Careful observers of INLC have probably noticed some new language and direction changes from the organization over the past year. OK, maybe you don’t have to be that careful an observer to have noticed that the Conservancy is increasing its focus on people in nature. We’ve added it to our mission (Connecting people to nature…), we’ve embarked on a high-visibility public land conservation project (Rimrock to Riverside), and we’ve added a new position to our staff: Community Conservation Program Manager (thrilled to have Todd Dunfield on board!). We’ve made this move carefully and intentionally, grounded in our belief that one of the most effective ways to grow conservation values is to encourage personal relationships with the natural world.
Rest assured, however, that this move is not being made at the sacrifice of our ongoing success in permanently protecting valuable habitats – forests, wetlands, and grasslands – across our region. In fact, our pace of permanent land and water conservation is accelerating. This year we are on track to protect over 3500 acres of land in the Inland Northwest including a working forest in Pend Oreille County, a working farm on the Palouse, future restored wetlands to provide safe feeding grounds for tundra and trumpeter swans in the Coeur d’Alene River corridor, forest and grasslands that buffer miles of shoreline along Long Lake, and yes, lands where people will one day be able to recreate.
We recognize that much of the threat to natural habitats and working lands stems from our collective distancing from the natural world. Our belief is that by providing more opportunities for people to fall in love with nature that we will galvanize the increased protection of it. So rest assured, INLC’s increased emphasis on people doesn’t come at the expense of our commitment to protecting nature, it comes because of it!