By Jaime Jovanovich-Walker, Community Outreach Coordinator
Most professionals: “Uggh, I have to attend a work conference next week.”
Me: “ERMEHGERD, I GET TO GO TO A WORK CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!” (Anyone who knows me can testify that this is a 100% accurate description of my normal speech patterns).
And not just any work conference. THE work conference for land trust and conservation professionals, the Land Trust Alliance’s 2018 Rally in Pittsburgh, PA. Rally brings together almost 2,000 of the nation’s brightest, most creative, and incredibly passionate land conservation experts for several days of learning, sharing, networking, all served with a hearty dose of laughter and comradery. And a lot of plaid and fleece vests. Like, a lot a lot.
Rally not only brings together this group of amazing cohorts, but also includes outstanding keynote speakers, special presentations on land trusts doing ground-breaking things in their communities, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for another chance to meet Nature Glenn, the penultimate Instagram star from our friends at Columbia Land Trust.
Speaking of, if you follow us on our social media channels, be sure to like our Pittsburgh-based tweets, instas and posts so we can win the social media posting contest (actually, I don’t know that there really is a contest, but like our content anyway)!
I have been anxiously awaiting this year’s Rally since the moment Rally 2017 ended last year. I have a lot of favorite parts of my job, but this might actually be the top of my list.
Not only is it a way to learn vital skills, connect with other communications and development professionals, and find inspiration, it’s truly life-affirming being surrounded by so many talented and dedicated conservation leaders. Conservation isn’t easy, but with an entire country of colleagues to fall back on and a national body working to advance conservation funding and awareness, the future looks brighter and brighter.
This year, I’m really excited for the line up of classes and activities, including attending the national communicators network luncheon where we can weigh in on the design and feel of the Land Trust Alliance’s new relevance campaign, a national endeavor to raise awareness of and support for land conservation. I’ll also be learning about how to better connect and engage with the hunting and fishing community, how we can better set the Palouse Land Trust up for long-term strength and vitality, and the best community conservation projects and strategies from land trusts big and small.
Rally is filled with so much wonderful content, I’m already starting to empty my brain of any superfluous knowledge (you know like, pre-calculus, the home phone numbers of my childhood pals, and my weird obsession with the effects of entropy on the universe), so I can maximize every brain cell’s full potential next week. I’ll be returning to my beloved rolling hills supercharged with land conservation inspiration, excitement, and knowledge to share with our board, supporters, and our community at large.
And fingers crossed “pre-calculus,” “entropy,” and “phone numbers of childhood friends,” never come up when I’m on Jeopardy.