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Connecting the Dots: Effective Land Stewardship through Monitoring

February 24 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

How can data be helpful for building understanding, reducing risk and connecting people?

When data “sits on the shelf,” or we select strategies that are infeasible, have low-utility or high-risk, monitoring does not support producers with management decision-making, connect to one another, or collaborate effectively with agencies, tribes, landowner groups and other potential stewardship partners.

In this four-part webinar series, speakers with on-the-ground experience and knowledge will share successes and lessons learned in resource monitoring, data management and interpretation, and in meeting objectives of multi-stakeholder efforts. Some of the questions that will be addressed, include:

1. How do we choose what data to collect?

2. What is the value of cooperative monitoring?

3. How do we get started?

4. What is the value of long-term data?

5. How can we steward data for landowner and local community benefit?

Given historical instances of data misuse and misinterpretation, one focus will be on how to build trust around data with tribes and other rural, land and natural resource-dependent communities. Additionally, given the flurry of technological advances, some starting points to understand what is available and how to receive support will be shared.

Whether you are a landowner, ranch or farm manager, or work for an agency or organization, you will find value in this peer-to-peer learning opportunity ranging from big picture considerations to specific tools and approaches. Attend all four sessions or come to the ones you can. Free. Instructors will be announced shortly, stay tuned…

Registration includes all four sessions. You only need to register once.

Session 1 – Feb 17th, 11:00 – 12:30 MT

Flexibility with Accountability: Applications of Data in Adaptive Management

Big picture overview of ranch-scale to regional monitoring across multiple jurisdictions and the value of data for decision-making in complex and shifting systems (i.e., influenced by drought, market fluctuations and regulatory dynamics). Moderated by Bre Owens.


Wayne Knight, Holistic Management International

With 27 years of ranching experience using Holistic Management, Wayne has had an identity crisis. When he joined the 11 000-acre family ranching business he called himself a cattle rancher. He changed to calling himself a grass farmer. Later still, he called himself a soil-microbe farmer, though he has always marketed beef. Privileged to work with his father, Tom Knight, who was an early adopter of Holistic Management under Allan Savory – Stan Parsons consulting, Wayne enthusiastically increased and intensified the practices HMI teaches. He became a Certified Educator in 2006 and was actively involved with the Southern African CE community organization, Community Dynamics. He has spoken at numerous conferences in Southern Africa, trained and mentored farmers, hosted open days on his property, and has written about his positive results using Holistic Management.
Before joining the team at HMI Wayne served as a board member of the organization for 8 years. Through his enthusiasm for Holistic Management Wayne has traveled widely visiting farmers who practice high-density, long recovery grazing practices in Southern Africa, Australia, and the US. As a young graduate with a Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Natal, South Africa, he traveled across the US west working on ranches in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, California, and New Mexico. When not involved in Holistic Management you will find him fishing, birding, hiking, or exploring wild spaces and places with his family. An enthusiastic traveler, hunter, and photographer, he loves discovering new places and making new friends.

Michaela Gold, Northern Arizona University

Michaela Gold is currently finishing up her MS in Environmental Science and Policy at Northern Arizona University. Her research focuses on rancher-led collaboratives across the Intermountain West, exploring the role of monitoring data in their efforts including the barriers, challenges, and opportunities. In addition to her graduate work, Michaela participates in the Western Collaborative Conservation Network and was a conservation intern with the Center for Large Landscape Conservation. Michaela was recently announced as a Presidential Management Fellow finalist and plans to continue working on collaborative and large landscape-scale conservation efforts after the completion of her master’s degree. Michaela is focused on solving our greatest conservation issues through thoughtful collaborative processes and the implementation of results-driven planning. She has a special interest in comprehensive land management, landscape-scale conservation efforts, and collaborative adaptive management. Prior to going back to graduate school, Michaela was the programs & partnerships manager at the Outdoor Foundation, leading the Thrive Outside Community Program, and a grants administrator at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, focused on the Rocky Mountain regional programs. In her free time, Michaela enjoys hiking, camping, playing ultimate frisbee, and spending time with friends at her favorite breweries in Flagstaff, AZ. Find Michaela on Linkedin.

