On March 20 & 21, the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve facilitated a first of its kind workshop. Attending were a number of invited stakeholders including scientists, licenced tourism operators, local agriculture producers, government enablers, academics from various institutions doing research about biosphere reserves, national park and biosphere reserve staff. Their purpose – to assess issues relating to research, communication, education, and community engagement and develop priorities for these different issues to guide the biosphere reserve efforts.
Over the period of two days, participants had opportunities to listen to several excellent presentations about local economic issues, sustainable tourism, and conservation within the biosphere. Solid data, provocative questions, and great examples from each of these three areas set the tone for good quality discussions.
In a positive manner, and with genuine effort to reach out and begin to develop relevance and engage local stakeholders, the workshop focused on creating dialogue between the various participants present as to what kind of research and other issues they felt the Riding Mountain biosphere reserve should be addressing.
One of the most significant outcomes was the recommendation and realization by everyone that active communication engagement (involvement in a variety of ways – education, involvement in various projects, communication about the biosphere reserve) is a critical priority. While research will continue to be initiated and carried out, it has to be done in the context of a high priority and investment into community engagement. In my view, this was a very successful workshop.
Laura Rance, editor of the Cooperator – Keynote speaker
To kick off the two-day workshop, the Biosphere Reserve team invited a well-respected journalist Laura Rance, to deliver a keynote address. Laura is the Editor of The Cooperator, a Western Canadian publication for farmers and farmer news. Her talk was outstanding, providing a clear framework for some complex issues that we facing. Alternating between thoughtful, grounded, articulate, and passionate insights and education about agriculture, ecology, and economics, Laura wove a magical journey that really set the tone for great discussions. Laura’s talk is available at the following link – take the time to listen to this wonderful journalist share her passions and knowledge and experiences within Manitoba.
For the techies in the audience, you’ll be interested to note that the talk was recorded on an iPhone 3G, with an app called Happy Talk Professional Recorder. I am impressed with the quality of the recording, and happily recommend it.
I also interviewed Laura about her talk and what she was observing during the two days of this workshop. This short video provides her responses and insights, and are well worth viewing. Thank you Laura!
I feel that we were very fortunate to be able to have Laura with us for a couple of days. She is a very busy person. The following link gives you access to her presentation in March of this year, to the PEI Adapt Council, as well as several other very good presentations (all summarized in one pdf document). Laura explains the inter-cropping technique that Saskatchewan farmer Colin Rosengren is using in this article called Crop Husbandry Saves Input Costs. –Laura Rance. March 13, 2009.
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