By Ali Duvall
It’s the time of year when we, like many cultures before us, harvest through the hunt, stock up for winter, and celebrate rebirth and renewal. In welcoming the change of seasons, we wanted to share the news that October 28th marked my last day with the IWJV. With deep gratitude, I celebrate this partnership journey over the last 13 years and anticipate exciting possibilities for the future of this conservation community.
Looking back, I am amazed and heartened by the powerful work of the IWJV and our many conservation allies within this region, as well as the special fabric of collaborative partners that represent the Joint Venture network across North America.
Together—by implementing strategic habitat conservation across multiple scales and jurisdictional boundaries — we’ve moved mountains to protect, restore, and connect a diversity of habitats for sage grouse, northern pintails, mule deer, sandhill cranes, white-faced ibis, and a myriad of other migratory bird and wildlife species. Multiple conservation outcomes have also intentionally resulted in added benefits to working lands communities, hunters and anglers, Tribes and cultural stewards of land, other recreationists, and local economies.
We’ve also elevated stories of hope and collaboration from the halls of Congress to local watersheds – with magic ingredients and examples of Joint Venture conservation and the iterative wheel of science to implementation – moving the latest advancements in research and remote sensing to the on-the-ground application of conservation programs. Most importantly, in my time working within this conservation brigade, we’ve learned how to work side-by-side by building trust and relationships across organizational missions and siloes, different perspectives and politics, and complex ecological landscapes.
“I like to think of landscape not as a fixed place but as a path that is unwinding before my eyes, under my feet. To see and know a place is a contemplative act. It means emptying our minds and letting what is there, in all its multiplicity and endless variety, come in.”
-Gretel Ehrlich, “Landscape” introduction to Legacy of Light (1987)
Peering into the future, I am confident that the IWJV, our partners, and Joint Venture compadres will continue to break through barriers and make critical progress in landscape-scale conservation and all that the act of conservation requires—thanks to energizing leadership, a strategic framework, and actions of countless partners.
Many have asked about my next chapter. Here’s the gist: I’ll be doing more of this! I plan to support this conservation community and additional partners in the work of creating change through leadership development, technical support on special projects and initiatives, and creating a more diverse and inclusive conservation community to address entrenched and wicked challenges related to climate change, loss of biodiversity, habitat fragmentation, competition related to natural resources and societal demands, and future global trends that affect our ecological and human systems into the future.
In closing, I give thanks to all of you for your partnership in our combined shared achievements and relationships. My hope is that we may continue to work as a conservation community to usher in new innovations in science-based conservation program delivery, increased capacity, and continue to build diverse partnerships across scales for the shared purpose of Joint Venture conservation.
I look forward to encountering you on the unwinding path as it unfolds. For more conversation on this topic, please contact me at email@example.com or 406-370-5047.