistakis Institute and the Environmental Law Centre actively scan the ideas for things they think they could help with by finding funding and undertaking a project. Municipalities can use them to identify ‘resource pooling’ opportunities. And, of course, nothing stops anyone else from using the ideas to inform their own project work.
Resource pooling is where two or more municipalities combine their limited funds to an issue of common concern. Each municipality pay a portion of the costs, and everyone shares in the benefits.
Do all projects pool resources?
No, this is an option not a requirement. You can use this if you think other municipalities might be interested in funding a project with you.
That depends. In some cases, the Miistakis Institute or the Environmental Law Centre might identify a project and go secure philanthropic funding to complete it. In other cases, municipalities might “pool resources” to complete a project, with each municipality contributing a portion of the overall budget, and everyone getting the full results for only a partial payment.
What is a proposed Project Plan?
A Project Plan is the result of converting an “issue” or “idea” into an actual project concept, and seeking funding to do it. Each Plan has a simple description of the work, a budget, a timeline, and a statement of who would actually do the work. The research team behind Community Conserve, made up of staff from the Miistakis Institute and the Environmental Law Centre develop the Project Plans, then they are vetted by staff from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and Rural Municipalities of Alberta.
Do I just ‘click’ to fund a project?
No. If you see a project for which you want to contribute to the resource ‘pool’, you fill out the form and submit it. By doing so you are NOT yet committing funding, but are expressing an interest in doing so. Your information goes to Community Conserve, and you start the conversation.
How do I know if the project already has funding?
The page for each Project Plan will show the amount of money that has been ‘Secured’, and the amount that is ‘Pending’. Municipalities have the option of showing their name next to their commitment. Because municipalities often have budget, approval, and even fiscal year obstacles to be navigated, an expressed commitment is shown as ‘Pending.’
How is money actually transferred to Community Conserve?
There is a standard Community Conserve ‘Grant Agreement’ that all participating municipalities would use. The grants then go to the organization that is actually doing the project work (indicated in the proposed Project Plan).
What if the full budget is not secured?
Each project has a timeline and a budget, and each funding grant agreement has an escape clause based on those. If a time or budget threshold is not met, the project funding will be returned, and the project will not go ahead. As well, the Community Conserve team may also look for third-party funding to top-up project budgets that are close.
The Community Conserve team includes
A collaboration made possible with support from:
Max Bell Foundation
An Anonymous Foundation