As Board Chair of Friends of Sonoran Desert National Monument, one of the many reasons why I love this organization is that we’re part of a much larger, national effort to preserve our country’s incredible public lands. It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be the advocates and stewards of these lands, but it wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Conservation Lands Foundation – the national group that supports and brings all of the various ‘friends’ groups together.
Each year in the fall, the CLF hosts its annual Rendezvous conference for all of the ‘friends’ groups across the country, and this year’s conference was held just last month in Grand Junction, Colorado. It was terrific to get together again with friends from the various groups and to hear how they’ve grown. Leadership from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) presented throughout the conference about challenges to public lands with current legislation and what our groups could do in response. We also learned more about marketing/communications, using social media, and fundraising in various sessions.
The CLF Rendezvous always offer an outdoor activity on the last day of the conference, and this year we did a great hike at the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and toured the Museum of Western Colorado with its amazing dinosaur exhibit. Check out the photos on Facebook!
This was my third CLF Rendezvous that I’ve attended, and evidently this year’s turnout was the largest on record, with over 150 attendees – including folks from the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum from Jupiter, Florida! The main takeaway for me from this year’s conference was the message that what we as ‘friends’ groups do in the next ten years will truly determine the destiny of these public lands for generations to come. This is awe-inspiring but also a great responsibility. That’s why we’re encouraging you to come along side us and join us in this incredible mission to care for Sonoran Desert National Monument. Thank you.