Last June I wrote for this column and addressed regionalization. Now that it has been accomplished, the following is a brief summary of our evolving organization and potential for growth.
Those who have visited IECA’s website within the last several months have seen the new, yet still simple, world map indicating Region One and Region Two. Users can click on their region, which can also be set as their default home region. The Region One website continues to make changes so that it becomes more user friendly and inclusive; this is an ongoing project as chapters become more prominent and as software changes. The Region One homepage will link to our largest chapter, Canada and the Untied States. The sub-chapters, although not officially designated as such, are our former chapters. The second chapter in Region One is, of course, IberoAmerica. The Region Two link will direct the user to news and events for the largest and strongest chapter, Australasia. As Region Two gains momentum, we can expect additional links to its other chapters, South Africa, Malaysia, and India.
The International Regional Council (IRC) had its first face-to-face meeting at Environmental Connection in San Diego. Region One representatives included Nicky Araujo (IA Chapter), John Peterson (US/Canada), and myself (US/Canada); and from Region Two, proxies included Rick Morse, Michael Frankcombe, and Roley NÃ¶ffke, with Chief of Council Mike Harding presiding.
Several solid decisions were made at the meeting and included these four main points: 1) Representatives Morse and Peterson will review the current bylaws of both regions. 2) A constitution is needed for the entire organization. Representatives Morse and Peterson were tasked with reviewing the existing draft and making proposed revisions, keeping in mind there should be a requirement for “regular consultation” between the two regions. 3) The SOIL Fund will be overseen by the IRC, which will make decisions on projects needing support. Region One and Region Two are responsible for selecting members for SOIL Fund subcommittees to review proposals before they are submitted to the IRC. 4) The IRC agrees to use SOIL funds to hire a grant writer, Deborah Van Hoewyk.
The IRC is registered as a nonprofit under IECA-IRC in Colorado. IECA Headquarters has transferred Region Two membership; therefore, Region Two is now financially and structurally independent from Region One.
Most importantly, the IRC supported several Region Two events by assisting the chief of council, Mike Harding, to attend the Mining Rehabilitation Conference at the Cypress Lakes Resort in Hunter Valley, Australia, in May. As one of several keynote speakers, Harding presented “Evolution of Mining Reclamation in the USA.” From there he traveled to the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) and the IECA Region Two conference, which was held May 26-June 1, in Johannesburg, South Africa. WOCAT is a global network of sustainable land management specialists. This was a great step for spreading our message by one of Region One’s most knowledgeable spokespersons.For IECA to have a global presence, we need to think beyond our comfort zones and seek out what others are doing, or are not doing, in the disciplines of erosion and sediment control. It’s important to learn what we can and find ways to contribute in a worldly sense. Our goal is to continue to brand IECA. Our focus should also be on branding and supporting the SOIL Fund to, in turn, help areas with fewer resources. As we have selected the next two locations for Environmental Connection conference (Nashville in 2014 and Portland in 2015), I challenge you to think about the 2016 location, as we would love to hear your ideas.