Monday, January 27, 2014

CNHP Partners Meeting

On January 14th, we held our first CNHP Partners Meeting.  We did this at the USGS Fort Collins Science Center, thanks to the generosity and hospitality provided by Jeff Morisette, Director of the North Central Climate Science Center, who made their conference room available to us.

Partners enjoying snacks and coffee together prior to the meeting

This was the biggest event we’ve ever hosted, and spending the day with 60 of our key partners was thrilling and wonderful for us.  We were sad that a few folks in the mountains could not make it due to the weather, but fortunately the snow did not impede travel for those of us on the Front Range.

Ken Wilson’s introduction to the partners

We started the day with a welcome from the USGS Fort Collins Science Center Director Dave Hamilton, and from Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Department Head Ken Wilson.

The distinguished participants getting the overview of the day from Dave

Then each of CNHP’s teams (Botany, Ecology, the Wetland Sub-team, Zoology, Conservation Data Services, and Conservation Planning) gave a short, 10-minute overview of their staff, key functions and projects, and directions for the future.  I followed them to roll up CNHP’s Future Directions just before lunch.

The partners engaging in a networking exercise- creating new
connections within Colorado’s conservation community!

After lunch, we turned the tables to our partners, ten of whom gave presentations about their current priorities, challenges, and ways that the folks in the room could connect and help to address them.  They were welcomed by Joyce Berry, who shared some very kind remarks about CNHP, and acknowledging our 20 years at CSU, gave CNHP $25,000!  This was a huge and wonderful surprise for us.

Del Benson, FWCB Faculty at CSU (left) and
Jeff Thompson, CPW (right), talking over lunch

Chris Pague and Tim Sullivan with the Nature Conservancy then started off, giving some historical perspectives of CNHP, and acknowledging three of our staff, Renee Rondeau, Lee Grunau, and Susan Panjabi, who have hit the 20 year mark in their distinguished careers.  They were followed by Karl Brown with NPS, Carol Dawson and Bruce Rittenhouse with BLM, Billy Bunch with EPA, Brian Mihlbachler with USFWS at the US Air Force Academy, Peter McDonald, Karen Lee, and Steve Popovich with USFS, Francie Pusateri with CPW, Mindy Gottsegen with SLB, and Kevin Johnston with the SRLCC.  Del Benson also gave an overview of the upcoming 8th International Congress for Wildlife and Livelihoods on Private and Communal Lands: Livestock, Tourism, and Spirit, to be held on Sept 7-12, 2014 in Estes Park.

Dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources Joyce Berry welcomes the Partners

I’ve gotten some nice feedback from several folks who came.  Tim Hogan, Collections Manager at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History Herbarium, said “Just want to compliment you and all your comrades for putting on a very good show yesterday.  I do appreciate how much work is involved in pulling something like that together.  It was an interesting group of people, and it was a treat for me to see some folks I haven’t seen in too long a time and meet others whom I’ve never met face-to-face.”  Joyce Berry, Dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources, said “I really am so proud of all that you are doing.  Having all your partners show up like that is also another indicator of CNHP’s success.”

Chris Pague, TNC Senior Conservation Scientist,
sharing thoughts about working with CNHP

We have set up a new webpage where we’ve posted a recording with powerpoint presentations, notes, and photos from the event.  You can also see all of Michael Menefee’s photos from the Partners Meeting on our Facebook page.

Bruce Rittenhouse, BLM Natural Resources Branch Chief,
talks about BLM’s landscape-level approach to conservation through the REAs.

We are interested in continuing this, perhaps annually, and we are interested in feedback about the meeting and how we could do it better in the future.  We have posted a short survey where you can offer us comments and suggestions about this.

Thank you from all of us at CNHP to everyone who came and made this great day possible.  It was a huge thrill to spend the day with you and envision an exciting future together!

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