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Regional partnership gathering paves way for collaborative opportunities

A bigger vision, a more diverse audience, a network-based approach to conservation. Just a few of the priorities that emerged during the Regional Conservation Partnerships Network Gathering in November, where North Atlantic LCC staff and partners offered insight on how to move forward on all fronts.
Regional partnership gathering paves way for collaborative opportunities

Brian Hall, Harvard Forest

At a November Regional Conservation Partnerships Network Gathering organized around the theme of cross-sector collaboration, staff and partners of the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) showcased resources that are helping partners work together to achieve shared conservation goals.

From regionally consistent datasets to landscape conservation designs, the North Atlantic LCC is developing tools based on the needs of multiple stakeholders united by the understanding that long-term conservation success cannot be achieved in isolation.

Regional Conservation Partnerships (RCPs) are a prime audience for the collaborative resources made possible by the North Atlantic LCC. Comprising networks of agencies, non-profits, land trusts, and private organizations, RCPs are working to realize long-term conservation goals in 39 areas across New England and eastern New York.

Drawing 150 participants from across the region, the gathering in Nashua, N.H., provided an opportunity to network with new partners, learn about innovative science and tools, and rally around a common vision.

In the opening plenary on “breaking down silos,” Ken Elowe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications, helped set the stage by describing landscape conservation design as both a product and a process that can inform collaborative decisions about conservation.

In three subsequent workshops, staff and partners of the North Atlantic LCC presented efforts underway to put the best-available conservation science in the hands of those who can use it.

Steve Fuller and Andrew Milliken of the North Atlantic LCC, and Brian Hall of Harvard Forest, led a session describing the approach, information and tools being developed by the LCC for conservation planning and design at multiple scales in the Northeast Region.

Abigail Weinberg from the Open Space Institute (OSI) - a recipient of a science delivery grant from the North Atlantic LCC - led a workshop on how specific LCC and partner data and tools can be used to address climate resiliency and biodiversity.

And Nancy McGarigal, lead Natural Resource Planner for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region, and Scott Schwenk, Science Coordinator for the North Atlantic LCC, provided a detailed look at landscape conservation design in action through a tour of the Connecticut River Watershed Landscape Conservation Design Pilot.

Together the presentations provided a sense of the breadth of resources available through the North Atlantic LCC, and offered guidance on how collaborators like RCPs can make use of them.

“This is part of how we have envisioned landscape conservation’s success,” said Milliken, explaining that the RCP gathering provided an opportunity to reach new collaborative partners. “Outreach through existing partner networks is much more effective way of delivering information and tools to those who need them, and of getting meaningful feedback.”

Highstead, OSI, Harvard Forest and LCC staff will be hosting day-long meetings with RCPs in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire in March to show and train them on the use of LCC data and tools for their strategic conservation planning. 

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