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Session Schedule
Session Schedule
2017 Partners Conference graphic

2017 Conference Dates:

May 10th-12th, 2017
Beaver Run Resort​​ 
Breckenridge, CO​​​​​

How will your organization stay relevant amidst Colorado’s changing demographics and growing population?

​Thursday, May 11th, 2017​

1:15pm - 2:30pm ​2:45pm - 4:00pm

​Finding Your Why

Finding your Why is designed to identify and harness the core beliefs of you and your team by creating clarity, vision and unified culture – to become and inspired organization. It is a method through which you can make decisions to bring your cause to what you do every day.  You will leave the workshop inspired to take action in fulfilling your Why and creating new opportunities for you and your organization.

​The Power of Your Story

If you’re a non-profit, a government agency or any organization that depends on the support of the community for your success, you understand the importance of establishing and maintaining a positive relationship of trust. Gaining that trust comes not only from the work that you do but also from the story you tell about the mission and goal of your organization. The stories about the mission of your work ignites the passion of stakeholders and champions of your organization and those champions can encourage and support funding. Come learn how to build a strong, consistent story to market to all platforms. ​​​​​

​Colorado's Principles for Advancing Outdoor Recreation and Conservation 

Colorado recently became the first state to formally adopt the Principles for Advancing Outdoor Recreation and Conservation through a formal action of the Parks and Wildlife Commission. These “SHIFT Principles” were re-defined for Colorado, incorporating elements of the North American Model and recognizing the role of private lands play in conservation. The SHIFT Principles are a call for unity and can be the platform our organizations stand upon to support, discuss and balance outdoor recreation and sustainable management practices of habitat and wildlife in Colorado. In this session, we will explore what these principles may mean for you and your organization and what role you can play to support this initiative.

​Fireside Chat: Access, Use & Permitting on Federal Lands

As Public Land Property managers and commercial outfitters how do we work together to deliver a high quality product to the public we serve?

Ultimately we all serve the public who owns the land that defines the work that we do, yet rarely come together to discuss best practices, common goals, and expectations for delivering a quality experience. Come and learn how property managers and commercial outfitters alike can accomplish common goals. ​​

​Colorado's Carrying Capacity Crisis

Has Colorado reached a “crisis” stage with regards to its social carrying capacity and outdoor ​​resources?   With a burgeoning population, shifting demographics and finite resources, this is a predicament facing many communities.  This workshop will investigate the “social” dimension of carrying capacity and explore the amount and type of use an area can accommodate while sustaining quality visitor experiences.   Workshop participants will assess various case studies from around the state and brainstorm solutions.​

​Partnerhip Best Practices - Case Study

The Nature Conservancy is a proud partner of Vail Resort’s summer activities program entitled “Epic Discovery.” The program is designed to connect kids and families with nature and encourages a “learn through play” model by featuring extensive environmental education elements throughout the activities. The Nature Conservancy was a partner in creating this interpretive content along with the U.S. Forest Service to provide scientific content to the eco-discovery experiences. The Nature Conservancy is also the recipient of one percent of summer activity revenue to support forest, water and wildlife conservation efforts. Epic Discovery launched last summer at Vail and Heavenly Resorts and is set to launch at Breckenridge this upcoming Summer.​

​Technology Tools to Develop Partnerships and Deepen Collaboration​

Become a pro at technology tools that make it easier for you to connect, communicate, and collaborate with partners! During this interactive session, we’ll dig deeper into Silk (, the online database of outdoor partners that was introduced at last year’s conference. We’ll also explore The Civic Network (, an online platform that can support your collaborative efforts. Bring your computer, tablet, or smartphone to this session to fully experience the capabilities of these two platforms while taking advantage of the opportunity to practice and receive coaching.

