Several of us headed up to the gray and rainy Pacific Northwest last week to participate in the National Land Conservation Conference (aka Land Trust Alliance Rally) in Portland, Oregon last week. This event is an opportunity to attend seminars and workshops designed to provide information regarding the best practices for land conservation, new conservation tools and opportunities, and to provide additional education to land trust staff, board members, and volunteers. It was inspiring to be surrounded by more than 2,000 like minded motivated conservation professionals and volunteers. Land Trusts from across the country (and the world) were present at this event which started on Sunday and concluded on Wednesday.

Oregon Convention Center

Oregon Convention Center

We attended seminars and workshops ranging from how organizations are dealing with these difficult economic times, how to we can create conservation easements that will accommodate for climate change, how to expand our volunteer program, and much more. I spent four days scribbling down notes like I hadn’t since in school and returned to the office excited to start implementing these new ideas and — conserving more land!

It was my first time in what has been voted ‘the Greenest City in America’ and though I didn’t get to see too much of it (the Conference didn’t leave much time for exploring) it was quite a contrast to our home base here in Bishop. Riding the light rail downtown while being serenaded by a guitar playing stranger, checking out one of the dozens of local brew-pubs, or walking along one of the hundreds of paths crossing the city and being amazed at the number of bicycles (Portland is also known as one of the most bike friendly cities) was exciting and enjoyable — but I have to admit it was also nice to return to our snow rimmed Owens Valley and the sound of the cows in the pasture behind my house rather than the regular rumble of the light rail outside my room.

What keeps you inspired?