Transboundary Grasslands Partnership Workshop goes Dec. 3-5
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.