CTSP Newsletter (Web Version) PAGE 3
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CTSP 1999, Bigger and Better than Ever!

( Map: Distribution of 1999 CTSP US grants by type of group. The 15 or so International and Alaska Grants made do not appear)

The 1999 CTSP grants showed continued expansion in several important areas. It was our largest year for international grants ever, With applications from 8 countries, and grants to 5. Critical to our international success has been our "Mentorship" approach, where all international grants are done in close cooperation with a US-based mentor who helps provide training and on-site support. This allowed our International grants to increase tenfold over all prior years.
1999 was a big year in many respects. We sent out 15,000 grant announcements to conservation groups all over the world, and our little web site (www.ctsp.org) logged over 10,000 hits. We received 154 applications from countries including Guatemala, Indonesia and Russia. Our review team was the largest ever, including nearly 20 Conservation GIS experts from all over the globe. This was the first year our reviews and evaluations were conducted directly on a GIS database system, allowing us to see spatial patterns in prior grants as we considered the conservation and regional impact of current grants. Altogether we granted 1 million dollars worth of advanced Hewlett-Packard Pentium computers, plotters and printers and ESRI software, data, books and training. The map above shows the spatial patterns of 1999 grants in terms of location as well as the type of conservation activity of each group

Larry Orman, Greeninfo Network

When I first started building a non-profit GIS support organization in 1995, "CTSP" was a distant and somewhat mysterious black box, out of which could come incredible resources to turn visions into reality. Trips to the James Reserve near the time of the ESRI User Conferences fleshed out that remote image with its most important dimension, people. Sitting in the small meadow there, I was so impressed at the range of people doing inspired conservation GIS, often with very modest resources. After being around this community for a couple of years, the whole world of CTSP seemed to gain focus and identity.

A year ago, I was asked if I would take over managing the CTSP program. After capably administering CTSP since its founding, Marshall Mayer of Desktop Assistance was moving into other endeavors with his new venture eBase (www.ebase.org). Since October, my team at GreenInfo Network (www.greeninfo.org) has been working to continue and, where possible, improve CTSP -- and at the same time find the resources to sustain the program. I'd like to share with you some of the learning that has come our way in that time.

1. CTSP is its people: I can't say enough about how terrific all the people involved with CTSP are, but I'll try:

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS: These eight people are the machine that keeps CTSP moving, and each of them deserves gold medals for engagement, leadership and effort.

THE REVIEWERS: Each grant cycle, 25-30 people from all aspects of the conservation and GIS world pitch in and give very thoughtful reviews to a total of 150 applications. This is matched by a couple of CTSP board members, who review every single application, a huge task.

(Photo: CTSP Director and Reviewer Steve Beckwitt (left) explains Conservation GIS to Dr. Paul Ehrlich (center) and Dr. Michael Soule (behind Dr. Ehrlich) at a 1992 Stanford workshop. C. Convis)

THE APPLICANTS AND GRANTEES: Over 500 groups have asked CTSP for support, with about a third gaining grants. Whether successful or not, each of these applications is a gift, as it informs CTSP and the reviewers about important work and ideas. And watching those who get the awards put them to work is the greatest aspect of the program.

2. Without our sponsors and funders, there would be no CTSP: ESRI and Hewlett Packard have been nothing short of phenomenal in their commitment to CTSP -- there really are few other such durable partnerships in the nation. Particular thanks go to ESRI's Charles Convis, who pours so much of his mind and heart into supporting conservation GIS, and to HP's unflappable Forrest Whitt, who has made this program one of the most successful in all HP's grant-making. Additional thanks are due the Hewlett Foundation which has been a long time partner for CTSP and, just recently, to the Packard Foundation. Other past sponsors (Apple, Trimble and others) are also due credit.

3. CTSP is headed in very important new directions: We're going to keep our current scale of grant making intact, but we want to open up two initiatives: a) more resources to give to grantees, including additional hardware and data; and b) more support for grantees, especially on-site/"circuit rider" assistance and support for regional groupings of grantees. We have to find the resources to do this, but we know they will both pay off handsomely. In addition, CTSP wants to improve its grant-making process and will be doing a number of things to make it as efficient as possible, from a grant seekers' perspective.

CTSP is also very appreciative of ESRI and SCGIS for helping develop this publication, and we look forward to even more collaboration in the years ahead.

After working with CTSP for the past year, it now almost seems intimate, compared to my earlier sense of it. I hope this brochure will make it seem a bit more accessible to you, too, because CTSP belongs to all of us.



All text © by the respective organizations, November 15, 1999

Compilation & web design: Charles Convis, ESRI Conservation Program, November 15, 1999