The Stewardship Works! (SW!) initiative was a three?year pilot project which provided core funding to ten stewardship groups across BC. This funding model is unique, in that its goal was to build capacity rather than provide project?based funding. The SW! 2010/2011 objectives were to: • Increase watershed and habitat conservation efforts by increasing the number of volunteers participating in stewardship • Showcase the increase in habitat protection, conservation and restoration works resulting from providing stable core funding to community stewardship groups • Promote the Stewardship Works! core funding model by evaluating three years of data collected from ten stewardship organizations and communicating the benefits and • Confirm existing and build new partnerships for on?going delivery of the Stewardship Works! program. Stewardship Works! demonstrated the accelerated environmental and social benefits that can be achieved by providing core funding to community?based stewardship organizations to develop their financial and human resource capacity. The Stewardship Works! project was tracked and evaluated from its inception by an evaluation consultant, to establish indicators of success, develop consistent reporting templates, track progress, and document lessons learned. SW! core funding was used in a variety of ways – depending on the needs of each organization. Other project activities included case studies (videos), workshops and networking events to engage stakeholders and showcase successes. Project results indicated the impacts of core funding were:
• Increased positive perspectives of long?time stewardship volunteers
• Increased profile and support of the group in the community and
• An increase in skills of staff, volunteer satisfaction, and partnership development
• Increased grant applications by groups
• Increased outreach events/programming, and
• Increased number of volunteers participating in stewardship group activities.
Stewardship Works! was a highly successful pilot project that benefited all participating stewardship groups and by extension, the communities and natural habitats they serve. Documented results indicated that providing small amounts of core funding supported the groups in myriad ways, from increasing their volunteer base to enabling future planning, resulting in effective, productive and successful stewardship organizations and projects. Key recommendations include a follow?up program to apply the funding model on a broader scale and the establishment of permanent provincial trust fund to supply core funding to stewardship groups across the province.