Raleigh keynote summons Partners for Conservation

Former Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Agriculture Policy Coordinator Bridget Collins and Montana rancher Jim Stone discuss conservation programs near Jones Lake on the Rolling Stone Ranch in Montana. ©Dave Smith

The last day of this year’s Annual Conference in Raleigh will begin with a special keynote session, Public-Private Partnerships for Conservation. Sponsored by the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, this session features three highly-respected speakers in the ranching and private lands conservation arena.

David M. “Lefty” Durando is owner operator of Durando Ranches in Wauchula, Florida. He is a Florida ranching icon who manages his lands for the mutual benefit of wildlife habitat and cattle grazing by devising common sense solutions to complex ecological problems. His integrative approaches, underpinned by robust partnerships, enhance water quantity and quality along with providing food and fiber for the nation. Lefty is a board member of Partners for Conservation and as a member of the Northern Everglades Alliance was instrumental in the establishment of the Everglades Headwaters Conservation Area and National Wildlife Refuge.

Terry Mansfield is a consulting wildlife biologist and owner operator of a sheep and cattle ranch near Cheney, Washington. He is a TWS Certified Wildlife Biologist® who previously worked for more than 33 years as a wildlife biologist and state wildlife agency administrator in California and Idaho. His family manages their land for both sustainable livestock grazing and productive wildlife habitat. They have voluntarily placed a portion of their ranch in a conservation easement under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wetland Reserve Program to enhance natural resources on their land. Terry is a Board member of Partners for Conservation.

Jim Stone is Chairman of Partners for Conservation and a third-generation cattle rancher from Ovando, Montana. At the Rolling Stone Ranch Black Angus cow/calf operation, Jim’s family believes in a strong tradition of rural communities, land ethics and working together to foster change that will benefit generations to come. The ranch operates on the premise that people are our most valuable asset: partnerships are critical to the daily operations and the ability to leverage knowledge and science to achieve their goals. Jim is actively involved in the Blackfoot Challenge, a local watershed organization, and the Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

See the complete abstract below and register for the conference today to ensure you won’t miss out on this critical session.

Nearly 70 percent of the land in the U.S. is privately-owned and over two-thirds of all wildlife species depend on these lands to fulfill life-cycle requirement needs, providing both challenges and opportunities related to private lands conservation. Through Partners for Conservation, a highly successful national model for voluntary collaborative conservation on private lands, private landowners will present on their working lands operations and how they balance between a viable business model and improving wildlife habitat. An opportunity for open engagement and dialogue will be afforded to those in the audience. This session is sponsored by the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, an on-the-ground conservation delivery program within the USFWS.