December 2014

Living Landscape Observer - Nature, Culture, Community
In This Issue
Featured Landscape: Chicago Wilderness
Heritage Area Bills
What's Next for the Blackstone
2014 Year in Review
What do we mean by Sustainability
In the News
About Us
Join Our Mailing List
in Washington, DC
March 29 - April 3, 2015
George Wright Conference  Engagement, Expectations and Experience
in Oakland, CA 

May 13 - 15, 2015 
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA

Chicago Wilderness
Map of the Chicago Wilderness Region. Credit: USFWS
The Chicago Wilderness is an alliance of more than 300 organizations dedicated to restoring biodiversity in a metropolitan region that stretches over three states and covers some 1.9 million acres. It is home to more than 10 million residents in one of the most heavily urbanized areas of the United States. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, it is also a center of ecological restoration and  green infrastructure, demonstrating the important role cities have to play in meeting 21st century conservation challenges.  



Living Landscape Observer
Heritage Areas, Parks Receive Holiday Gifts 
Congress wrapped up the 2014 session with two big bills filled with good news for the National Heritage Areas (NHA). The first piece of legislation, the National Defense Authorization Act, extended federal funding for fifteen NHAs. The second act, an Omnibus Appropriations Bill, increased support for the program from the Administration's original 2015 request of $9.2 to $20.3 million dollars. Learn more about what else was included in the two massive bills.  
What's Next for the Blackstone? 
Interested in the future of the heritage area movement? Concerned that the federal program has had to invest too much time and political capital in fighting for re-authorizations and flat line budget allocations? If so, the recent legislation establishing the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park might warrant your attention as a new, potentially more stable approach to the conservation of landscape scale resources. Read more.  
2014 - Year in Review 
Sustainability - Is is Really What We Want? 
What does it mean for new types of parks and protected areas, like heritage areas, to be financially "sustainable"? Is that the best approach to the conservation of complex, lived-in landscapes or does it lead to unrealistic goals, especially in the realms of fundraising and yearly operating budgets. Read more.  
In the News


The National Defense Authorization Bill contained an extremely controversial measure, "the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act," that gives a subsidiary of the Australian-English mining firm Rio Tinto 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in exchange for several other parcels so it can mine a massive copper deposit. The copper is located on lands sacred to many Indigenous peoples, including several Western Apache tribes.    


An upcoming conference at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values: Embracing Change in the Management of Place, will emphasize the need to acknowledge and engage change in the successful interpretation, conservation, and management of landscapes; the often unproductive dichotomy of "natural" and "cultural" resources; the factors of social and economic inequality inherent in the designation and management of living landscapes; and other critical issues in heritage studies today. Plenary speakers include Graham Fairclough, Newcastle University and Jane Lennon Deakin University. Abstracts are due January 15, 2015. The Conference is May 13-15, 2015. 


National Geographic recently highlighted the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and the impact it is having across four states in the southeastern United States.  


About Us

The Living Landscape Observer is a website, blog and monthly e-newsletter that offers commentary and information on the emerging field of large landscape conservation. This approach emphasizes the preservation of a "sense of place" and blends ingredients of land conservation, heritage preservation, and sustainable community development. Learn more about how you can get involved or sign up for the newsletter here.  

Our Mission: To provide observations and information on the emerging fields of landscape scale conservation, heritage preservation and sustainable community development.