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Making public lands stewards out of public lands users

November 2, 2010

Volunteers from the Friends of the Inyo clean up the remnants of a marijuana farm on Boundary Peak in 2008. A forum to be held Thursday in Bishop will address ways of recruiting and organizing volunteers to protect and steward public lands. File photo

Special guest speaker Linda McMillan will lead a conference starting at 9 a.m. Thursday that will explore ways of trying to turn public land users into public lands stewards.
The conference and discussion, “Building Connections to Success,” is being sponsored by the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association’s Public Lands Partnership Program along with the Inyo National Forest and Bureau of Land Management’s Bishop Field Office.
Offered at no cost and open to the public, the event will be from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Cerro Coso Community College in Bishop. Participants do not have to stay for the whole day, but those wishing to stay for a free lunch should RSVP to (760) 873-2415 or e-mail to partnership.esia@gmail.com.
Luca Isaacs, the PLPP coordinator, said that McMillan will be sharing her vast wealth of knowledge of working with organizations, stewardship groups and land managers.
Isaacs explained that the presentation will offer tools, or sharpen the tools in some kits, of how to best organize and plan stewardship events on public lands, such as garbage clean-ups or trail restoration projects.
“We all have places that are special to us that we want to see preserved and clean,” Isaacs said and the presentation will provide people with the knowledge of how to get the proper bureaucratic nods to perform a clean-up legally on public lands.
The event starts at 9 with coffee and registration and McMillan will open the talks at 9:30 with “Building Connections to Success.”
“In today’s world, taking care of our public lands is one of the most efficient ways to strengthen local economies, respond to species extinction and climate changes, preserve our special history and quality of life, and maintain key ecosystem services such as clean air and water,” McMillan says in a press release.
She will give another talk at 10:45, “Turning Public Lands Users into Public Lands Stewards.” McMillan says in the release that anyone who uses or benefits from public lands is a stakeholder. She notes the paradigm can be switched from protecting special places from stakeholders, such as real estate developers, to protecting the lands with stakeholders.
McMillan has spoken on her areas of expertise, including high-altitude climate change, at conferences worldwide. She is currently a member of the California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee, focusing her attention on the Sierra Nevada region.
There will also be a panel discussion on the “Best Practices on Working with Volunteers” with presenters from Friends of the Inyo, the Mono Lake Committee and other volunteer coordinators from Devils Postpile, Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Another panel will discuss “Connecting with Youth,” with presenters Keith Glidewell, career counselor for the Owens Valley Career Development Center; Jay Watson, western regional director for the Student Conservation Association; and others.
The ESIA is a 40-year-old non-profit organization that assists local land management agencies with educational, scientific and cultural activities on area public lands.
For more information, contact Isaacs at (760) 873-2415 or via e-mail at partnership.esia@gmail.com.

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