Conservation and Endorsement Activities
WNPS is an organization dedicated to the conservation of the native plants of Washington State. There are many ways the Society's members and officers can act to further that cause. Indeed, the number of environmental organizations and causes needing attention could overwhelm any conservationist. Society members are asked to support conservation activities, to endorse petitions and legislative proposals, and to write letters.
This policy statement provides guidelines for Society members and officers who wish to endorse a conservation activity in some way and lend the name of the WNPS to that. The policy's intent is to provide guidelines for endorsement of activities by the WNPS, as an organization, and not to direct the personal statements or actions of its members though these guidelines may help members assess the degree an activity is in support of the Society's mission.
The mission statement of the WNPS is:
To promote the appreciation and conservation of Washington's native plants and their habitats through study, education and advocacy.
All conservation activities receiving the endorsement of the WNPS should directly further the Society's goals. The following sections present guidelines for deciding to endorse an activity or not.
- What is the importance of the activity to native plant conservation? If the connection is not obviously strong, or readily explained, endorsement by the WNPS may be inappropriate. The weaker the connection is, the less is the endorsement appropriate.
- The WNPS should endorse only those subjects on which the WNPS has expertise. Endorsement of proposed clean water legislation, for example, may be inappropriate. Can the WNPS legitimately claim special knowledge on the proposed issue? If not, the endorsement has no special significance and should not be granted.
- Do those promoting the activity explicitly address native plant conservation in their position statements? If not, and the issue is significant to the WNPS' goals, the WNPS should not endorse the activity until the connection is made part of those statements. The WNPS is an advocate for native plants and its responsibility to educate the public mandates advocacy.
- Is the issue unaddressed by other organizations? Does it need WNPS' help? If prioritization of issues is needed, consideration should be given to the selection of activities which have no other advocates or few.
Examples of Application of the Guidelines
- Consider the proposed elimination of mountain goats from the Olympic National Park. The center of the controversy is protection of native plants, the Society has special knowledge of these endemic species, and opposition to the action is strong. Clearly WNPS endorsement of the proposal is appropriate.
- On the other hand, the initiative recently proposed by People for Puget Sound to enact a law to better protect water quality in Puget Sound does not satisfy the guidelines. The issue is a popular one, the initiative does not specifically address its relationship to native plants, and the WNPS has no valid claim to expertise.
The Nature of the Endorsement
- WNPS endorsement of a conservation activity may be quite a strong one, as in the case of a Board-approved statement of policy. A position of advocacy of this sort must meet a high standard of agreement with these guidelines.
- Entry into lawsuits and formal statements for or against legislation or actions of state and federal government agencies must have Board approval. WNPS will not endorse candidates for public office.
- Other WNPS endorsements of conservation activities, such as educational articles in a chapter newsletter, commit the Society less and need not meet the same standards as more formal statements of advocacy. Nonetheless, the spirit of the guidelines should be met.
Requests for Endorsement
- Requests for endorsement to the State Board will be decided upon by the full Board or the executive committee (depending on the timing) using the criteria outlined in this policy.
- Local chapters may make their own endorsement decisions following these Conservation and Endorsement guidelines, independent of the state, with special attention to the "nature of the endorsement" outlined above. Chapter endorsements will be in the chapter's name.
Approved by the Executive Board: October 12, 1996
Revised and adopted: 10/17/98, 9/9/2000