2018 RCP Network Gathering, November 15

The 2018 RCP Network Gathering held this year at UMass-Amherst was a watershed event. Close to 300 participants, including RCP coordinators, land trust staff and members, planners, researchers, students, and others interested in collaborative conservation and regional planning, helped us to identify and build the connections between the woods, farms, wildlands, and waterways that link New England’s rural to urban landscapes. The keynote by Tracy Stanton, executive director of The Emerald Alliance, brought perspective from the Puget Sound region in Washington state to highlight how a “whole landscape” approach to land conservation can benefit people and wildlife, and ensure sustainable, healthy communities. Eighteen workshops and networking opportunities throughout the day focused on building the capacity of RCPs and land trusts to protect land, but with emphasis on bringing new partners from the planning and academic and research communities to work toward a resilient future across the northeast.

This year’s event relied on story exchange and cross-sector networking, hand in hand with presentations and facilitated discussion, to inspire conference goers to up their game to reach local and regional land protection goals. We are excited about the momentum generated at this year’s conference, and look forward to seeing new partnerships emerge and more land conserved as a result.

Our agenda offered six tracks focused on future scenarios planning, communications, funding conservation, forestry and farming, smart growth and land use planning.

Stay tuned for workshop presentations, keynote videos, and more from this year’s conference!

RCP Network Gathering Keynote Speaker 

Tracy Stanton, Executive Director of The Emerald Alliance for People, Nature and Community in Washington State, brought 20+ years of experience in environmental policy and conservation finance strategies to this year’s RCP Network Gathering. Her current work with The Emerald Alliance, a new regional initiative funded and incubated by the Bullitt Foundation, focuses on connecting the many efforts to protect open space across central Puget Sound. She also serves as the Ambassador of the Green-Duwamish Urban Waters Partnership, with support from the US Forest Service.

Central Puget Sound in Washington is the fastest growing region in the country and is poised to grow by another 1.8 million people by 2050. For the past decade, a group of academics, planning professionals, and conservation advocates have been working to develop a bold regional vision for protecting and sustaining the treasured landscapes across the region in the face of intense development pressure. The Regional Open Space Strategy (ROSS) catalyzed this vision and called for a Regional Open Space Conservation Plan and the creation of a new regional entity, The Emerald Alliance for People, Nature and Community, to steward this vision by creating a platform for greater collaboration across sectors, agencies, and geography.

The Emerald Alliance is founded on the idea that protecting traditional open space and working lands while simultaneously attending to urban natural infrastructure protects and sustains the region’s treasured livability. This dual approach addresses key challenges to that livability such as climate change and associated threats to human health and wellbeing, supporting strong yet equitable economic growth from rural to urban, and preserving the fundamental ecosystem services that support the ever growing population across the region.”

~ Tracy Stanton

Before moving to Seattle, WA in July 2009, Tracy worked in the Washington, DC area with a number of organizations always dedicated to building the capacity of government professionals, especially in the areas of environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. While working with the non-profit, Forest Trends and the Ecosystem Marketplace, her research led to the 2010 publication, Payments for Watershed Services: An Emerging Marketplace.

Tracy received a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Maryland, School of Public Policy.