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ELKO -- The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is not just about poetry and music.

For more than 20 years, the Western Folklife Center has been hosting sessions that bring people together to discuss common concerns and find creative solutions to issues of resource conservation and land stewardship in the West. The 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which takes place Jan. 25-30, is no different.

"The Gathering serves as a trusted venue for informing and discussing current issues affecting land stewardship and the environment throughout the West,” said Western Folklife Center Executive Director David Roche. “We believe in a shared purpose and common goals for our community, arising from an exchange of diverse views. We consider it our role as a regional cultural leader to host these forums and panels and are pleased to have this opportunity again this year."

Stewardship discussions at the upcoming National Cowboy Poetry Gathering include:

Nurturing Great Riparian Plains

Riparian areas are some of the most productive landscapes on our ranges. Managing them is an ongoing process of doing more good than bad, which means first learning to recognize the difference. This panel will: explore the process of assessing whether riparian areas are healthy and functioning properly; share tools for how to manage them in balance; and hear from ranchers about their experiences assessing and managing these sensitive ecosystems. The discussion will be led by ranchers and Nevada land managers with years of experience helping landowners and ranchers assess and manage riparian areas. This session is free and open to the public and presented in collaboration with the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group and Nevada Creeks and Communities, and funded with support from the Timken-Sturgis Foundation.

Experiments in Land Stewardship

Revisiting the ways of the past can sometimes lead to breakthroughs for the future. Ranchers and Native Americans are experimenting with ways to benefit from or at least coexist with animals that have meant trouble in the past. Can ranchers partner with beavers to restore riparian areas? Is it possible for cattle to coexist with wolves while minimizing predation? Will returning buffalo to tribal lands reestablish hope for Indian people? Participants in this discussion will share personal stories of experimentation—with sometimes fascinating results—as they seek solutions toward supporting thriving, healthy western lands and ranching communities.

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Ranching with Predators

Montana rancher and wildlife biologist Hillary Anderson will discuss different forms of ranch and livestock management as strategies for making livestock less vulnerable to predation while also benefiting the ranch in many other ways. Anderson’s ranch experiments with tools such as: range riders, herding and low stress stockmanship, temporary electric fence, fladry, carcass removal, remote field cameras, hazing techniques and general wildlife tracking. They also work very closely with neighbors, state and federal agencies and many NGO funders throughout multiple ranching communities to help accomplish their goals.

The 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is supported by NV Energy, Newmont Gold Corp., Barrick Gold of North America, Frontier Communications, Nevada Humanities, Nevada Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, the City of Elko, the Elko County Recreation Board and many more foundations, businesses and individuals.

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