Wallowa County residents will have an opportunity to meet with livestock producers and pasture specialists from the Kyrgyzstan during a community presentation.
The event is 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Tomas Conference Room, 309 South River Street, Enterprise. The event is open to the public.
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country in Central Asia with a pastoral culture and a long tradition of nomad herdsmen and horsemen. The delegation of 20 Kyrgyz pastoralists is in Wallowa County as part of a community-based conservation learning exchange.
During their stay, the visitors will meet with Wallowa County ranchers, rangeland specialists and government representatives; tour public and private grazing leases; and learn about current rangeland research and management. The culmination of the visit will be a public presentation by the Kyrgyz delegation on efforts to improve community-based pasture and livestock management in their homeland.
The presentation will provide opportunities to exchange ideas about conservation practices, marketing strategies and to share experiences between cultures.
The learning exchange is organized by the International Center for Advancement of Pastoral Systems and The Nature Conservancy with support from Wallowa Resources.
ICAPS works internationally with individuals, communities and institutions to improve the sustainability of pastoral systems and improve the livelihood of pastoralists. The Nature Conservancy works to conserve the lands and waters. It owns a part of the Zumwalt Prairie in Wallowa County that it manages as part of the larger working landscapes. Wallowa Resources’ mission is to empower rural communities to create strong economies and healthy landscapes.
Michael Hale, Nature Conservancy rangeland specialist and ICAPS member, is leading efforts to bring the Kyrgyz delegation to Wallowa County.
Hale, who is also a local rancher, has been working in the Kyrgyzstan as a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations helping develop community-based pasture and livestock management plans and training pasture managers and users.
“Livestock herding cultures have much in common around the world, facing similar challenges and sharing similar motivations to care for the land, their animals and their communities,” he said. “Learning from each other across cultures is beneficial for everyone involved.”
During the exchange the Kyrgyz delegates will also learn about Nez Perce indigenous grazing rights and help monitor pastures on The Nature Conservancy Zumwalt Prairie Preserve.