QCNR Facebook NEWS-Terry Messmer receives the Robert L. Patterson Award
Dr. Terry Messmer was recently honored with the Robert L. Patterson Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to conservation of sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse from the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. It noted Messmer's efforts on the Utah Community-based Conservation Program, which engages stakeholders most affected by conservation decisions.
"This is validation by my peers of a life-long commitment to a search for truth and the role of science is our lives. It's a validation of the process of stakeholder engagement," said Messmer.
The CBCP fostered a new dialogue about the sagebrush ecosystem and the role of local working groups. Each local working groups was unique in that they were locally-led and adapted to local needs and situations. They realized they needed better information to guide conservation actions. Most did not initially trust the published research on grouse, the scientists doing it, and more specifically, the decision-makers using it to set conservation policies.
The phrase "best available science" to them meant information used to regulate their livelihoods. These perceptions were fueled by the failure of the scientific community to more fully engage stakeholders in the discovery process.
"Building trust requires all stakeholders to be fully engaged in processes committed equally to learning about each other and the landscapes while they are actively managing them," said Messmer. "When stakeholders are forced to make a choice between taking care of their livelihoods or participating in a meeting about conservation, the livelihood wins. An education or natural resources conservation strategy that does not embrace this reality will fail."