The ACCT focuses on several initiatives implemented on a Team-wide scale. This regional cooperation allows us to research and execute projects that would otherwise be outside the range of any individual community group. The results of our initiatives benefit watershed groups throughout Appalachia.
The OSM/VISTA Teams are committed to building and supporting partnerships that benefit and engage the communities that lie within the boundaries of each watershed the Team serves. In an effort to better enable this approach, all new OSM/VISTAs are asked to work with their sponsoring organization to build relationships with other community organizations, public administrators and legislative offices within their watershed. To develop this engagement process, the OSM/VISTA Teams require that every new OSM/VISTA assist his or her organization in the development of a Basic Engagement Plan.
Recruiting and retaining volunteers is always a challenge for any community group. The OSM/VISTA Teams conducted research on volunteerism methods across Appalachia and the West to look at motivations, concerns, demographics and behaviors of rural watershed volunteers through survey data. Simultaneously, this study evaluated 25 volunteer management approaches for replication by rural watershed groups. Through this research, the ACCT developed the Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers (www.RuralVolunteer.org) to make volunteerism work better for rural community groups.
ARRI represents a coalition of government, industry, and community groups dedicated to the reforestation of abandoned mine lands in the Eastern United States. Many ACCT OSM/VISTAs throughout the region have partnered with ARRI to achieve successful tree planting events in their watersheds.