The Holistic Management Project

An Effective Practice


The Washington State University Holistic Management Project was envisioned as a way to improve social, ecological, and economic conditions in the State of Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Starting in 1995, one hundred fifty-eight women and men from a variety of backgrounds came together in four geographic regions. The purpose of the project was to empower those people to (1) develop sustainable agricultural/natural resource systems, (2) become better decision-makers and leaders through holistic thinking/action and (3) improve collaborative relationships with each other, businesses, communities, state/federal agencies, governments, educational institutions, organizations, and environmental groups through the use of the Holistic Management model and the consensus process.

Goal / Mission

The mission of the Holistic Management Project was to develop capacity in a diverse group of individuals and to improve the social, ecological, and economic status of the state of Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Results / Accomplishments

The results of this project have far exceeded expectations.
-Participants are being trained in Holistic Management (including decision making, goal development, biological, financial, and land planning/monitoring), consensus building, personal development and leadership skills, community development, and policy analysis.
-Participants have formed twenty-three management support groups to teach others and/or to work on local projects and issues.
-Five project participants are receiving further training to become Certified Educators in Holistic management. They are actively teaching and serving as facilitators in Washington, the Colville Nation, and throughout the United States.
-Participants, their families, and the people, businesses, institutions, communities, governments, and organizations they have influenced are experiencing many positive social, ecological, and/or economic changes.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Sandra M. Matheson, D.V.M
228 East Smith Road
Bellingham, WA 98226
(360) 398-7866
Social Environment / Community & Business Resources
Education / Vocational & Adult Education
Economy / Employment
Washington State University
UN Habitat and Together Foundation
Date of publication
Date of implementation