Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Momentum and Passion

Passion is what drives us and Momentum is what keeps us driving. Any grass roots effort needs a strong and consistent dose of both of these ingredients. When one is lost, the other usually suffers as a result. And there are so many hurdles that can derail your Passion and Momentum.

After being affiliated and/or involved with numerous non-profit environmental groups I have seen many organizations that could not piece together the puzzle to truly achieve their missions in a cooperative and effective manner. Often ONE individual bears the burden, or personality flaws & irreconcilable differences in visions form rifts between group members. Power struggles are far too common as well...and to be honest...all of this is understandable because this stuff is HARD!!

Its hard to be a part of something that is bigger than you. Something that doesn't necessarily need you in order to exist. Something that one day you will leave behind for others to lead. Something that doesn't pay your bills. Something that you care dearly about, but ultimately do not have control over. This is how large scale conservation efforts generally are for 'Friends' organizations.

I personally have parted ways with groups with amazing missions, that I just could no longer work with for one reason or another (Many of my colleagues can sympathize)...and then it becomes hard to find another group with an open door and a worthy mission to get involved with.

However, this was not the case for me in 2006 with Friends of Colorado Lagoon. Open door policy is an was more like an open flood gate. Without hesitation they invited me - an unproven,naive, but excited 25 year old salt marsh ecologist - to be a part of their family. Nobody felt threatened by my credentials or youthfulness...they were all just sooo jazzed to have someone NEW interested in their project. This invitation for involvement changed the trajectory of my life dramatically and I think it also led to a Renaissance for FOCL because once I realized the gate was open, I flooded their board and volunteer roster with my friends and colleagues and students. This change in personnel was welcomed and that welcoming attitude has led to the success FOCL is experiencing today.

Colorado Lagoon is realizing its potential to be restored into a full functioning, multiple-use facility for wildlife and recreation...all because of a well organized community group that has tenacity, a willingness to learn, and a bunch of supporters who make it their goal to be well educated about the ins-and-outs of a complicated Conservation effort.

Last night at City Council I saw the Passion FOCL still has and I also saw the Momentum build like a tidal wave when the votes for an open channel were unanimously supportive. What comes next in order to implement this project is yet to be seen, but I know that FOCL will be involved every step of the way...even if I one day get distracted by life and lose involvement...FOCL will still be there as Champions of Colorado Lagoon.

When is the flock capable without the Shepard?
When there is NO Shepard and the Flock is full of leaders that know where to climb in order to find greener pastures.

Congratulations to Friends of Colorado Lagoon for being a Flock Of Passionate Leaders with the Momentum to create a Culture of Conservation!