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Fundamentals for Conservation Commissioners

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Earn Credit and Ultimate Credibility

Conservation Commissions have a daunting job.

Conservation Commissions across Massachusetts identify important open space areas, work to achieve acquisition or to assist in obtaining state or federal protection, and manage lands for wildlife and other values. In addition they review and condition all development projects near or affecting wetlands and waterbodies. Commissions also are tasked with educating their communities on these important issues. Thus Conservation Commissions play a direct role in preserving vital natural resources in Massachusetts, the third most densely populated state in the country.

The more than 2,500 Conservation Commissioners who at any one time do this work, however, are citizen volunteers appointed by their selectboards or mayors. Each year more than 800 new Commissioners are appointed.

Conservation Commissioners come from all walks of life and have varying levels of experience. Many lack specific credentials in natural resource identification, protective techniques, or administrating a regulatory program. Others have substantial expertise in a relevant area such as law, planning or wetlands science, but need information in other aspects of the job.

MACC created the Conservation Commission Training Program as an adult education program to give Commissioners a working knowledge of the various aspects of their jobs. Participants are exposed to the basics of everything from effective meeting skills to the science and policy of wetlands protection and open space management.

One goal of the MACC Training Program is to create a cadre of Commissioners, aspiring Commissioners, staff and other interested parties in all regions of Massachusetts who have received basic training in the essentials of Commission work.

Experience shows that trained Commissioners do a better job of protecting wetlands and open space. Commissioners now have the tools to make consistent, informed and defensible decisions. Greater effectiveness builds community respect and job satisfaction.

We currently offer the 11-Unit Fundamentals For Conservation Commissioners training program.