Updated: Jun 8
At the monthly BIEPA members' meeting on 27th February, the management team presented an outline of a proposed strategic plan aimed at maximising our impact by activating our membership.
It is the management team's job to define our strategy, but of course we absolutely want it to take into account input from all members, so we are looking for volunteers to help us flesh out the details.
Read on to find out more about the plan, and scroll to the end to see how you can help...
Coming up with a plan
Late last year we held a series of strategic planning workshops involving the BIEPA management committee and enthusiastic BIEPA members Darren Jew, Cecelia Wilson, and Hari Kotrotsios, facilitated by the brilliant Mary Burgess of Woven Memories.
We came to the conclusion that coming up with ideas for projects and goals is not our primary problem; we had no shortage of things that BIEPA could or should be doing. In fact the breadth and depth of things we need to do often feels overwhelming.
No, our main challenge is in expanding and activating our membership so that we have enough people to run all our projects — without overloading anyone — so we can get things done that actually make a difference. It's not enough to just make lots of noise; we have to work smarter to have a tangible impact.
So we came up with a plan that defines BIEPA's mission in such a way that we can break it down into a set of mission teams, each one focused on a specific aspect of our overall mission. Each team can define their own goals, and will execute projects to achieve those goals. It's up to each team to decide how much effort they can commit to their projects. This limits what each team has to worry about, making their own goals feel more achievable.
Important: All our existing projects will find a home in one of the missions teams; we are not shutting down any projects.
We also came up with a vision statement, and have started to define some common policies and procedures that will guide all the mission teams. This is information that we need to provide when applying for grants, for example.
Please bear in mind that we are all volunteers doing this in our spare time, so we have taken our time to try and get it right, and we are very aware that there's more work to be done. That's where all our other BIEPA members come in.
Our vision statement
Our vision statement should be a succinct description of how we want things to be in the future. It's tempting to try to put lots of good things into this, but then it can become an unwieldy sentence reminiscent of a legal document!
We decided to keep it short but sweet:
Bribie, an island sanctuary where life flourishes.
We feel this captures the essence of the future we want to create for Bribie's native and human residents. Also, it fits on a T-shirt!
The words "island sanctuary" came from our forum on nature-based tourism and are also on our T-shirts. They also appear on the MBRC sign on the left as you come onto the bridge. Let's make those words come true! Let's make Bribie a place where native plants and animals really do get special protection.
The words "life flourishes" were inspired by Bill Gammage's list of rules that guided aboriginal management of country in his epic book The Biggest Estate on Earth:
Ensure that all life flourishes.
Make plants and animals abundant, convenient and predictable.
Think universal, act local.
We believe that native life on the island can flourish in harmony with human life.
Our mission statement
Our mission statement says what we aim to do in order to turn our vision into reality. We decided that we want to help life to flourish on our island sanctuary by:
protecting, maintaining, and restoring the native flora and fauna on and around the island;
assessing and improving the natural environment, including the surrounding waters;
monitoring and influencing urban development and promoting nature-based tourism; and
proactively engaging with the local community to grow our membership and raise funds & awareness.
This is an ambitious mission that almost feels like trying to land on the Moon! To make it feel more achievable, we're proposing a set of teams who will each tackle one aspect, rather than a few people trying to do everything at once.
Our proposed mission teams
We came up with the following set of teams to tackle each aspect of our mission:
Native Fauna — helping the native animals on Bribie and it's surrounding waters to flourish.
Native Flora — weeding and planting to protect and restore the endemic plants of our unique sand island.
Natural Environment — preserving habitat, clearing litter, and repairing damage to the environment upon which our native species depend.
Tourism & Development — promoting nature-based tourism as a way to increase local investment in the natural environment of Bribie, and monitoring development to make sure planning guidelines are followed and improved.
Community Engagement — using social media, local newspapers, and high-profile events to raise awareness and raise funds, including signature events that everyone on the island cherishes.
The names of these teams may change once the team members get together to refine their mission, goals, and projects. It's up to each team to determine their own destiny!
The role of the management committee team is to coordinate and facilitate the mission teams, as well as operating the association according to government rules. For example, the committee defines important policies and procedures that all teams must follow, such as Privacy and Health & Safety policies, and helps teams with grants and budgets.
Of course, there is going to be some overlap between teams, so we need to be flexible. We shouldn't get too hung up on which team owns which project; it may just come down to which team has the right expertise to make the project successful.
For example: our Backyard Biodiversity project aims to increase diversity of native birds, insects, and reptiles, but in practice is about planting the right kind of native plants in backyards on Bribie. So that project is currently with the Native Flora team, who have the relevant expertise with plants.
The structure of our teams
Each team will have two team leaders and a handful of team members, all of whom must be BIEPA members. None of them have to be on the management committee, but the team leaders must report to the committee and periodically give updates at monthly members' meetings. There are two leaders so that neither one gets overloaded.
Teams can also have an unlimited number of team helpers, who don't need to be BIEPA members or commit to ongoing involvement.
Each team will also have:
a mission — as above, but written the way the team wants
current goals — specific outcomes to be achieved, with measurable targets
active and future projects — activities that are working towards goals
Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed.
Each project will have a manager, so the mission team leaders can delegate a lot of work to project managers to avoid the team leaders getting overloaded.
Now we need you!
At the moment we have team leaders lined up for all the teams, but they'll need up to six additional team members prepared to commit some of their spare time to projects, perhaps even leading a project they're particularly passionate about. The team leaders and the management team can offer a lot of support and advice on running projects, so as team members you will not be going it alone.
So, here's what you can do to help:
Read about each team, understand their mission and goals, and think about what projects you could help with.
Join the team on our website (see below, or contact the team leaders) if you can commit to helping on projects, possibly leading a project you really care about.
If you can't commit, consider being a team helper, i.e. someone who can occasionally help on projects but isn't able to lead any.
If you need contact details for a team leader, just ask: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joining a team on our website
We're experimenting with a place for teams on our website (using Wix Groups) so that members can easily join a team and share news with their team.
Please see how you go, and let us know if anything doesn't work.
Read about our teams
First choose a team to find out more:
Make sure you are logged in to the website using the email address and password you originally used to sign up to BIEPA, so that it knows who you are.
Select Teams from the navigation menu at the top of the page.
Click on a team's name or cover photo to read more about it.
Below the list of teams you'll see a news feed from the team(s) you are in.
Join a team
Learn more about a particular team and ask to join:
When you view a team, the About tab describes their mission and goals.
Press the Request to Join button to join that team.
You will now appear in the list of team members.
As a team member you can post comments and pictures that everyone in the team will see, and reply to posts from other members (similar to Facebook). You can read about activities you can help with on the Projects tab.
The About and Projects tabs are still in the process of being filled out by team leaders.
A big thank-you goes out to everyone who has been involved in this planning process, and everyone who has helped on BIEPA projects in the past. We are optimistic that by getting more BIEPA members involved in rewarding projects we will amplify BIEPA's impact in the future.