An international success : Great Plains Windbreak Renovation & Innovation Conference, 2012
In March of 2011 discussions began among conservation agencies and organizations in Canada and the U.S. about the need for a region-wide conference or training session on windbreak renovation. Representatives from three Provinces, eight States, numerous local agencies and two federal agroforestry centers met to plan such a conference. That was the beginning of the Great Plains Windbreak Renovation and Innovation Conference that was held in July of 2012 at the International Peace Garden on the border of the U.S. and Canada. The end result after a year of planning was a conference attended by 82 people in-person from 11 states and 3 provinces and about 35 people remotely via the internet. The key components of the planning process that led to a successful conference included: region-wide representation from local, provincial, state and federal conservation partners; a survey of agencies on the likelihood of the number of people they would support to participate in the conference; and a commitment to create learning opportunities apart from the primary conference site. Participant evaluations of the conference indicated that the mix of science, real-world experiences and new techniques and equipment helped make the conference a success. Results from the initial Great Plains conference include: Provincial windbreak renovation meetings, a Southern Great Plains Windbreak Renovation Conference and an online lecture series utilizing ten speakers from the original conference.