Highlights from Rally 2016
“I have attended Rally for 17 consecutive years and experienced many great speakers during that time, but none as moving as 18-year-old Umar, who helped remind us of the power and transformative ability of nature, love, community and the human spirit.” Edward Clement, of the accredited Save Mount Diablo in California, posted this comment on the Land Trust Alliance’s Facebook page after Rally 2016: The National Land Conservation Conference in Minneapolis October 28-30.
Clement, along with more than a thousand conservationists, heard Umar speak during the Opening Plenary with Robyn Carlton, chief executive officer of the accredited Lookout Mountain Conservancy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, who said she became interested in community conservation after hearing consultant Judy Anderson talk about its power to change lives at an Alliance leadership training.
Robyn and Zac Brown, former principal at the Howard School, a high school troubled by gang violence, spoke about the partnership to bring students on to the mountain that none had ever visited, even though the school is only two miles away.
On their first day on the mountain, the nervous students were reluctant to share any details about themselves, telling Robyn, “We don’t want anyone to know anything about us.” When Robyn handed out tools for working the land, one student looked at her with tears in his eyes. “No one has ever said they would trust me.”
The Intern & Leadership Program at the Howard School has developed into what is rapidly becoming a nationally recognized program using the land as a classroom to teach critical leadership, academic, social and conservation skills. Umar, a program participant, is looking forward to his future with hope.
“When Miss Robyn asked me to speak in front of 1,500 strangers, I agreed because the important impact this program has had on my life and others just had to be shared. Anyone who knew me before would now be blown away by my confidence, my vision for the future and hunger to succeed. I’ve seen the change in myself and so has everyone else.”
Robyn ended the plenary with a challenge. “We are 1,200 land trusts. How does community conservation figure into the work that you do?”
The Land Trust Alliance thanks all of the people who made Rally 2016 a great success.
Watch the opening plenary, including Robyn, Zac and Umar’s speeches
Watch Andrew Bowman, president of the Land Trust Alliance deliver his first Rally speech, "Land is the answer..."
Watch David Hartwell's acceptance speech for his Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award & Fellowship Award
Read the press release.
Watch video: David Hartwell, recipient of the Land Trust Alliance’s Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award & Fellowship Award
Watch video: Arizona Land & Water Trust (accredited) recipient of the Land Trust Alliance’s National Land Trust Excellence Award
Watch video: Oblong Land Conservancy (accredited) and Putnam County Land Trust of New York, recipients of the Land Trust Alliance’s National Land Trust Excellence Award
Visit RallyNet for presentations, handouts and resources
Save the Date for Rally 2017
Join us for Rally 2017 in Denver, Colorado, October 26-28!
Christina Soto is senior editor and content manager at the Land Trust Alliance.