In mid-May, Brenda Richards traveled to East Idaho to bring IRCP’s message to the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts, the association for more than a dozen land trusts across Idaho. ICOLT’s mission is to support and advance professional excellence in voluntary land conservation for people and nature.
The two dozen land trust leaders who listened to her shared many of the same values as IRCP. They focus on voluntary agreements with landowners that keep working lands working while conserving wildlife, recreation, and natural resources. Land trusts understand that they can only succeed if ranching families can stay on the land and continue to serve as stewards of Idaho’s rangelands.
This overlap in interest does not mean that communication always goes smoothly, however. In a state with a growing urban-rural divide, disagreements are common and tend to capture most of the attention.
Brenda emphasized that land trusts need to communicate with people who make their living from rangelands in ways that build trust. This involves slowing down and putting our own enthusiasm for our work on hold long enough to understand what is important to our potential partners – and how we are viewed. Her message of “look at yourself through the eyes of others” and then act on what you’ve learned was powerfully stated and well-received.
Several people came up to me afterwards to tell me that Brenda’s talk was a highlight of the land trusts’ spring meeting. Thanks, Brenda!
Will Whelan, Executive Director
Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts