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Takeaways from the 16th Annual Biennial Conference of Science & Management for the Colorado Plateau & Southwest Region

Representatives from the Southwest Climate Hub, Lauren Kramer and Maude Dinan, attended the 16th Annual Biennial Conference of Science & Management for the Colorado Plateau & Southwest Region. The conference was held at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona, and sponsored by NAU, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Southwest Fire Science Consortium, the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The theme of the conference was “Creating hope through action: advancing solutions to rapid environmental change.” This theme resonated throughout the conference, opening with a keynote address from Sasha Reed (USGS) who shared stories of hope in times of change. Hosted sessions ranged in diverse topics from wildfire management and ecosystem vulnerability to cultural resources and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Tribal perspectives were well represented throughout the conference in many sessions and workshops. The sessions highlighting indegenous knowledge and management were highly anticipated and attended by participants. These sessions provided a unique opportunity for land management agencies and tribal communities to engage. The Institute of Tribal Ecological Professionals (ITEP) and USGS hosted a knowledge-sharing workshop titled “Native Viewpoints on Increasing Vulnerabilities and Landscape Changes Impacting Food Sovereignty, Security, Cultural Livelihood, Traditional Medicinal Plants, and Land Cover Dynamics.” The workshop’s focus was to listen, discuss, and develop science plans with tribal communities’ priorities in mind. Tribal members discussed increased vulnerabilities and changes on the landscape. Loss and significant ecological change was a resounding theme; however, there was also discussion of hopeful initiatives to help create resilience in a changing landscape. In collaboration with the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), the Hub was able to donate 14 rain gauges to increase participation in the network among tribes in the southwest region.

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