Published on November 21, 2017 • Last updated on July 9th, 2022

Wrap-up from America’s Grasslands Conference: United for Conservation

Wrap-up from America’s Grasslands Conference: United for Conservation
America’s Grasslands Conference was a biennial national conference organized by the National Wildlife Federation. This year, it was held in Fort Worth and brought together researchers, natural resource professionals, farmers and ranchers, policy experts, and conservationists to discuss relevant issues related to the conservation of North America’s grasslands. Attendees took field trips to 4 local destinations: the Dixon Water Foundation’s Leo Ranch, The Nature Conservancy’s Clymer Meadow Preserve, City of Fort Worth’s Tandy Hills Natural Area, and the Taggart and Smith Ranches. Each field trip highlighted varying aspects of conservation from sustainable ranching, holistic management, managing landscape-scale prairies, volunteer-driven prairie management and education, and partnerships.

Taggart Ranch field trip for America’s Grasslands Conference (Photo by Michelle Villafranca)

An evening social was held at BRIT (Botanical Research Institute of Texas) where folks were offered the option of touring the herbarium. The following evening, attendees went to the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge for a Texas-style BBQ complete with games, Texas Red Dirt music and a warming fire.

Evening Texas-style BBQ at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge (Photo by Michelle Villafranca)

The historic Smith Ranch. NRCS staff discuss soil of the Fort Worth Prairie. (Photo by Michelle Villafranca)

The Keynote and Plenary presenters were inspiring and engaging:
*Robert Potts, President & CEO of the Dixon Water Foundation: The Trim Tab Factor: Our role in rescuing the prairie

*Steve Apfelbaum, Applied Ecological Services: Putting Grasslands to Work: The role of grasslands in flood risk mitigation and climate change adaptation

*Tyler Lark, University of Wisconsin: State of America’s Grasslands: Updates on recent conversion and research frontiers

*Jerry Doan, Black Leg Ranch: Regenerating soil health to benefit wildlife, the bottom line, and quality of life

*Deborah Clark, Birdwell & Clark Ranch: United for Grassland Conservation: How ranchers, researchers, practitioners, and other conservationists can work together to save America’s grasslands 

You can view the keynote, plenary and some of the sessions on the Coastal Prairie Partnership Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/saveprairies/

The concurrent sessions offered many perspectives from prairie dog conservation, shifting grassland ranges due to latitudinal climatic shifts, sustainable grazing, and a the current threats to the grassland ecosystem.

Stay tuned to our website because we will post the Conference Proceedings as soon as they are released. In the meantime, you can peruse the Program.

Categories: Fort Worth Chapter