James Rogers, Ranch Manager/Consultant

James has been driven to succeed in the cattle industry since he was 14 years old when his father helped him start a herd of registered Angus cattle.  Although his original interest and education was in cattle genetics and animal production, James has since turned his attention to the Land and the People.  He managed the legendary Winecup Gamble Ranch from 2011-2019 with his current work focused on systems that simplify ranch and land management. James believes in a triple bottom line approach to ranching with a recognition that the weakest leg of the stool is often the social.   He is always eager to continue his education in resource management and learn from the people he surrounds himself with.


Catch up on Part 1 and join us for the next session!

Session 2 – Feb 24th, 11:00 – 12:30 MT

Where Does the Data Go? Data Collection and Management with Multiple Stakeholders

Considerations for developing a monitoring plan – exploring data collection and analysis partners, relevant metrics and management platforms to meet monitoring objectives. Moderated by Eva Stricker.


Leah Puro, Open Team
Leah Puro is the Agricultural Research Coordinator at Wolfe’s Neck Center. She coordinates the on-farm research trials, translates research into programming and education and works with OpenTEAM (Open Technology for Agricultural Management) to test out and provide feedback on open source technology tools focused on agricultural data and soil health. She earned a Masters in Science in International Agricultural Development from the University of California Davis, conducting research in Vietnam and  Cambodia with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and in California with the University of California Cooperative Extension. Her agricultural experiences have ranged from collecting soils in Vietnam to crop rotation planning for vegetable CSAs to trimming the hooves of 200 sheep and lots in between. 
Bill Milton, MT Range Monitoring Group

My family has been ranching in Montana since 1956. My wife Dana and I have owned and operated our current family ranch in Musselshell County since 1978. We have three children, two boys working in Montana, and a daughter, a fireman paramedic in Connecticut, who plans to return to the family ranch. During the last 40 or so years, I have worked with several local organizations and efforts committed to taking care of land and community. Most recently, I am participating as a rancher member, and sometimes facilitator, with a number of working groups in Central Montana, covering nine counties, including the Musselshell Watershed Coalition, the Winnett ACES, the CMR Community Working Group, and the Musselshell Valley Community Foundation. I have a particular interest in figuring out how ranchers and local communities monitor the health of their working landscapes and communities. Since February of 2016, I have been facilitating a broad and diverse group of partners, called the Rangeland Monitoring Group (RMG), dedicated to finding an effective means to achieve this objective. Certainly not unrelated, my practice as a Soto Zen Priest, has helped inform and support my appreciation for our shared interdependence and the need to imagine solutions respectful of everyone’s unmet needs.

Kent Ellett, USFS

Rangeland Management Specialist, Southwestern Region (Arizona, New Mexico, and the Grasslands in Oklahoma & Texas). Kent Ellett began his career in 1985 as a seasonal (Range Aide) in Utah.  In 1992, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Range Science from Utah State University. For the past 30 years he has worked in Range Management and as a Line Officer for the Forest Service and the BLM in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Arizona with some work in New Mexico.

Lawrence Gallegos, WLA

Lawrence grew up in Taos, New Mexico, and has spent a significant portion of his career in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado before re-locating with his family recently to Santa Fe. Lawrence is the sixth generation to run his family’s ranch.  Lawrence studied agricultural and civil engineering at New Mexico State University and has a background in ranching, water resource management, NRCS and local government (he served three-terms as elected county clerk in Conejos County). He was an early member of the Quivira Coalition and has served as president of the Sangre de Cristo Natural Heritage Area, the Tio Grande Livestock Association, the Rancher’s Choice Cooperative, and the El Codo and New Cenicero Ditch Companies. He has also served on the boards of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable and the San Luis Valley Advisory Committee to the Colorado State Engineer. He was vice president of the San Luis Valley Farmers Union, an advisory board member to the San Luis Valley Nature Conservancy, the 2002 Water Manager of the Year for the Colorado Division of Water Resources Division 3, and the 2008 Conservationist of the Year for the Rio Grande Watershed Association of Conservation Districts. 


Recording of Part 2

Session 3 – March 17th, 11:00 – 12:30 MT

Putting People and Data to Work: Collaborative Monitoring Successes

Three examples of community-based and regional cooperative monitoring approaches. Moderated by Lawrence Gallegos.


