The Emerald Edge region from Alaska to Washington state is one of our top global priorities, and we think about the region in a global fashion: What we've learned in other areas of the world influence our thinking about community-led conservation in the Emerald Edge.
Recently, two TNC Canada staff members, Claire Hutton and Allison Martin, spent time in Tanzania in Africa with the African Leadership Network to learn about successes in community-led conservation to help influence our work going forward in the Emerald Edge.
"...with different cultures, different histories, different landscapes, different threats, different socio-political drivers, what commonalities could there possibly be? What learnings could I bring from East Africa to the Pacific coastal rainforest, where grizzlies roam, whales swim and salmon spawn? Or the other Canadian landscapes I work in, like the Boreal Forest in the Northwest Territories and Manitoba, with its wild rivers and continental-scale migration of caribou?
"Despite my initial trepidation, I was amazed and inspired by the many common issues and themes that characterize community-based conservation work no matter where you are in the world, including the importance of supporting local communities to play a central role in conservation so that solutions are lasting and durable. For example, in Africa 60 percent of wildlife live and move outside of protected areas. So conservation successes depend on involving local communities to identify the problems and design relevant solutions that both protect the environment and sustain local cultures and livelihoods."
"Upon arriving in Tanzania, it didn’t take long to see the connection between people and nature right before my eyes, and it was beautiful. In the heart of the Burunge Community Wildlife Management Area, the leadership workshop was punctuated by visits from zebras, mongooses, dik diks and birds of all sorts.
"We learned about strengthening three levels of leadership: leadership as an individual, leadership within one’s organization, and leadership across multiple organizations and interconnected systems. As the week progressed, each of these levels of leadership became more concrete for me. It was deeply inspiring to hear about the tangible actions participants had taken in their organizations between the first and second workshops to implement the concepts we were learning together."
Banner photo credit: © Nick Hall