Despite some setbacks related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ranchland Trust of Kansas (RTK), last year’s recipient of the PLJV ConocoPhillips Capacity Grant, continues to expand its footprint of grassland habitat conservation throughout Kansas.
“The priority is exactly the same and we haven’t had a shift in what we want to see as the outcome,” said Lynn Gentine, RTK’s executive director. “It was important then and it’s important now — we just need to find a way to get it done.”
What has changed is the way RTK is approaching the project. Having less opportunities to attend in-person meetings to share information about easements and the work they do, RTK is working to find alternative ways to communicate with landowners.
“We’re looking for ways to communicate that we probably wouldn’t have needed before and still find a way to reach out to people in a personal way. We still need to be available in real time to answer questions and to build interest in easements,” Gentine said. “In the end it’s going to take a little more time but hopefully we’ll grow our audience and find opportunities we might not have known before.”
An advisory team for the project was also formed, representing several organizations, such as Ducks Unlimited, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, PLJV, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Gentine said she hopes the team will share valuable insight throughout the project process and be ambassadors for the program across the state.
“It’s not just during Covid-19 that things change,” Gentine said. “Successful projects usually adapt to their resources and to new things they discover. It’s another thing we’re adapting to.”