Trans­bound­ary Grass­lands Part­ner­ship Work­shop goes Dec. 3-5

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Front Page - BY HEATHER CAMERON

The 4th An­nual Trans­bound­ary Grass­lands Part­ner­ship Work­shop will be held from Dec. 3-5 at Ex­hi­bi­tion Park in Leth­bridge.

“The ob­jec­tive of the Trans­bound­ary Grass­lands Part­ner­ship Work­shop is to main­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tions and bring to­gether part­ners, agen­cies, stake­hold­ers, landown­ers, academia, Tribes and First Na­tions from Al­berta, Saskatchewan and Mon­tana to share man­age­ment strate­gies, suc­cesses and fail­ures, de­ter­mine ar­eas to col­lab­o­rate and cel­e­brate prairie con­ser­va­tion,” said Sasha Har­riott, the co­or­di­na­tor for the Prairie Con­ser­va­tion Fo­rum.

On the first day of the work­shop, Har­riott says that the par­tic­i­pants will have an op­por­tu­nity to tour Writ­ing-on- Stone Provin­cial Park and learn about both the park and World Her­itage Site des­ig­na­tion it car­ries. Af­ter tour­ing Writ­ing-on-Stone, par­tic­i­pants will also get to tour the Milk River Val­ley to view the un­usual land­forms and see some of the an­cient sto­ries recorded by the Black­foot Peo­ple if the weather co­op­er­ates. Har­riott says day two of the work­shop will com­mence in the Her­itage Room at Ex­hi­bi­tion Park where there will be pre­sen­ta­tions on trans­bound­ary col­lab­o­ra­tion, the state of Al­berta's prairies, re­mote sens­ing, One­four Ranch, a key­note pre­sen­ta­tion by Dan John­son and up­dates from Mon­tana, Saskatchewan and Al­berta.

Day three of the work­shop will be only half a day and fea­ture ses­sions on map­ping, so­cial me­dia and story telling and stew­ard­ship tools.

“Par­tic­i­pants look for­ward to share their sto­ries, hear about suc­cess­ful man­age­ment strate­gies and seek out op­por­tu­ni­ties to col­lab­o­rate,” Har­riott said.

The very first work­shop, Har­riott says was held in Elk­wa­ter in 2016; it was held in Swift Cur­rent in 2017, and was also held in Glas­gow, Mon­tana in Jan­uary 2018. Har­riot says that a man named Ian Dyson, Di­rec­tor and found­ing mem­ber of the Al­berta Prairie Con­ser­va­tion Fo­rum was the cham­pion of the first trans­bound­ary grass­lands work­shop and part­ner­ship.

In terms of at­ten­dance, Har­riot says that 2016's work­shop was in­vite only and had 46 peo­ple in at­ten­dance. 2017's work­shop had 65 in at­ten­dance, but the high­est pop­u­lated work­shop was the one in Jan­uary 2018, where over 90 at­tended. The work­shop was then moved to De­cem­ber to elim­i­nate hav­ing to travel dur­ing win­ter storms.

“The work­shop has evolved from an ac­tion item listed in the Al­berta Prairie Con­ser­va­tion Ac­tion Plan into a part­ner­ship with com­mit­ted in­di­vid­u­als from Al­berta, Mon­tana and Saskatchewan,” Har­riott said. “The work­shop had the ini­tial goals of bring­ing peo­ple to­gether to hear what was go­ing on in each other's ju­ris­dic­tion to com­mit­ting to an an­nual work­shop, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a Trans­bound­ary Grass­lands Part­ner­ship with an an­nual work plan and mis­sion statement."

Har­riott says that the mis­sion statement of the Trans­bound­ary Grass­lands Part­ner­ship (TGP) states that it is a vol­un­tary col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ship work­ing to­wards na­tive grass­lands con­ser­va­tion.

The TGP will pro­vide a fo­rum where trans­bound­ary ju­ris­dic­tions and sec­tors work col­lab­o­ra­tively to con­serve and en­hance na­tive grass­land land­scapes.

“The part­ner­ship op­er­ates un­der three guid­ing prin­ci­ples,” Har­riott said. “En­hance the health and func­tion of na­tive grass­lands, by building on suc­cesses and chal­lenges and aware­ness amongst the part­ners; Cre­ate by work­ing to­wards col­lab­o­ra­tive ac­tions that ad­dress gaps in trans­bound­ary na­tive grass­land con­ser­va­tion; and Con­nect by ac­knowl­edg­ing and im­prov­ing trans­bound­ary com­mu­ni­ca­tions, re­la­tion­ship building, ed­u­ca­tion, co­op­er­a­tion and mes­sag­ing be­tween part­ners, Tribes, and First Na­tions and in­ter­ested or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­di­vid­u­als. This part­ner­ship ac­knowl­edges ex­ist­ing suc­cess­ful trans­bound­ary ini­tia­tives, will work col­lab­o­ra­tively and pro­vide con­nec­tions to these ini­tia­tives, while en­hanc­ing na­tive grass­land con­ser­va­tion.”

Har­riott says that the reg­is­tra­tion fee for the work­shop is $100 and cov­ers the en­tire cost of a field tour, pre­sen­ta­tions, work­ing ses­sions, lunch, din­ner and key­note speaker. There are a limited num­ber of re­duced rate stu­dent reg­is­tra­tions avail­able to en­cour­age post se­condary stu­dents to at­tend.

“I am su­per ex­cited to see the work­shop in its fourth year!” Har­riott said. “It is a great op­por­tu­nity for in­di­vid­u­als to get to­gether, share their ac­com­plish­ments over the past year, reach out to landown­ers and learn some­thing new.”

Peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing the work­shop can visit "http://www.pcf.org/"www.pcf.org to reg­is­ter.

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