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.
Keynote Provides Roadmap for Connecting Whole Landscapes
Keynote Speaker Tracy Stanton, Executive Director of the Emerald Alliance for People, Nature, and Community, shared a bold vision for reimagining the role of conservation in the Central Puget Sound region of Washington, “seeing conservation actions not as an end, but as a catalyst for sustaining natural, social, cultural, and economic resources that connect people and communities to the landscape.” Watch the video of Stanton’s remarks below.