WV Rivers Shares Experience with Diversity and Innovation at Chesapeake Watershed Forum

Staff members Tanner Haid and Kathleen Tyner.

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum brings together individuals and organizations from across the Chesapeake Watershed for a weekend of learning and fellowship.

This year, the theme of the Chesapeake Watershed Forum was “Better Together: Diverse and Innovative Collaborations for the Chesapeake Watershed.”

Diversity and innovation are threads that run through all of WV Rivers work and we were honored to be part of three of the Forum’s workshops.

Tanner Haid, Eastern Panhandle Field Coordinator, shared his experiences working with diverse partners to protect drinking water sources during two of the Forum’s sessions. He highlighted WV Rivers’ Safe Water for West Virginia Program and the collaboration that makes it successful. Born out of the 2014 Elk River chemical leak, Safe Water for WV brings together the general public, land owners, and water utilities to develop and implement source water protection plans.

Tanner identified the steps WV Rivers took to build the inclusive collaboration that propels Safe Water for WV forward — reaching out to diverse stakeholders; identifying shared goals; and creating a transparent framework for the partnership. Check out an interview with Tanner and our partners at the Alliance for Chesapeake Bay here.

Questions for Tanner about Safe Water for WV or WV Rivers’ approach to collaborative partnerships? You can reach him at thaid@wvrivers.org.

Kathleen Tyner, Operations Manager, presented a session titled “Online Advocacy to Build Your Organization.” Online advocacy is one of the most important tools in WV Rivers toolbox. It helps us reach new people, give folks an entry to advocacy work, and strengthen relationships with partners and our members. During the last year, WV Rivers’ online advocacy program generated nearly 47,000 actions.

Online advocacy is a relatively new component of WV Rivers boarder advocacy programming, only adopted in early 2016. But over the last three years, it has become one of our most innovative and valuable strategies to move the needle forward on water policy.

During her session, Kathleen shared how WV Rivers uses online advocacy as a collaborative tool to not only to increase the effectiveness of WV Rivers, but aid other organizations in their efforts.

Kathleen loves to talk about online advocacy, communications, and organizational databases. You can reach her at ktyner@wvrivers.org.

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