One-minute success stories from the Friends Rendezvous
One of our favorite moments at the recent Friends Rendezvous in Indian Wells, CA actually consisted of several moments—when individual people stood up and told stories about their organization’s recent conservation successes, in one minute or less. Some of them were funny, poignant, even raucous. All were inspiring. They were also a breath of fresh air, reminding us how talking about our accomplishments is just as important as diving into the work that always lies ahead.
It was tough taking notes during the one-minute presentations. The stories were flying, and laughter and applause sometimes drowned out the speakers. But here’s our best attempt at compiling some of these “one-minute” success stories.
- Donna Lamm, Amargosa Conservancy’s Executive Director, said her group held a long-awaited celebration party for the many people who contributed to the recent designation of the Amargosa as a Wild and Scenic River. They also launched a hydrogeologic study that is likely to shed new light on old assumptions about the river.
- A group of native frogs ready for reintroduction into Arizona’s Cienega Creek, as well as the successful reintroduction of five colonies of black prairie dogs, were among the accomplishments reported by Trevor Hare, of the Cienega Watershed Partnership.
- Sara Husby-Good, Tuleyome, announced that Angel Martinez joined their staff as a Wyss Fellow to work on the proposed Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area. Tuleyome was also awarded a $1.4 million grant to clean up three abandoned mercury/nickel mines in the upper Putah Creek watershed.
- Friends of Red Rock Canyon were excited about a new effort to stage much-needed volunteers around the 13-mile Red Rock driving “loop,” to help guide and talk with visitors who flock to this area. Board member Pat Williams also redesigned their flagship publication, The Rock. Later on during the Rendezvous, we all celebrated Pat as she was named Advocate of the Year by the Conservation Lands Foundation.
- Qualifying in the “raucous” category, David Eddleston with Friends of Oregon Badlands Wilderness told a story about leading VIPs and first-time visitors on hikes… to the sounds of live bagpipes and the promise of a delicious whiskey, cream and honey drink at the end of the journey.
- Friends of Nevada Wilderness, who were recently awarded the Department of Interior’s Partners in Conservation Award in Washington DC, gathered critical baseline data about natural springs located in the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area. And on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, Friends’ crews removed 74 miles—miles—of barbed-wire fence, with the help of a field tool designed by Friends of Sloan Canyon’s Bill James.
- Friends of Black Rock/High Rock filled a 40-yard dumpster with old car bodies and other junk. They also became the first Network group—or any kind of conservation group that we know of—to launch their own FM radio station based in nearby Gerlach, NV. This will enable them to broadcast to the 50,000 or more people who gather every year for Burning Man, as well as to local residents.
- This one belongs in the “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” category. Friends of Sloan Canyon, frustrated when the Henderson, NV Chamber of Commerce left Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area out of its official chamber maps and publications, took the direct approach: they joined the Chamber of Commerce. A few months later, the Chamber revised its maps and has begun to promote the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area in its outreach materials.
- Mark Maryboy, The Wilderness Society, announced the publication of Diné Bikéyah, a beautiful new book that conveys in their own words and through magnificent photographs, the Navajo people’s sentiments and convictions for public lands in Utah’s San Juan County. The book in part reads, “To honor the deep history and continuing interests of the Navajo Nation in this region, we will be proposing the Utah Navajo have a formal role in planning and managing the Diné Bikéyah National Conservation Area.”
- Friends of the Inyo celebrated the timely fact that the Bodie Hills region of California’s eastern Sierra, a place the group has been seeking long-term protection for, was featured on the front page of the L.A. Times that very day.
- Working with the Mesquite, NV Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Gold Butte helped design and build a Gold Butte “room” in the Chamber’s visitor center. Photos, artwork, and maps highlight Gold Butte and provide “leave no trace” and other guidance to visitors.
- Chris Meachum, President of Friends of Saddle Mountain, celebrated the leadership and vision of three of his board members who also came to the Rendezvous: Peggy Sites, Carol Millette, and Paul Roetto.
- In St. George, UT, Citizens for Dixie’s Future impressed county officials by organizing a meeting and workshop with Headwater Economics, designed to help local leaders understand the positive economic impact National Monuments have on neighboring communities.
- The Mattole Restoration Council conducted an impressive number of restoration projects, and were especially proud of being able to provide 40 paid, summer internships to high school students.
- Friends of the Cliffs board members celebrated the hiring of their new director, Maggie Sacher.