2018 Ecotourism Symposium

2018 Symposium

A Conference on Tourism and Conservation in the Great Plains

Great Plains Symposium: April 18-20 | Kearney, Neb.

For those who have experienced it, the Great Plains’ rolling grasslands, charismatic wildlife, and boundless scenery fill the heart with wonder. Though often disparaged as “fly-over” country, in fact the Plains are filled with fascinating biodiversity and wonderful opportunities for exploration while also harboring critically endangered habitats.

The people who live and work on the Plains have created diverse cultures and communities. We argue that conservation that works with, instead of against, business, landowners, and communities is a way forward in preserving our rural communities and dwindling wild places. For many similar spots around the globe, nature-based tourism has provided a way to enrich human communities while protecting cultural heritage and natural areas.

This conference will explore how tourism on private lands can be a force for conservation in the Great Plains as well as empower landowners and build thriving rural communities. It will examine both local and global models. The Nebraska Tourism Commission’s annual Agri/Ecotourism Workshop and Heartland Scenic Byways' annual conference will become part of this conference. It will feature hands-on workshop sessions for business leaders, ranchers, and interested community partners as well as wider-ranging discussions about how to preserve and sustain the stunning bounty of Great Plains ecology.