Partners for Conservation Advocating for Landscape Conservation Throughout the Country

Steve Jester is the Executive Director of Partners for Conservation (PFC). PFC embodies a grassroots movement of private landowners working with agencies, non-profit organizations, and policymakers to collaborate on conservation projects for present and future generations. It represents the voices of 21st century conservation and the collective effort to support working landscapes through voluntary, incentive-based public and private programs.

Partners for Conservation has had a very active summer!  Both the board and staff of the organization have been out spreading the word on collaborative landscape conservation and public private partnerships.  Our oldest and most valued partner is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, particularly the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program within that agency that partners with landowners to complete fish and wildlife habitat projects on private lands, many times in close proximity to national wildlife refuges which make up an important part of working landscapes across the country.

PFC LogoEven though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was our original partner, PFC is working hard to expand our family of partners. As a part of this outreach effort in the southeast, Partners for Conservation Chair Jim Stone and I traveled to Florida in mid-June to speak before the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  The Commission, the state agency charged with managing Florida’s fish and wildlife resources, is looking for new ways to partner with private landowners to benefit fish and wildlife resources.  Jim, a cattle rancher from Montana, shared the story of public-private collaboration in his landscape as well as the story of Partners for Conservation.  PFC Florida board member and rancher Lefty Durando also had an opportunity to address the Commission.  The theme of broad-based private landowner, local, state and federal agency collaboration resonated with the Commission, which is exciting since state fish and wildlife agencies are key partners in working landscapes nationwide.

The third week in July I was able to attend the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting in San Antonio to share the PFC message.  During this event I was able to speak to the executive directors and commissioners of the western US states’ fish and wildlife agencies and deliver our message on the power of landowner-led conservation collaborations.  During the question and answer period one of the state commissioners shared her appreciation for the message particularly at a time when landowners and wildlife agencies are at odds on a number of issues across the West.

During the last few days of July, Jim Stone once again left the ranch this time joined by northwest Utah rancher and PFC board member Jay Tanner and his wife Diane with Washington DC as their destination.  Congress was finishing up and trying to get out of town but Jim, Jay and Diane were able to make a full round of meetings with agency staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior.  All of these federal agencies are important partners to communities in working landscapes across the country and partnerships, like summer gardens, need some amount of tending to. Partners for Conservation is extremely fortunate to have a board comprised of landowners who are always willing to take time from tending their ranches and farms to spend on tending to partnerships.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2014/08/partners-for-conservation-advocating-for-landscape-conservation-throughout-the-country/

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