NeighborWoods Network Exchange

Peer Learning through Professional Exchange
College Park, MD (May 15, 2008)- The Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) is pleased to announce the NeighborWoods Network Exchange, a program to further peer learning through professional exchange among ACT members. Since ACT members are action-oriented, on-the-ground organizations, the NeighborWoods Network Exchange’s main purpose is to encourage hands-on learning.

NeighborWoods Network Exchange is a mentoring program especially designed for members of ACT. Through Peer-to-Peer Mentoring, groups work together to share experiences, build alliances, create leadership opportunities, and learn new skills.
Thanks to the support and generosity of local member groups, ACT matches interested participants (Mentees) with teaching organizations (Mentors).
Networking and learning from peer organizations is a great way to strengthen your staff and distribute knowledge throughout your organization. Consider sending new or seasoned staff members or volunteer leaders on a field trip to another city to collect fresh ideas and explore new perspectives.
ACT gratefully acknowledges the assistance and inspiration of California ReLeaf in developing the NeighborWoods Network Exchange.
Peer-to-Peer Mentoring
Mentors agree to provide up to one week of on-site access in which Mentees observe a range of programs, take part in daily operations, and shadow staff. Mentee organizations receive support and guidance from those who share similar goals and draw from a wealth of experience. Mentor organizations receive leadership training in action, strengthen their community network, and motivate and inspire emerging organizations.
ACT members help one another minimize time and resource requirements by connecting the innovative ideas and organized approaches of successful projects for members to replicate. ACT members serve as case studies to others as they create new programs and retool existing ones.
To the Mentee Group
* Gain innovative ideas on program design (e.g. techniques of tree planting and care, education and outreach, event organizing, membership development, and volunteer recruitment) and organizational operations (e.g. board development, staff management, and fundraising).
* Build strong leadership within your organization.
* Subsidized travel up to $1,000 for Peer-to-Peer Mentoring.
* Free lodging through an in-home/in-community experience may be available through some Mentors.
To the Mentor Group
* Establish support networks with other professionals in the field.
* Receive recognition for your organization’s accomplishments.
* Build strong leadership within the urban and community forestry field.
* $99 credit per person for any ACT-sponsored training including NeighborWoods Academy/Annual Meeting and the Community Tree Leadership Forum.
Peer-to-Peer Mentoring
1. Organizations wishing to be mentored should complete the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Application.
2. Once a Mentee Group is approved, ACT will pair that organization with an organizationally and/or geographically compatible Mentor Group.
3. Mentee Groups will be asked to document what they learned from the exchange. Both Mentors and Mentees may also be asked to speak at an ACT Webcast to share their experience.
No Time To Travel?
Pick up the phone. As a member of ACT, your organization is part of a lively peer network that shares knowledge and encourages replication of great ideas.
* Look at ACT’s Resource Matrix to find another member group operating a program of interest, and then use the Member Directory to call another ACT member.
* Contact ACT program staff for advice about who does what. Request guidance and support in implementing your program.
* Visit ACT Webcast Archive and Success Stories to find model organizations & programs:
NeighborWoods Network Exchange participants meet the following requirements:
* Be a member of ACT.
* Mentor Groups have a mission statement, action plan outlining their goals and activities, and an active governing body.
* Mentor Groups have paid staff or dedicated volunteers that can devote the necessary time to Mentees.
Trees anchor a healthy urban ecology, and ACT is the problem-solving and best-practice center for planting and protecting those trees. Through information sharing, training, technical assistance, policy and program development, and advocacy, ACT pulls together the pioneering work of citizen foresters across the country to improve the quality of life for us all.
Related Resources:
NeighborWoods Network Exchange Brochure and Matrix
Urban Forestry Success Stories
ACT Webcast Series
California ReLeaf Leadership from the Grassroots Up