Friends Summit 2022 Highlights

Erika Winton
|June 13, 2022

In mid-May, the Conservation Lands Foundation hosted our first Friends Summit since 2019, safely gathering together nearly 200 community-based conservation leaders and advocates with renowned experts and facilitators at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The venue was selected in an ongoing effort by the Conservation Lands Foundation to support Indigenous communities across the West.

This multi-day conference featured 23 speakers who facilitated 25 plenary and individual sessions to help our partners sharpen their skills in topics such as leadership development, multilingual engagement and cultural sensitivity, strategic organizing, and civic engagement for non-profits.

Highlights included:

  • The Spirit Coalescent and Lyla June provided moving and unforgettable instrumental, multi-media visual, poetry, choreography, and musical performances. In the inspiring words of Lyla June, “We each hold a pen. Let us co-author a story of how humanity fell in love with itself and its Mother Earth once again.”
  • Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality provided an insightful closing speech detailing the importance of local leadership and community engagement in the White House’s efforts to improve, preserve, and protect America’s public health and environment.

More than your run-of-the-mill conference, the Friends Summit provides the space for local advocates working at the intersection of community engagement and public land protection to connect, share stories of challenges and successes, and build on our shared goals to grow a powerful, resilient, and inclusive conservation movement for the future.

Outstanding leadership by our Friends Grassroots Network was recognized through awards for advocacy, innovation, and impact.

CSU team with awards

Friends Group of the Year went to Conserve Southwest Utah

CalWild team with awards

Excellence in Conservation Leadership went to CalWild

Friends of the Inyo team with awards

Jora Fogg with Friends of the Inyo was named Advocate of the Year

Mojave Desert Land Trust team with awards

The inaugural Innovation Award was given to the Mojave Desert Land Trust

Attendees attested that the Friends Summit allowed them to forge valuable relationships with other groups, connect with new and old friends, and build personal and organizational resilience. For a grassroots organization it can feel lonely to fight for public lands, but when united in a network, each individual organization is much stronger.

The 2022 Friends Summit was generously sponsored by our partners Haglöfs, MiiR, Nusenda Credit Union, Patagonia, and The VF Foundation.

Thank you to all our partners and participants in making the Friends Summit a success!

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