Conservancy special event focused on caring for the land
If you go
The event is on Friday (Dec. 6) at the Winthrop Barn. Dinner and conservation awards are a 5:30 p.m., the presentation at 7 p.m. The free dinner is already registered to capacity but admission to the presentation is free. For more information, call 996-2870 or email Sarah@MethowConservancy.org to join the wait list for a seat at dinner.
Caring for the land in the Methow Valley has myriad forms, and the Methow Conservancy’s “Four Thoughts” presentation on Friday (Dec. 6) offers Methow Valley residents and visitors an opportunity to hear four community members share their thoughts on that topic.
“We’ve been doing a special December program for 10 years,” said Methow Conservancy Associate Director Sarah Brooks, “and as we started to think about how to structure this year’s event, we recalled the ‘Methow Minds’ conversation that the Methow Valley Community Center organized in 2012 to celebrate its 100th birthday.”
That Methow Minds evening, which featured local speakers sharing their thoughts on a topic they were passionate about, was the genesis of the Conservancy’s upcoming presentation (which launches with a free holiday dinner that is already filled to capacity).
“We decided to pick the theme of caring for the land and ask four local residents to construct talks around this theme,” Brooks said, “in hopes that it will encourage people to think deeply and that it will spur smaller community conversations.”
The four speakers, said Brooks, offer a range of longevity in and experience with Methow Valley living, as well as diverse perspectives on caring for the land. They are:
• Katharine Bill. Bill is the former executive director of the Methow Conservancy and has lived in the valley since the late 1990s. “She’s a deep thinker and beautiful writer,” said Brooks. A great adventurer, Bill knows the valley and the mountains around it quite well. She’s also the parent of two young daughters and thus has an interesting generational perspective on caring for the land.
• Johnnie Duguay. Duguay is Methow grown — a Liberty Bell High School graduate who was raised in the Gold Creek area. Duguay went away to college and then returned as a wildland firefighter. She now works part-time as the Methow Conservancy’s stewardship associate and part-time for BCS Livestock, raising sheep with her partner, Casey Smith. A millennial, Duguay offers the perspective of the next generation of land stewards.
• Mark Miller. Miller is a native Methow descendant, who says of the Methow Valley, “this has been the home of my family for thousands of years.” Miller was a vital supporter of the Methow Headwaters campaign (which permanently protected 340,079 acres of land in the Methow Valley from industrial-scale mining) and spoke eloquently at the grand opening of the new Homestream Park in Winthrop, which is dedicated to the rivers, fish and native people of the Methow Valley. Miller provides a “unique time horizon on what it means to care for the land,” said Brooks.
• Vic Stokes. Stokes, a fourth-generation cattle rancher up Beaver Creek, understands what it means to care for the land while working on it, said Brooks. “He’s a thoughtful observer of the valley and how the landscape stays the same, and how it shifts,” she said. Stokes’ perspective is finely tuned to balancing the needs of the land and the needs of those whose livelihood depends on it.
Each speaker will talk for eight minutes, followed by a transition period and time for discussion in small group amongst audience members. “We’re hoping that people will gather and sit with others they don’t know as well,” said Brooks, “so that conversations can be robust and provide diverse perspectives.”
The event’s theme stems not only from the four speakers but also from the concept of forethought. “We are a community that thinks ahead,” said Brooks. “This evening will be about hearing from thought leaders and discussing new ideas that the presentations may trigger.”
A 23-year-old land trust, the Methow Conservancy strives to inspire people to care for the land of the Methow Valley and is dedicated to: protecting healthy land, clean water and fresh air; connecting people to the land; supporting local agriculture; and serving as a role model for the rural mountain West.”