Cornell UniversityThe Nature Conservancy

Education and Learning

Active learning is critical at all stages of CBDMDeer and City - Photo © Graeme Purdy - iStock

If your community is just getting started, you’ll need to gather information on things such as local deer impacts on public health, safety, and damage to natural areas. Similarly, to select the management actions that are best for your community you’ll need to spend time learning about deer biology, management options and successful examples from other communities—like those featured in the CBDM Community Examples. There is no need to “reinvent the wheel!”

Consult a variety of materials

What kinds of educational materials should your community consult during the CBDM process? Deer-related information is available in many formats—printed reports and articles, websites and blogs, videos and radio broadcasts/podcasts are just a few of the resources available. You can get started by browsing our Resource Library.

Share and summarize

Even the best educational materials are only as good as your community’s learning process. Gear the educational content and format to your community’s needs at any given time. At a minimum, make all materials available in their entirety to establish transparent process and build trust. Most stakeholders will also appreciate thoughtful syntheses and summaries of information such as a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document, learning forums, or interactive discussion sessions.

Learn by doing

Finally, do not underestimate the importance of “learning by doing.” As you prepare to implement your program, think about how you will evaluate its success. Write it down. Purposeful learning about what works and what doesn’t will help your community adapt its CBDM program to meet the needs of deer, people, and natural areas over time.

Common Questions

There's no right amount of information your community needs to know in order to move forward. As described in the best practices described on this site, it's important to understand the nature of the deer management problem in your community, and to bring in content experts as needed. Education and learning is an important part of the CBDM process. However, it is possible for a community to experience "paralysis by analysis", feeling like there is still too much to learn before a decision can be made. But, at some point, your community will have to move forward. Do your due diligence regarding education and learning, make a decision, and when you reach the evaluation stage of the process, be willing to reassess your decision given any new information your community has learned. 

Stakeholder engagement can be accomplished in many ways, so it does not look exactly the same in every community. Some communities get input from public meetings or comments on proposed actions; some collect information using surveys of community residents. Other communities involve stakeholders more directly, using in face-to-face deliberations like focus groups or workshops. Over time communities may gather information using a combination of several approaches. The best approach for engaging people will depend on factors such as: the level of conflict over deer, the number of stakeholders affected, how interested and aware stakeholders are in the deer management issue, how much information decision makers need from stakeholders, as well as any resource limitations your community might have. For more discussion on this, please see Decker et al. 2002.

Please see our resources tab for a variety of educational resources that may be helpful to you. You will even find some pre-made PowerPoint presentations that you may use and alter for educational purposes. You may also find it helpful to contact your county's Cooperative Extension office for additional educational resources.