Boots on the Ground: A Manual for Battlefield Friends Groups
Recognizing that even the most dynamic and well-managed park benefits from an engaged cadre of neighbors and supporters, the American Battlefield Trust has sought to codify and articulate best practices for groups supporting relevant historical parks in a new report, Boots on the Ground: A Manual for Battlefield Friends Groups. This user-friendly analysis from the Walker Collaborative, supported by matching grant funding from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program, discloses best practices for “friends groups” — typically volunteer-driven, non-profit entities that offer support to their associated battlefield park.
With more than 100 friends groups in 26 states directly involved at Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War sites and the number ever-growing, the manual seeks to galvanize local groups in the effort of keeping our nation’s heritage protected. In recent years, development proposals that threaten the livelihood of our hallowed grounds have become increasingly prevalent and powerful – jeopardizing both preserved and un-preserved battlefield land. Due to the nature of their work, often friends group serve as the first line of defense and are the first aware of potential threats or further preservation opportunities.
The manual, available here in PDF format, explore a wide range of topics from how to build relationships and leadership to performing effective community outreach. With plenty of real-life examples from established friends groups, the best practices guide includes a survey on current active battlefield partners organizations and outlines plans to help achieve and excel in the group’s mission. An inventory of friends group and results of the survey are also available in the manual.