Working beyond boundaries. Collaboration as a key to natural areas management.

Plenary Session

Opening Plenary Session

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
8:00 - 10:00 am
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The Natural Areas Conference opens with an overview that orients natural areas practitioners in the place – the Front Range of Colorado – and the current state of the profession, and will emphasize how collaboration, our conference theme, is a critical and powerful tool when it comes to strategies for advancing natural areas stewardship. Our keynote will speak to the challenges that managers face at Rocky Mountain National Park, a landscape that is being (over)loved – and the way that increases in attendance for natural spaces across the nation show that despite partisan differences, Americans continue to support their preservation and management.

Our theme will be explored using the Mountains to Plains initiative as a case study and how a range of tools rooted in social science can help natural areas managers build consensus across diverse stakeholder groups. The plenary will conclude with a presentation of Colorado’s natural history and natural areas, providing participants a sense of the place that we will celebrate throughout the conference week.


Time Presentation
8:00 am Welcome: Terri Hogan, Invasive Plant Program Manager, National Park Service and Lisa Smith, Executive Director, Natural Areas Association
8:15 am Keynote Address: Keeping Natural Areas Natural: Juggling Resource Protection and Heavy Visitor Use by Darla Sidles, Superintendent, Rocky Mountain National Park
8:45 am Deep Advocacy, Click-Bait Hazards, and Collaborative Conservation by John Stokes, Director, City of Fort Collins Natural Area Department
9:30 am The Natural History of Colorado by Dave Anderson, Director of the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP), Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University
10:00 am Plenary Adjourns

Closing Plenary Session

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
3:30 - 5:15 pm
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Managing Smaller Natural Areas: Case Studies on the Role they Play in Protection
Moderator: Greg Aplet, Senior Science Director, The Wilderness Society

Our closing plenary is intended to provide inspiration to practitioners as we depart for home and return to our jobs of conserving natural areas. At the 2016 Natural Areas Conference, NAA hosted a Restoration Panel which focused on Managing Natural Areas in the Anthropocene. Following that session, there were questions coming from managers of smaller natural areas about the role that they play in managing ecological resources on a much grander scale. What is the role of small natural areas and how do they remain relevant and justified in their management?

In this interactive session, we will present a series of case studies related to this and our theme, Working Beyond Boundaries. These are examples of success stories that, three decades ago, were viewed as unpopular and, in some cases, rejected. But in each example, small protected areas were critical to the success of protecting larger landscapes or critical corridors.

Time Presentation
3:30 pm Introduction
3:45 pm Case Study 1: Successful Partnership Conserves the Imperiled Mardon Skipper by Scott Black, Executive Director, Xerces Society
4:05 pm Case Study 2: If You Want to Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want to Go Far, Go Together by Heather Knight, Associate Director, Center for Collaborative Conservation
4:25 pm Case Study 3: Conservation of Small and Large Natural and Semi-Natural Areas in Florida by Reed Noss, Florida Institute for Conservation Science
4:45 pm Panel Discussion
5:15 pm Plenary Adjourns