The Sierra Club’s grassroots advocacy has made it America’s most influential environmental organization. Founded in 1892, we are now more than 700,000 members strong. Many of you are new to the Club and probably aren’t familiar with our organizational structure. Even some of you who have been members for a number of years perhaps could use a quick refresher course in Sierra Club 101.
First, let’s start at the grassroots level with you, the members. Many of you volunteer to take part in activities such as protest rallies, appearing at public hearings, writing letters, phone banking, etc. You may participate in our outings program, Conservation Committee, or simply come to our regular group or chapter meetings.
Now what’s a group? Sierra Club has four groups in Nebraska:
- Missouri Valley Group, which is based in Omaha, includes nearby counties: Douglas, Sarpy, Dodge, Washington, etc.
- Bluestem Group, which is based in Lincoln, has the southeastern region of the state, including Nebraska City, York, and David City.
- Cottonwood Group, which is based in Grand Island, central eastern third of the state, including Kearney, Ord, and O’Neill.
- Platte Valley Group, which encompasses much of the western half of the state, including much of the Sandhills region and the Panhandle.
Each group has an Executive Committee (ExCom) with 7 members elected for 2-year terms by the group membership. Each ExCom appoints officers including Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Committee Chairs, such as Conservation Chair. The groups are responsible for activities at the local level.
Those Sierra Club members living outside the Omaha and Lincoln areas are encouraged to work with the Chapter to form local groups. We have “Go-to-Meeting” program which allows groups to meet by computer or phone with each other or with the Chapter. Contact our webmaster, Albert Lierz at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on these possibilities.
Although our bylaws allow groups to have sections, none currently exist in Nebraska. Sections are special interest groups such as Sierra Singles or Sierra Climbers. Eco-Kids, an environmental education program in Omaha, operates much like a section within the MVG, but isn’t formally organized as a section.
The Nebraska Chapter
The Nebraska Chapter itself has an ExCom with 11 members elected for 2-year terms by all members in the state. In addition, each group appoints a delegate to the Chapter ExCom. The Chapter ExCom coordinates club conservation efforts at the state level, with a major focus on state legislation. Our part-time lobbyist contractor, is employed by the Chapter. Overall, the Sierra Club has 62 chapters in the U.S. and four in Canada.
Regional Conservation Committees
The Northern Plains Regional Conservation Committee (NPRCC) includes representatives from Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming. There are eleven RCCs that transcend boundaries of individual chapters to effectively address conservation issues at a regional level. Each chapter sends two delegates to RCC meetings. The NPRCC has an office in Sheridan, WY, with several full-time employees.