Creative Problem Solving – The Exciting Way to Bring Your Great Ideas to Reality

Does just hearing the phrase Strategic Planning send a shudder down your spine, running for the hills? Matt Gray has a fresh spin on what it means to think carefully about your strategy, asking the questions that must be asked, and building the right team and context. By using concepts of design thinking, we’ll walk through the seven steps of solving any problem. While we do so, you’ll have the opportunity to apply this information directly to a challenge you’re trying to overcome or a strategy you’re trying to develop. Gain a new skill set today and walk away with a process to solve all your problems.

​Recreation Access for Big W vs. w

The Big W little w dialogue centers on impact and access to defined wilderness. If you have the same wilderness ethic of deep wilderness (big W) in a heavy urban zone then you have less opportunity for access and engagement and funding like if you treat it as little w (think Chamonix France). Come learn how to not "do away" with a wilderness ethic but rather how important it is to define the front country vs backcountry.

​ Colloquium on Outdoor Recreation

As agencies and organizations are asked to do more with less, and jurisdictional boundaries and responsibilities continue to overlap, nature-based tourism and recreation managers require accurate data regarding resource use both within, and beyond, their boundaries. This research seeks to identify the key issues and concerns and the associated recreation and tourism opportunities that affect the management of the Rocky Mountain region, as identified by relevant stakeholders. This will ensure the development of future research projects that address relevant and timely challenges and opportunities, ensuring that limited resources are put to the most effective use.

​Volunteer Stewardship in Colorado-A Watershed Moment

With Colorado's rapidly growing population, booming recreational economy, changing climate and uncertain national politcal landscape, the need to care for and conserve our public lands heritage has never been greater. Join the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Great Outdoors Colorado, and the Colorado Outdoor Stewardship Coalition for a joint announcement of $1.2 million in new funding to elevate volunteer stewardship efforts in our beloved Centennial state. Help shape this program, and the future of stewardship efforts in Colorado, in this interactive session.​

​Latinos and the Outdoors

​Latinos comprise approximately 20 percent of Colorado’s population and one in every five Denver-area residents is Latino.  While this population and its needs are growing, the programs, networks and institutions are slow to catch up. Latinos have fewer resources to explore, enjoy, and learn about their natural resources.

This presentation will discuss three main areas:

  • Background, culture, and history of Latinos and their use of the outdoors.

  • Information on the challenges Latinos face to be able to engage in outdoor activities.

  • Strategies for attracting Latinos to outdoor programs and recreational activities.

​Partner Speed Networking

Please join us to connect – in a fun, informal environment – with new partners working across Colorado. In this speed networking session, Susan Alden Weingardt and Emily Olsen hope to get you networking, talking, and definitely laughing as you “date” unlikely partners. We’ll push you to think about a-typical partners and how new opportunities could enhance your work. W​e’ll also share tips and advice on building effective partnerships. And of course, you can move on quickly if it’s not a good fit!

Prepare your elevator speech, bring business cards, and come ready to discuss questions about who you are, what you’re passionate about, and opportunities you see for new partnerships.

​Best Practices for Managing Tomorrow's Volunteers

As more people recreate outdoors and operational budgets shrink, how can we continue to make sure our public lands do not degrade to a point that makes them less inviting, accessible, and relevant to future generations? Come join this panel discussion on how to develop effective tools and techniques to develop a highly trained and engaged volunteer workforce in caring for our great outdoors. This discussion will cover the varous components of the changing face of volunteerism, provide tangible examples of best practices, and highlight key ingredients to make sure your volunteer program is successful. In this collaborative session, let's work together to understand the changing demographics and volunteer needs of our diverse state. 

Friday, May 12th, 2017

8:45am-10:00am 10:15am-11:30am

​Telling Your Story 201

This is an advanced session that focuses on high-level messaging (and, effectively, preliminary media training) for Telling Your Story…In a Complex Socio-Political Environment. We will evaluate our primary story and messages using a contrast assessment, tailored to varied supportive, oppositional, or contrast audiences, from challenging conversations with local activists or hunters to leading national voices framing discussions about public lands, natural resources, and land use. 

We will learn skills that help us answer tough questions while gaining high-altitude agreement for projects and initiatives; identify words, phrases, and context that unite stakeholders in one lexicon; and how to deploy traditional mediation skills to de-escalate conflict.

