I first met Dave Schaub eight months ago in Wenatchee at a meeting of Central & Eastern Washington Land Trust Executive Directors. He had just started his position as the new ED at the Inland NW Land Conservancy (INLC) and was the new kid on the block. His passion and excitement for conservation work was evident by the questions he was asking (and the tone of his voice) and I was immediately drawn to his enthusiasm. He was ready to go and wanted to apply for WWRP grants the very next day.
Fast forward to last week, when the Coalition’s new Executive Director Christine Mahler and I spent a couple of days in Spokane. We were able to visit with local legislators and give a WWRP presentation to the Spokane County Commission. All of these meetings were educational and valuable to the Coalition’s work.
But by far, the most inspirational part of our trip was spending a full day with Dave and his team at the INLC headquarters. The organization had convened a panel of regional experts and stakeholders in habitat and water issues, and Dave asked the Coalition to facilitate the day’s meetings. Without hesitation, we proudly accepted.
Representatives from Spokane County Parks, WDFW, the Kalispel Tribe, Save Our Wild Salmon, The Lands Council, Spokane Riverkeeper, and many other organizations all showed up to INLC’s office to spend the day brainstorming on how the Land Conservancy should use its resources and tools to best serve its community. After hours of small group discussion and white-boarding, we came up with some great ideas to help guide INLC’s conservation work in the future. This planning exercise should strongly position this organization to prepare and submit apllications in the next round of WWRP applications in 2020.
Most of you know that two of the Coalition’s primary goals are to educate community leaders about the WWRP, and to continue developing a strong and diverse coalition of groups that care about wildlife preservation, conservation, and recreation in Washington. In doing so, we build on the groundwork that has been laid by our predecessors in order to create new champions for WWRP and a strong backbone for the Coalition.
Working with a community of conservation leaders in the Greater Spokane Region will help do just that. Our time and input at these meetings sends a signal to local agencies and organizations that the Coalition is a statewide leader in outdoor recreation and conservation advocacy.
The opportunity to partner with the INLC was an absolute honor. Listening to folks talk about their love for nearby natural areas such as Crab Creek, Hangman Creek, and the Little Spokane River inspired me to return to Spokane (with my paddle in tow) ready for my own personal adventure. Dave Schaub’s enthusiasm for his work is contagious and if you have ideas on how to best conserve natural areas in Eastern Washington, I would suggest reaching out to him.
Thanks to Dave, Vicki, Chris, Jolene, and their band of volunteers at the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy for the hospitality they provided us last week. I look forward to more opportunities to collaborate soon—and I especially look forward to seeing INLC’s WWRP grant applications in the not-too-distant future.