Four of our staff members – Scott, Chad, Mike, and Josie – plus two of our board members – David Anderson and Kathie Levison – traveled to Minneapolis late last week to attend the Land Trust Alliance’s National Land Conservation Conference, also known as Rally.

Thousands of conservation professionals descended on Minneapolis Thursday evening to network, share stories, and learn more about our field. We stayed just a couple blocks from from one of the biggest parks in downtown Minneapolis, Loring Park (pictured above).

QBP employees are encouraged and well-supported to bike to work (shown by all their bikes lined up here).

QBP employees are encouraged and well-supported to bike to work (shown by all their bikes lined up here).

As the president of the Land Trust Alliance, Andrew Bowman, repeated in his opening speech: “Land is the answer!” (People were yelling this by the end of his talk – clearly addressing the right crowd!)

There were so many amazing workshops, seminars, and events that all of us walked away with a renewed appreciation for our line of work

Chad, our Stewardship Coordinator, was chosen to present at this year’s Rally. He sat on a panel that answered questions concerning management plans. His management of the Draper Wood River Preserve certainly qualified him to lead this workshop!

Plenary Session speakers from the Lookout Mountain Conservancy. Photo courtesy of the Land Trust Alliance.

I spent Friday touring the Quality Bike Products factory, learning about the overlap between the bike industry and land conservation organizations. After hearing about an amazing trail network the Minnesota Land Trust is working on in Duluth, I walked away with a few ideas for engaging mountain bikers in our Valley.

We shared meals with members of Palouse Land Trust (Moscow, ID), Kaniksu Land Trust (Sandpoint, ID), Mesa Land Trust (Grand Junction, CO), and Stowe Land Trust (Stowe, VT) but connected with numerous others over the course of the weekend.

There was never a shortage of questions to ask! We all wanted to compare notes.

Scott accepting our reaccreditation award, accompanied by a photo of kids on the Croy boardwalk.

Scott accepting our reaccreditation award, accompanied by a photo of kids on the Croy boardwalk.

The highlight of the weekend for most was the Plenary Session Saturday morning. The Lookout Mountain Conservancy of Chattanooga, Tennessee, shared a touching story of connecting troubled youth with the land, and the amazing results that followed.

Hearing from one of the students brought tears to my eyes (and I wasn’t the only one!) It was moving to hear how open space can shape so many lives.

We were also able to see Scott walk across the stage at the Plenary Session to accept our reaccreditation award.

We all walked into the office Monday exhausted, but full of new ideas for how to further the mission of the Land Trust.

By Josie Brownell