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Accomplishments from the 2011 Western Week in Washington

Posted by Renee Magyar on May 12, 2011

The 2011 Rural Voices for Conservation Western Week in Washington was full of accomplishments, here are a few.

Martin_Goebel%2C_Mary_Wagner_SNW-FS_MOU_Signing
Martin Goebel of Sustainable Northwest and Mary Wagner of the US Forest Service sign a Memorandum of Understanding

Thursday marked the fourth and final day of this year's Western Week in Washington. Below is a list of some of the highlights. For photos of the group and their (highly productive) adventures in Washington D.C., please see our Facebook page.

  1. 38 RVCC members from 13 states attended
  2. Inspired by RVCC, a sister organization on the eastern seaboard has formed called Coalition of Eastern Forest Communities, CEFC
  3. Dozens of meetings were held with Congress and the Administration (especially CEQ, EPA, USDA-RD, USDA-FS, etc.) to educate and promote measures and policies that address critical issues to our rural community partners -- appropriations, biomass, community capacity building, monitoring, stewardship, climate change, etc.
  4. SNW signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the USDA-Forest Service, enabling SNW and RVCC to work much more closely and in a much more agile fashion with the agency. This took place in the Chief's with Mary Wagner the Associate Chief. She called us a rare, core partner of the Agency and likened what SNW has achieved no less important to what Rachel Carson and other seminal conservation leaders did when they catalyzed major paradigm shifting movements in this country. (Wow!)
  5. We met with Robert Bonnie, Senior Advisor for Environment and Climate at the USDA, Will Shafroth, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Amy Salzman to discuss the critical role of working landscapes in the America's Great Outdoors Initiative.
  6. At our packed evening reception Amy Salzman, Assistant Director of Policy at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Mary Wagner were our keynotes. Amy suggested that without SNW and RVCC a strong rural agenda and perspective would not be as prominent as it is in the newly-released President's "America's Great Outdoors" policy. Mary was again complementary about SNW and RVCC.