Workshop Goals & Agenda

Save the date!  The 2018 National Wilderness Workshop will be held October 9-13, 2018, in Gunnison, Colorado at Western Colorado University

See a Partner Save the Date with presentations that will be of interest to Partner Organizations here, and a Agency Save the Date that will be of interest to Land Management Agencies here.  For this year's workshop, we're teaming up with the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, Western Colorado University's Masters of Environmental Management Program, University of Montana's Wilderness Institute, Arthur Carhart National Training Center, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research InstituteUnited States Forest Service, National Park Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management

If you can't attend the workshop in person, great news!  This year we are starting a virtual distance option.  Western Colorado University has state-of-the-art distance learning facilities, and virtual attendees can join sessions by video and be active participants in discussions and group work.  A virtual distance registration option is included in registration.  To learn more about the virtual distance option and see which sessions are offered through distance, click here.

REGISTER for the full workshop or the virtual distance workshop here.

Who Should Come to the National Wilderness Workshop?  Employees of any of the four land management agencies - you don't have to specifically work in wilderness.  Come if you love wilderness, if you would like to know more, if your job includes some or a lot of wilderness duties, or if it doesn't!  Employees or volunteers of non-profit organizations - again, you don't have to work in wilderness.  Come if you work with public lands, or conservation, or access for diverse populations, or have an interest in learning more about any of those topics.  Students and community members - everyone is welcome.  We have a goal of expanding our scope, our perspective, and our community.  We'd love to meet you and hear your thoughts on wilderness and land management.  Click here to see who is registered so far for the 2018 National Wilderness Workshop.

What is the National Wilderness Workshop? The National Wilderness Workshop brings together land management agencies and partner organizations to address and work on national wilderness stewardship issues.  The theme for this year's workshop, "Connect to Wilderness Heritage" comes from the 2020 Vision: Interagency stewardship prioritiess for America's National Wilderness Preservation System, established during the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.  The 2020 Vision reads: 

"INSPIRE and nurture life-long connections between people of diverse cultures and wilderness.  Build respectful, long-term partnerships among wilderness managers, educators, Tribal leaders, cultural resource managers, and citizens from diverse tradtions, to develop and implement programs ad products that enhance connections to wilderness."

We believe the comprehensive integration of all cultures into wilderness is of utmost importance to the sustainability and viability of wilderness areas now and into the future.  We're excited to delve into this more fully at the National Wilderness Workshop this fall.  In addition to sessions built around increasing diversity and inclusion in wilderness, we will host sessions exploring wilderness science and wilderness management topics, as well as plenty of opportunities for networking, connecting and building the wilderness stewardship community. 

Read on below for a description of sessions offered in the AGENDA under each of these four areas.  Or click here to see a DETAILED AGENDA.

Wilderness Culture

A Listening Session, to hear from groups underrepresented in wilderness how wilderness partners and managers can best engage them and their constituents including the identification of barriers to entry as well as opportunities for success.  A discussion on integrating safe and respectful workplace dynamics into agency culture, gleaned from lessons learned from the US Forest Service in their process of addressing harrassment issues that have come to light in the last year.  Hearing from multiple organizations and programs that have been successful in increasing diversity, such as Job Corps, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and the National Fish and Wildlife Service's Urban Refuge Program; and applying their lessons learned to audience programs through small group work. A session where Native elders talk with Native and Non-Native youth regarding land stewardship and it's nexus with community and culture.  A slate of field trips that focus on the link between wilderness and people.

Wilderness Science 

An in-depth look into land use change coupled with the Climate Change project, how each part acts upon the other, and what that means for wilderness and the communities that surround it and depend on it.  A discussion about access to public lands, and how that has shifted with demographics and generational chnages in the top 20 cities across the US.  A pane discussion about the Anthropocene, and what it means for ecosystem integrity, wilderness character, and stewardship, from grasslands in Alaska to swamps in Florida.  

Wilderness Management

A look at the accomplishments to date for the 2020 Vision for Wilderness Stewardship, and panel discussion for next steps both in complete the achievement of 2020 and beyond.  The expansion of cultural resources monitoring through application of ice patch research in the Rocky Mountains that is uncovering new paleobiological and archaeological resources.  Agency-led sessions identifying the highest priority wilderness stewardship projects ripe for new and existing NGO partnership development.  Partnership expansion round tables, where non-profit organizations will display information about their mission and work while networking with agencies and other partners.  Discussing and identifying management trends and practices in Wilderness Study Areas and Lands With Wilderness Characteristics and the unique challenges they pose.  Break-out sessions for each agency.  Funder roundtables for partner organizations, offering one-on-one conversations and feedback from grant making organizations who work in the realms of both conservation and diversity.                                                                 

Wilderness Community

Networking and happy hour at the High Apline Brewery.  A film screening night with hosted bar at the Western Colorado University Theatre featuring American Ascent, a project on the intersection of wilderness and hip hop, and a curated selection of short films.  An afternoon and evening at the IBar Ranch, featuring a hosted dinner and drinks from local food trucks and establishments, the 2nd Wilderness Olympics, with events ranging from a crosscut competition to timed navigtation course, live music, awards ceremonies, and a celebration of the Arthur Carhart Wilderness Training Center and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute's 25th Anniversary.

See logistics information about TRAVEL and LODGING here, or click here to REGISTER.

What is unique about the National Wilderness Workshop? Since it's inception, the National Wilderness Workshop has had as a goal for each session to provide tangible tools to participants and aid participants in using those tools and applying them to their own work prior to leaving the workshop. Our overall goal is that when people leave, they not only have gained new skills, but have had the opportunity to use and apply them, catalyzing their work for the coming year.  For that purpose, each workshop session comprises two or more hours, so that the topic can be discussed in-depth, tools identified and given, and group work commenced for application of new knowledge and skills.

In addition to focusing on the important issues above, and providing hard skills, tools, and application assistance, workshop sessions will address the Secretary of Interior's Stewardship Priorities and goals from the 2020 Vision for Wilderness Stewardship.  

This year, we are partnering with the Headwaters Conference, with a shared KeyNote speaker on Friday, the 12th, and field events on Saturday, the 13th, with Headwaters extending until the afternoon of Sunday, the 14th.

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The Society for Wilderness Stewardship is a non-profit, charitable organization under the 501 (c)(3) section of the Internal Revenue Code.