Educational Practices for Tomorrow's Audiences

In a diversifying world where technology and other interests compete with nature and outdoor recreation, educators will need to evolve their programs into opportunities that connect audiences to natural resources in more meaningful ways. In this session, we will discuss how to move from the traditional presenter-focused message and method, to facilitating more personal and relevant programs for your audiences.  Through inquiry-based exercises and group discussions, you will discover how the inquiry process can transform your established programs into powerful, learner-directed experiences.​

The Fight for the Outdoor-Sapien: We Want You!

​​Do you know how many people hunt, fish or target shoot in the U.S.? More importantly, do you know where their ranks are headed in the next 10 years? Until recently, we had only suspicions. The data is now in, and it will surprise you. The results of numerous studies have caused national and local organizations to launch massive efforts to prepare for the future. State fish and wildlife agencies, conservation NGO’s, and the outdoor industry are all pulling together, mobilizing their resources, and changing the way they approach recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of the “outdoor-sapien.” But they can only do so much. There’s a job for you in ensuring that the outdoor traditions so critical to wildlife conservation and our cultural heritage are protected from an uncertain future. In this session, you will learn what your role is in R3, how best to get involved, and where your efforts are needed the most.​​

Furthering Outside Connections

Does your organization work to engage youth and families outdoors? Do you offer outdoor programs, but seek to reach a wider audience? Perhaps you have access to youth and need to get them involved in more outdoor programs?​ In this highly facilitated networking session, learn about the conference's grant opportunities and connect with other groups who offer programs, people, or places and also desire to engage more youth outdoors. 

​Exploring Public Land Significance

Colorado's 24 million acres of public lands form the backbone for the state's booming outdoor recreation industry. They support hunting and fishing, hiking and camping, climbing and mountain biking, grazing and ranching, all while providing wildlife habitat. What is at stake for public lands moving forward? What values do these lands support and how can we best manage and protect them for these multiple uses?​

​Colorado Climate Plan

This session will provide an overview of the Colorado Climate Plan and the strategies and recommendations proposed for the Tourism & Recreation, Ecosystems, and Water sectors with a particular emphasis on what we are working on with our partners for the year ahead.

​Grant Writing & Program Development Part 1

This fast-paced workshop has been carefully crafted to teach you how to write the most common seven elements of a grant, which are: Problem Statements, Goals, Objectives, Narrative, Timeline, Budget, Evaluation and Executive Summary along where to find the money.  The instructor was awarded a grant from Friends of the Outdoor Conference last year for Mark Madsen Accessibility, which will be critiqued for its winning elements.  A true to life hands-on exercise using Silk will help participants envision who and how to strategically expand the program.  Those attending this breakout group will be invited to a free 1-day workshop this summer to complete a proposal/program you wish to have funded. Everyone from the experienced director to the dedicated volunteer will benefit from this training.​

Grant Writing and Program Development Part 2

This fast-paced workshop has been carefully crafted to teach you how to write the most common seven elements of a grant, which are: Problem Statements, Goals, Objectives, Narrative, Timeline, Budget, Evaluation and Executive Summary along where to find the money.  The instructor was awarded a grant from Friends of the Outdoor Conference last year for Mark Madsen Accessibility, which will be critiqued for its winning elements.  A true to life hands-on exercise using Silk will help participants envision who and how to strategically expand the program.  Those attending this breakout group will be invited to a free 1-day workshop this summer to complete a proposal/program you wish to have funded. Everyone from the experienced director to the dedicated volunteer will benefit from this training.​

Urban Wildlife and Human Conflicts

What happens when agencies engage residents in mitigating human-wildlife conflict? Explore the results of two research programs designed to build a healthy and respectful relationship between humans and urban coyotes.​

Current Outdoor Recreation ​Initiatives

This session will include updates from Jefferson County’s ebike research from Mary Ann Bonnell, the Colorado the Beautiful trails program from Margaret Taylor and Nick Dellaca, and Eric Drummond, and a legislative bill update from Luis Benitez. Q &A will follow each section update.​​

E-Bikes: As Jeffco Open Space considers permitting the use of e-bikes on our trails, we are engaging our visitors in  the process. Through two approaches, a pre- and post- demo survey and a visitor intercept survey, we are gauging the ability to detect e-bikes as well as perceptions and concerns around the use of e-bikes on pedestrian trails. 

