Each year our staff, along with 2,000 other passionate individuals attend Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference hosted by the Land Trust Alliance (Alliance). The Alliance’s mission is to save the places we love by strengthening land conservation efforts across the United States. Rally is a time to connect with colleagues, experience wild places and be inspired by the great work land trusts are doing across the country. Hear from two of our staff who attended Rally for the first time. (Find them on the About the Conference page)
Carl Taylor: GIS & Conservation Planning Associate
This year I was fortunate to experience Rally for the first time. As someone relatively new to the land trust world, I enjoyed meeting staff and board members from all over the country as we share our triumphs and challenges.
The three days of events and sessions were an interesting mix of high and low tech for me. The first day was a field trip where we visited many of the local community gardens that were in all shapes, sizes, and functions. some were used from apprenticeships for refugees to provide organic vegetables for schools. The gardens really became interwoven into the community around them. The two days of workshops and seminars that I attended included topics ranging from drones to mapping techniques. What stood out to me was how well positioned Lowcountry Land Trust is technologically. Nevertheless, we are always exploring new technologies and techniques to stay at the forefront.
Ashton Lamb: Stewardship Associate
I was thrilled to find out that I would be representing Lowcountry Land Trust at the LTA Rally in Denver! Every day was well spent meeting a diversity of people from land trusts across the country, attending workshops or field trips, and participating in networking events and dinners. It was inspiring to hear about all of the work land trusts are doing across the country to preserve our natural resources and improve communities. The two critical topics that I have continued to reflect on are holistic management and community conservation.
On the first day of Rally, I attended a field trip that explored Lowry Ranch in Eastern Colorado. We discussed the holistic management-an approach that considers interactions between unique parts of the “whole”. These holistic plans not only discuss timber management but also our croplands, wildlife habitat improvement, and recreational uses, and how land can be managed for multiple uses that can positively influence one another. Holistic management plans enable us to push ourselves as managers for the greatest good. We can strive for the healthiest lands and waters for the benefit of all living things.
I was also fortunate enough to attend a community conservation roundtable discussion. We discussed the importance of engagement and inclusion of all voices representing our communities. A prevalent theme arose at my table; don’t forget the message has a messenger. It’s easy for those of us working in conservation to deliver a message calling for the protection of a particular animal or landscape. When we deliver the message, we must understand how we are being perceived and what it means to our community to be sending that message.
I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to attend Rally this year. My enthusiasm for land protection and management is rejuvenated. I have hope that we as citizens of the beautiful nation can come together under one uniting factor – land.