January 17-18th | 2020
KELLOGG CENTER | EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN
The Stewardship Network Conference is where theory meets practice and curiosity leads to solutions. Each year, hundreds of professionals, students, and volunteers from an array of environmental fields gather to share their setbacks and successes; technological advancements and analytical techniques; diverse perspectives and artistic expressions as we collectively find the best ways to care for our land and water. The Stewardship Network provides the structure, space, and catalytic resources for meaningful collaboration that benefits our natural world. This interdisciplinary conference harnesses the power of the network to build bridges between knowledge, culture, and community in order to support the ecosystems around us that are continually threatened and changing. Sessions include topics such as prescribed fire, climate change mitigation and resilience, invasive species controls, community engagement, and essential skill development. The Stewardship Network Conference prides itself on cultivating a welcoming and accepting atmosphere. Come as you are and be ready to explore new thoughts and perspectives. Whether you’re new to the environmental field or seasoned veteran, there’s something for everyone at our Network’s annual gathering!
Director, Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition
Laura Rubin has spent more than 30 years working on environmental protection, policy, and conservation issues. She is currently the Director of the Healing Our Waters—Great Lakes Coalition, which has been harnessing the collective power of more than 160 groups representing millions of people, whose common goal is to restore and protect the Great Lakes. The Coalition has earned a well-deserved reputation as a national leader in securing federal investment in regional ecosystem restoration efforts (read her full bio here).
First African American Chairman of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Commission & Northeast Regional Director, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mamie A. Parker worked almost 30 years as a fish and wildlife biologist for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) across the country, including Green Bay, Wisconsin; Columbia, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; Amherst, MA; and Washington, D.C. During the Clinton Administration, Parker rose to the rank of Chief of Staff in the Service Headquarters, the first African American to hold this title. An avid angler, she has outstanding experience in NEPA, Clean Water Act wetland protection and restoration. Among her many accomplishments, Parker led the FWS staff, along with partners in developing the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. The President of the United States presented Parker with the Presidential Rank award, the highest award given to government employees (read her full bio here).
Stewardship Story Slam: “Oops!”
Please join us on Friday evening for an open-mic storytelling competition. Open to anyone at the conference with a true five-minute story to share on the theme, Oops. Tell us about a time you goofed. Wax on about a stewardship gaffe, mistake, misstep or other oops. Recount a defining slip-up, blooper, or faux pas from your conservation life and times. Recall saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, letting the cat out of the bag or other spectacularly bad decisions. Ten tellers will be chosen at random and will be judged by three teams of audience judges. Come tell a story, or just enjoy the show!
Nature Threads: Weaving our Stories of Stewardship
We will have a story loom set up at the 2020 conference, and we encourage you to weave a row (or a few!) throughout our time together. Choose from a selection of materials that we will supply, including grapevines, reeds, jute twine, and wool roving, or bring your own! Try to find a material that represents the stewardship work that you do. It takes a few short minutes to weave a strand or two into the loom, and we can watch the strands of our lives merge to make a whole work of art.
Some ideas for materials to bring: An item of used clothing that is cut into strips. (Cotton or wool preferred, as synthetics are usually more difficult to work with.), Yarn (If you’re a crafter, bring along some leftovers from your stash!), natural materials from your yard or garden (woody vines such as grapevine and bittersweet work well, or large ornamental grasses). Feel free to get creative!
While the weaving will be the central activity, we will also provide a journal where you can share the story of the strands you weave. What material did you use, and how does it represent your stewardship efforts or connection to the natural world? Reflect in advance or be spontaneous, it’s up to you!
Traditional Water Ceremony
Join us as Panoka Walker leads us through this traditional practice that continues to be a deeply cherished and meaningful part of our annual gathering. You will be guided through the mental, physical, and spiritual connection to water as we collectively honor this sacred gift through song, movement, and contemplation. As we dedicate our lives to the betterment of the natural world and connections with one another, we take this time to appreciate water’s role in the universe, flowing endlessly through ourselves and everything around us. “When a prayer is said and a song is sung, the water becomes sacred, and can heal body, mind, and spirit.”
The ceremony takes place outside on the east patio, so remember to dress warmly! Photography is prohibited during the ceremony, and we ask that you please take the time to silence your phone before entering this shared space.
About The Stewardship Network
As a 501c(3) nonprofit with a strong record of apolitical, transformational change leadership, our organization provides a unique function in the conservation community: empowering individuals and organizations of all kinds by facilitating connections between volunteers, practitioners, experts, government agencies, local organizers, tribes, researchers, and anyone else working to craft and implement solutions to a multitude of the most pressing and challenging community conservation problems that pose a threat to our local, native ecosystems. As a nationally and internationally recognized organization in this field, the Stewardship Network is committed to practicing collaborative conservation in pursuit of collective impact.
More information coming soon, if you have any questions in the meantime please email us at email@example.com and we would be happy to help!