Colorado the Beautiful: An initiative announced by Governor Hickenlooper that emphasizes protexting Colorado's outdoors, and linking outdoor areas in Colorado. "Colorado 16" and the Colorado Trail System (CTS) were two trail initiatives put forth by the Colorado the Beautiful initiative. CTS will provide a statewide comprehensive mapping program that both the public and land agencies will be able to utilize. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also identified 16 high priority trail gaps to create a more comprehensive trail network both in the front and backcountry. Learn about the initiative's success thus far and what 2017 will bring to trail users all around Colorado. 

Legistlative Bill updates: Colorado is one of a handful of states that have an office dedicated to moving outdoor recreational industries forward. Director Luis Benitez has been working on several key initiatives for the state and will brief attendees during the session. Additionally, Luis and partners have been working on defining and quantifying the outdoor recreation economy which is not only thriving, but a powerful economic force. ​ ​

Starting at the End: Using Logic to Achieve Your Goals

Your two week vacation is coming - do you just wake up the morning it starts, go to the airport, and hope something works out? Some people love to vacation like this, but with a little planning we can often save money, show up at the right place at the right time, and have an overall better experience.​

Many wildlife agency outreach programs start with a great ideas (like going on a vacation!) but not every program is designed with the destination defined or the best way to get there mapped out. With a little up front planning we can better evaluate our effectiveness and use our limited resources more effectively.

​Evaluation Models

What role does evaluation play in telling your organization's story? After building your understanding of theory of change, logic models, and consistent messaging, join Blue Lotus Consulting &Evaluation as we wlk you through the evaluation process and how it can help you tell your story in consistent and meaningful ways. Not only will you learn the essential components of the evaluation process, we will also share with you ways in which you can move past reporting numbers into the rich, lived experience of your program participants. This is a working session and is intended to be interactive with round table discussions. 

​Fostering a Lasting Culture of Stewardship

While efforts are increasing across the state to connect more people to our outdoors, we collectively lack a means of caring for these places. Without a caring public, we face the very real possibility that we will degrade the parks, open spaces, and outdoor recreation amenities we have established. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) is a leading statewide nonprofit dedicated to motivating and enabling people to become active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. In this session, VOC will share examples and successes we have in place fostering a lasting culture of stewardship that benefits our natural places and communities all across the state over the long term. Examples include effective engagement strategies including public, youth and corporate projects; leadership and skills trainings; community tool kits and technical assistance; DIY stewardship through mobile apps; and technology such as social media. 

​Inclusion Means ALL Participate – Are You ALL In?

​This session focuses on inclusion and disability awareness by providing insight on disability characteristics, disability simulations, minimizing barriers, and providing how to include individuals with disabilities into general recreation and outdoor recreation programs. Let’s ALL make inclusion the expectation, not the exception. Some of the topics covered will include: Common Myths & Disability Facts, Words with Dignity & Disability Etiquette, Americans with Disabilities Act Basics, Experiential Activities, and Q&A.


Planning Partners​​

Thank you to our Partners in the Outdoors Conference Planning Partners.

  • GOCO
  • CDOT
  • Pheasnts Forever
  • BLM
  • CAEE
  • Angler's Covey
  • CPRA
  • Grant writing consultations trainings
  • NWTF
  • YMCA
  • Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance
  • Conservation Colorado


Dan Zimmerer
Partnership Coordinator
(303) 291-​7258​
Erin Vogel
Partnership Program Assistant​
(303) 291-7258​​​​​​​

Learn more about ​Partners in the Outdoors​.​​​​​​​​​