Wrap-up from America’s Grasslands Conference: United for Conservation
America’s Grasslands Conference was a biennial national conference organized by the National Wildlife Federation. This year, it was held in Fort Worth and brought together researchers, natural resource professionals, farmers and ranchers, policy experts, and conservationists to discuss relevant issues related to the conservation of North America’s grasslands. Attendees took field trips to 4 local destinations: the Dixon Water Foundation’s Leo Ranch, The Nature Conservancy’s Clymer Meadow Preserve, City of Fort Worth’s Tandy Hills Natural Area, and the Taggart and Smith Ranches. Each field trip highlighted varying aspects of conservation from sustainable ranching, holistic management, managing landscape-scale prairies, volunteer-driven prairie management and education, and partnerships.
An evening social was held at BRIT (Botanical Research Institute of Texas) where folks were offered the option of touring the herbarium. The following evening, attendees went to the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge for a Texas-style BBQ complete with games, Texas Red Dirt music and a warming fire.
The Keynote and Plenary presenters were inspiring and engaging:
*Robert Potts, President & CEO of the Dixon Water Foundation: The Trim Tab Factor: Our role in rescuing the prairie
*Steve Apfelbaum, Applied Ecological Services: Putting Grasslands to Work: The role of grasslands in flood risk mitigation and climate change adaptation
*Tyler Lark, University of Wisconsin: State of America’s Grasslands: Updates on recent conversion and research frontiers
*Jerry Doan, Black Leg Ranch: Regenerating soil health to benefit wildlife, the bottom line, and quality of life
*Deborah Clark, Birdwell & Clark Ranch: United for Grassland Conservation: How ranchers, researchers, practitioners, and other conservationists can work together to save America’s grasslands
The concurrent sessions offered many perspectives from prairie dog conservation, shifting grassland ranges due to latitudinal climatic shifts, sustainable grazing, and a the current threats to the grassland ecosystem.
Stay tuned to our website because we will post the Conference Proceedings as soon as they are released. In the meantime, you can peruse the Program.