Create your 2022 Conservation Action Plan in 5 Steps 

By Peter Braun

Many of us set New Year’s resolutions recommitting to the environment or our health. Maybe you decided to get more active outdoors, volunteer more, or get more involved in the conservation community. With constant news, climate-anxiety, and even burnout, sometimes we need a little help to stick to our goals. Creating a simple plan is one of the best ways to stick to our goals and form habits. Let’s make a personal conservation action plan this year!

CRLC has a lot in store for this year, from monthly events to get more involved in local conservation, to projects both big and small, to new stories emerging from our community. Whether it’s with CRLC or in your daily actions, setting environmentally focused goals is good for the earth and your sense of climate hope. 

We’ve reinterpreted the popular SMART-goals format (setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time Related) to design a flexible, personal plan:

This is your plan; make it your own. Pull out a sheet of paper, your journal, or just a Word Document on your computer, whatever you are most likely to keep track of. You can use lots of colors and pictures, or keep it super simple. If you need an accountability buddy, ask a friend or family member to join you in setting the same goals or actions along the way.

What’s the main goal? – Set a broad goal in one sentence. Do you want to get involved with a conservation organization? Do you want start a garden? Do you want to hike more? Write it down.

Be specific. – Ask yourself questions to identify 5 specific actions to take this year and list them out. 

  • For example: If your main goal this year is to get involved in an environmental organization, how can you make this effort a success? You are more likely to have opportunities to get involved and stay connected if you pick an organization that serves your local community. CRLC, and our partners like Southside ReLeafFriends of the Lower Appomattox River, and Keep Virginia Cozy, work in Richmond and the surrounding counties to improve this community. Some action items for this year might include:

Why are you taking action? Make a list of reasons why you want to make this change. People join the conservation movement for all sorts of reasons: care for their community, love of nature, curiosity about the world, and even fear of climate change. If your effort is rooted in fear, look for a new framework: “I want to care for and protect my family.” If you feel you want to give up or disengage later on, this list will help you remember what your work is for.

Setting realistic goals will mean that you are more likely to achieve them. Attending every volunteer event throughout the year might not be realistic. How about attending 4 events, one in each season? Life gets overwhelming, so if find your goals were not realistic, its okay to revise your plan.

You may forget to keep up with your goal if there are not checkpoints and reminders along the way. If you wrote your plan by hand, post it somewhere you can see it.

Check off your actions on your plan as you go throughout the year.  If you miss an event or action alert, you can find a makeup event. You can even build in rewards, like buying yourself a new houseplant or treating yourself to a local brew. Some actions, like attending a fun volunteer event with a friend, may be reward enough. Remember that these actions are for you and your community. Be proud of the connections and change you make!

We would love to hear how your Conservation Plan goes! Tag us on social media or send us an email  at peter@capitalregionland.org if you would like to share your progress.

Picture of Peter Braun

Peter Braun

CRLC Community Engagement Manager