Partners for Conservation was honored to partner with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pheasants Forever, and others as a part of the first Western Working Lands for Wildlife Workshop held June 18-20 in Twin Falls, Idaho. Over 200 attendees primarily from 19 western states gathered to hear about some of the latest research and technical tools as well as stories of partnerships that are working to ensure resilient rangelands to benefit the triple-bottom line of ecologic, economic, and community outputs that flow from western rangelands and the human community they support.
Previously this meeting had been convened by the Working Lands or Wildlife Sage Grouse Initiative and focused on the eleven western states engaged in that effort. Not only was the geographic scope bigger this year, the meeting also grew to include rangeland landowners that joined the state, federal, and nonprofit organization private lands biologists and academics that have gathered annually since 2010.
In addition to technical information related to monitoring, management, and planning around rangelands, attendees were treated to stories of conservation partnerships as told by landowners who shared many of the messages that Partners for Conservation has learned over the years. Topics and terms such as trust, good communication, relationships, partnerships, voluntary conservation, and the triple bottom line were common to all of the place-based stories shared. Also evident was the commonality of challenges that these landowners shared no matter where their operation was located in the West. Finally, the importance of individual initiative, perseverance and leadership was evident even when not specifically called out during the presentations.
Even though the reason for convening was sustaining both the human and ecologic systems that comprise western rangelands, the session reinforced once again that conservation is a “people business” and the relationships and partnerships formed between individuals of diverse perspectives are truly the key to GSD, or Getting Stuff Done!