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Sustaining Bird Habitats & Rural Communities

NGPJV Hosts Private Lands Biologist Forum in Lewistown, Montana

On April 1 & 2 the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture (NGPJV) hosted a private lands biologist forum in Lewistown, Montana. Nearly 60 representatives from eighteen organizations gathered for this two-day event.

The purpose of the forum was to encourage networking and relationship-building among biologists working toward grasslands conservation on private lands in eastern Montana. In November 2023, the NGPJV hosted a similar event in South Dakota. You can read about the South Dakota forum here.

Participants met new colleagues and reconnected with others. They shared field experiences and talked about what it means to be successful as a Private Lands Biologist. They learned from experts about agricultural economics, soil health, storytelling, and other practical topics. Participants also discussed what agencies and partners can do to better support individuals and a professional conservation network. The forum concluded with a landowner panel featuring three producers who talked about the challenges of ranching and their experiences working with private lands biologists.

Based on discussions during the meeting and exit surveys from participants, the NGPJV will continue these in-person meetings at least once every other year. In addition, the NGPJV has developed a webinar series guided by the interests and needs of private lands biologists. Join us on July 24 for our first webinar—Grazing 101 with Krista Ehlert, PhD. Dr. Ehlert is an Assistant Professor and State Extension Range Specialist at South Dakota State University. Participants will learn about the principles of rangeland management, whole system planning, and the impacts of grazing on plant growth and development. Registration is free! Mark your calendars and stay tuned for details on how to register.

These in-person forums provided a meaningful networking experience for private lands biologists (especially for those who are new or are early in their careers). They have also helped NGPJV staff identify practical ways to support those working to conserve grasslands in the Northern Great Plains. Stay tuned as we consider other ways to best serve our partners in conservation.

We are doing more together!