On February 8, Academics for Land Protection in New England (ALPINE) and the Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Network organized their second RCP-ALPINE Regional Conservation Forum. Hosted by Wellesley College, the day-long event brought the Massachusetts RCP and academic communities together to look at past successes and explore future possibilities for collaboration.
Morning presentations highlighted how RCPs, colleges, and universities were already working together. Two RCPs and a regional land trust provided multiple examples of how conservation research has broadened their understanding of the communities they serve and informed their approaches to conservation and outreach. They also described how they’ve worked with academic partners to leverage university resources (details provided below).
David Foster of Harvard University and Paul Catanzaro of University of Massachusetts talked about the advantages of working with the land conservation community to enrich their conservation classes, demonstrate their broader impacts for research, and to provide students the opportunity to work on projects that have real-world applications.
“The collaborations and partnerships I’ve established with RCPs have really amplified my impact over the landscape,” said Paul Catanzaro, an Extension Associate Professor at UMASS Amherst and a member of the ALPINE steering committee.
Of note, presenter Simon Rucker from the High Peaks Initiative described how a simple exchange with Philip Nyhus, Director of the Colby College’s Environmental Studies program, at the 2017 Maine RCP-ALPINE Regional Conservation Forum led to a new collaboration, multiple new research projects, and greater opportunities for student engagement.
In small groups, forum participants then had opportunities to network and discuss possible collaborative activities. Click here to view a summary of these discussions and slide presentations.
Building on the success of the Maine and Massachusetts forums, ALPINE and the RCP Network plan to organize the next forum in spring of 2020.