Issue #5: New FWS HD Resource Portal
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Announcing the launch of the
FWS HD Resource Portal!
A note from Natalie...

It’s been a while since our last newsletter. While we were away, we’ve been hard at work on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Human Dimensions Resource Portal. We’ve created a place to put Human Dimensions tools into your hands by centralizing resources, promoting shared learning, fostering cross-agency collaboration, and creating a community of practice. 

Working closely with colleagues across the Service, the FWS HD Resource Portal was developed based on your ideas and feedback. It’s ready to support YOU!

We are often aware that people are an important piece of the conservation puzzle, but we’re not exactly sure what the social aspects are or how to address them. The FWS HD Resource Portal can help address all kinds of issues by providing a place for you to explore resources and learn about what others are doing. From the predictive search tool, to the Expert Directory and blog, the FWS HD Resource Portal is a one-stop-shop for connecting social science to conservation. Below, you'll find descriptions of all the cutting-edge features of the site.

If listening is more your style, check out this podcast for an audio tour and discussion about the site. Either way, we invite you to explore the new site and let us know what you think! 


- Natalie

Natalie Sexton
Chief, Human Dimensions Branch
Natural Resource Program Center
Upcoming trainings, conferences, webinars, and more...

Partnerships and Collaboration: Managing by Network 
This training will guide you in becoming fluent in 22 professional competencies for partnership and community collaboration.
Apply by November 13!

Communicating Science - Distilling Your Message 
February 2016
Refine your science communication skills and practice sharing your message with audiences of all kinds with this NCTC course.

Negotiation Skills for Natural Resource Professions: Building a Foundation 
April 19-21, 2016
Hone your negotiation skills and learn strategies to communicate, be heard, and reach resolutions in natural resource negotiations.

Mark your calendars for the HD Foundations Course!
November 14-16, 2016
Make sure you're on our mailing list to be notified when this course is available.

Want to get up-to-date announcements on HD happenings? Check out the News and Announcements feature on the FWS HD Resource Portal!
Check in for regular updates on upcoming trainings, conferences, webinars, and more.
Let us walk you through the FWS Resource Portal 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service HDgov Resource Portal Tutorial

Training Resources 
Here you’ll find a growing list of HD trainings and courses, recorded broadcasts, webinars, and podcasts, as well as previous issues of this newsletter. Consider hosting a brownbag lunch and watching one of the recorded webinars or broadcasts with your staff or colleagues!

Search Tool
Whether you have a vague or a very specific idea of the HD resources you're looking for, this innovative search tool will help you find what you need. Use it to easily access case studies, databases, and full-text journal articles.

For example, we can select “science communication” from a list of suggested search terms and view the results. This tool might look familiar; it was modeled after Pinterest’s visual discovery tool. The search bar suggests other search terms that are commonly associated with “science communication” to help guide your search and refine results.

Expert Directory
Connect to other FWS staff with expertise that can help you address the social, political, and economic aspects of your work. You can browse by region, program area, area of expertise, or a combination of these. To access this feature, log in with your Active Directory credentials. 

Shayna Carney is a social scientist and has created a profile in our Expert Directory. A course leader at NCTC, Shayna is a great resource for expertise on communications and environmental education. 

Conversations in HD Blog
We often hear from FWS staff that they'd like to learn more about what's going on outside of their own station or program. Conversations in HD is a place where your colleagues are sharing their stories of conservation. You can join the conversation and share your experiences through a discussion forum. To access this feature, log in with your Active Directory credentials. Conversations in HD inspires shared learning across the Service and we’re always looking for contributions.
Let us know if you’d like to be a guest author! From the blog, click “I’m interested in writing a blog” on the right and we’ll guide you through the process. 
HD in Action: Stories of Integration from the Field

By Juliette Fernandez

When people ask me where I work and I tell them I work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, their reaction is always the same, “Really? That must be such a fun job!” They picture me washing the oil off the cheeks of baby penguins and walking hand-in-hand with chimps into the slowly setting sun. In truth, there is quite a lot more to the work we do and, these days, it can be much less about penguin cheeks and much more about communicating with people. 

For many of us, we enter this agency either because of our love of the outdoors, our love of wildlife, our love of science, our love of the land, or any combination of these. We train and study these fields so we can share our technical expertise and proficiency and best protect these resources. Suddenly, we find that the human element has become a major factor in how we promote change and how we push conservation forward, but we haven’t had much training in working with people effectively. Increasing these abilities can be one of the best tools we have to make a difference as stewards of America’s land, and here is where the Human Dimensions Branch comes into play.

Over the past several years, I have become increasingly entrenched in the human side of refuge management. Meetings with stakeholders from all walks of life, applying strategic communication, fostering cooperative partnerships, promoting collaborative conservation and, of course, executing conflict management, were all cards in a deck I have played daily. The social sciences were not taught in my biology classes, so on-the-job training and trial and error were my best strategies. Then I heard a presentation by Natalie Sexton, Chief of the Service’s Human Dimensions Branch, and suddenly she was addressing everything that seemed to fill my days on a regular basis. She and I started a dialog and I decided to try on a different hat with a 60-day detail at the Human Dimensions office.

While on my detail, I had the opportunity and time to study and develop the techniques and benefits of working with people effectively. The Human Dimensions Branch has so many resources, webinars, podcasts, and literature to help us, as agency representatives, to build our aptitude when working with people to create the most positive impact. Recently, the branch also rolled out a new FWS HD Resource Portal where all of these resources are available with a guided search tool, an expert directory in case you wish to speak to a subject-matter expert, news and announcements, and a listing of upcoming events.

My primary role while on my detail was to develop a blog feature for the site. But it’s not just a blog! It’s a conversation forum. The blog itself highlights the human dimensions of different challenges we face at the field level. Below each blog is an opportunity for Service employees to comment, share their experiences, offer their advice, and ask questions. It is a place where we, as peers, can start a dialog that will help others who are experiencing similar situations. The blog topics touch on challenges many of us face at refuges and in other programs in the Service, so having examples of how human dimensions can play a role in our decisions can truly change a negative outcome into a positive, build relationships, and gain advocates.

I encourage you to check out the site, read some of the resources, and learn how sharpening these skills can improve your relationships with your community, partners, and even staff. We entered this agency for our love of the outdoors, our love of animals, our love of science, and our love of the land. Understanding the human dimensions of our work cultivates the protection of the things we love. It builds the respect of our neighbors, bridges the interests of our partners, and unites our advocates.

Juliette Fernandez is the Southwest Region Refuge Manager
Got Mobile?

The site is currently undergoing mobile conversion. Soon, the portal will be easily accessible on your phone or tablet.
We need you! 

YOU are the key to making the FWS HD Resource Portal the best it can be. Do you know of an exciting event coming up? Are you aware of a new HD resource that you’d like to share with the conservation community? Email any items to and we’ll add them to the portal.   

We challenge you to bookmark the link to this new portal and share it with 3 of your colleagues. Help us spread the word!
*photo credits: USFWS

Our mailing address is:
Natural Resource Program Center
1201 Oakridge Drive, Suite 320
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525

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