David Gilroy, Taos SWCD

David Gilroy has been working with Taos SWCD since 2019 where he works as a conservation educator visiting regional elementary and middle schools.  He seasonally coordinates student forest monitoring teams to connect Taos County high school and college students with the ecological changes resulting from watershed restoration projects.   With formal schooling from Taos High School (’96), UNM (‘01), and the U. of Wisconsin (‘08), he enjoys work that connects scientific research, public education, and community resiliency.  Prior to his time at Taos SWCD, David’s professional experiences collected since 1997 have centered around ecological field research, youth career development in conservation work, and classroom science teaching.  Outside of the workplace, he and his family enjoy regular lessons from nature as they explore interesting places, farm, and try to live closer to the land with each passing season.

Kris Hulvey, Working Lands Conservation

Dr. Kris Hulvey is an ecologist and Lead Scientist at Working Lands Conservation.  Under her leadership, WLC conducts research that tests innovative conservation strategies for working landscapes that require collaborative action among stakeholders. 

Dr. Hulvey has over 20 years of research experience focused on ecosystem restoration, and the links between ecosystem management, ecosystem functioning, and human well-being. Her past research includes restoration of ecosystem services in Australian woodlands, the management of yellow starthistle in California grasslands, and the effects and management of non-native species on islands in California and Alaska. She now works in Utah rangelands with an interdisciplinary team to determine how innovative grazing systems on public lands can improve riparian conditions while also supporting rancher livelihoods.

Chaz Perry, U of A

Chaz Perry is a data scientist with the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment. He is focused on rangeland, forestry, and geospatial solutions. He joined the VGS development team in 2015 to further spatial capabilities, manage increased user demand, and provide technical support and training.

Kent Ellett, USFS

Rangeland Management Specialist, Southwestern Region (Arizona, New Mexico, and the Grasslands in Oklahoma & Texas). Kent Ellett began his career in 1985 as a seasonal (Range Aide) in Utah.  In 1992, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Range Science from Utah State University. For the past 30 years he has worked in Range Management and as a Line Officer for the Forest Service and the BLM in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Arizona with some work in New Mexico.


Recording of Part 3

Session 4 – March 24th, 11:00 – 12:30 MT

Data Stewardship: Monitoring in Service to Local Communities 

How data can support and enhance collaborative efforts and outcomes for land stewards and local communities. Steward (verb): to manage or look after (another’s property). Moderated by Eva Stricker



Karl Benedict, UNM Libraries

Dr. Karl Benedict has worked since 1986 in parallel tracks of information management, geospatial information technology and archaeology. Within the College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences he serves as an Associate Professor; as the Director of the Research Data Services (RDS) program; as the Director of Information Technology Services (ITS); as subject liaison for the department of Geography and Environmental Studies; and as the graduate student and faculty liaison. His previous experience includes fifteen years at the Earth Data Analysis Center at the University of New Mexico (including five years as the EDAC Director), for the US Forest Service, National Park Service, and in the private sector conducting archaeological research, developing geospatial databases, performing geospatial and statistical analyses, and developing web-based information delivery applications. In these positions he has developed and managed the development of information technology and data management capacity in support of multiple research and application domains including public health, resource management, hydro-climate research, atmospheric modeling, disaster planning and mitigation, and renewable energy research.

Andrew Martinez, University of Arizona

Martinez is enrolled as a member of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community. He is also Diegueno/lipay with ties to the Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians in San Diego County. He graduated from the University of Arizona in the Business Management program at the Eller College of Management with a double minor in American Indian Studies and Government and Public Policy. He came to NNI as an intern in Fall 2013 where he was tasked with gaining a better understanding of the BIA Secretarial Election process.

Jared Talley, Boise State

Jared Talley was born and raised in the Southwestern Idaho and is deeply connected to Idaho’s desert communities. He earned his doctorate in the philosophy of environmental governance from Michigan State University and his masters in environmental policy and natural resource management from Boise State University. Currently, Jared works at Boise State University and with both the Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation and STEM Action Center. His research is place-based and focuses on community collaboration in the environmental governance of the American West; he is an environmental philosopher by training and an interdisciplinary scholar by practice. Jared’s work seeks to better understand how communities relate to the land and how this relationship poses obstacles and opportunities for collaboration and governance. In doing so, he studies the role of science in collaborative policy, the role of place in environmental identity, and the role of the imagination in mediating both. Specifically, he works on grazing management and public land permitting, community-led monitoring programs, place-based environmental governance, rural environmental collaboration, and the imaginative experience of our natural and built environments — all in the contexts of the intermountain American West.

Register here:

Registration includes all four sessions. You only need to register once.


February 24
11:00 am - 12:30 pm