Two weeks ago, the Department of Interior’s National Climate and Energy Task Force invited the LCC Network and Climate Science Centers to provide a progress update and showcase their accomplishments at a meeting in Washington, D.C. Both your Cooperative and the Southeast Climate Science Center sent staff—Rua, Adam Terando, and me—to make a presentation highlighting our successful partnership. We hopped on a plane, put on our snazziest blazers, powered up with waffles for breakfast, and marched off to the Interior Building to meet Deputy Secretary Mike Connor, several Bureau Chiefs, and other staff. I had abandoned my high heels at this point, but I think we look rather official! Don’t you agree?
Elsa Haubold, the LCC Network Coordinator, started off by sharing some background on the LCC initiative and an update on the Network’s Strategic Planning efforts. Doug Beard, Chief of the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, introduced the Climate Science Centers. Rua and I wrapped up by presenting on the Conservation Blueprint, featuring some of our key Blueprint users to illustrate how the tool is already shaping conservation action and investment in the Southeast. The timely and well-publicized release of Adam’s Megalopolis paper helped set the stage for the collaboration between LCCs and CSCs.
Many task force members asked insightful questions and even stayed 10 minutes into the lunch hour to continue the discussion. The Deputy Secretary told Elsa afterward that he’d like to see similar updates from other LCCs and CSCs, so it’s exciting to see that our progress so far has been well received at the national level! It was certainly a whirlwind tour of the nation’s capital and a great opportunity. I found it an inspiring experience and a valuable reminder to stay focused on creating tangible conservation benefits so we can continue to demonstrate the value of what we’re doing together as a cooperative.