Join us for our webinar series aimed at providing relevant information and best practices as they pertain to the work of non-profit and Federal agency partners in sustaining the National Trails System (NTS). These webinars are free to staff, board members, and volunteer leaders of Partnership for the National Trails System (PNTS) member organizations and National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance members; Federal trail managing partners; PNTS affiliates (one per organization); and PNTS supporters. Others may participate at the cost of $35 per webinar.**

Please check back frequently for updates. Additional webinars will be added throughout the year.

**2020 UPDATE: PNTS will share additional webinars hosted by other organizations on this page. Registration information and costs may vary. Please follow each link for further details.


Mark your calendar

Title: Workforce Planning during the COVID-19 Crisis: Freezes, Furloughs, Layoffs & Position Eliminations
Presenter: Lisa Wright Ponce, Nonprofit HR; Jennifer Prozinsk, Venable, LLP
Date and Time: April 6th at 12-1:15PM EDT
Overview: How should organizations plan for an uncertain future, especially when the external environment is changing daily and weekly? What does a viable workforce plan look like as the need arises for contracting and expanding staff? Register for this Virtual Town Hall, explore mission sustainability through workforce planning and, hear best practices for navigating uncharted waters. While every organization is unique, it is helpful to understand the legal, financial and practical differences among hiring freezes, furloughs and layoffs.
Hosted by Nonprofit HR.

Title: Fundraising for Parks During Uncertain Times
Presenter: Lori L. Jacobwith, Ignited Fundraising; David MacDonald, Friends Alliance Steering Committee; Chrystal Morris Murphy, National Park Foundation
Date and Time: April 6th at 3-4:30PM EDT
Overview: Lori L. Jacobwith will review best practices for fundraising during times of fear and uncertainty. She has seen what works and what doesn’t, and is ready to share some of her insights and provide a broader picture of how to remain successful during moments like these. Learn what three actions might be the most important for your current fundraising efforts. Learn how donor data can be your friend, especially in times of uncertainty. Review what other nonprofits have already begun implementing for upcoming planned events. Learn powerful language to keep donors informed and inspired – so when you DO ask, they’re ready to give.
Hosted by the National Park Development Leaders Network and National Park Friends Alliance.

Title: Thriving in Chaotic Times – The Neuroscience Behind Our Distress
Presenter: Julie Auger, MOD master’s in organizational development and leadership
Date and Time: April 10th at 1PM EDT
Overview: How is our brain perceiving and responding to the current threats? As leaders, what may we do to alleviate these threat responses for our employees and ourselves? This webinar provides a look into how our brain is reacting, how we may find our focus and how we may manage our emotions best to adapt to our new reality. There will be time for questions, discussion and connection. Together we can thrive.
Hosted by the Outdoor Industry Association.

Title: Balancing Advocacy and Stewardship to Protect Wild Lands: The Great Old Broads for Wilderness Model
Presenter: Lauren Berutich, Great Old Broads for Wilderness Associate Director
Date and Time: April 14th at 3PM EDT
Overview: We love our wild lands! Whether it is for recreation, exploration, or to find a glorious escape from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, there is a place for everyone to enjoy the wild outdoors. Unfortunately, public lands are threatened and under constant attack from resource extraction to climate change to the impacts of public recreation. There is an excellent way to get involved and protect the places we love while having the opportunity to engage with them. Join Great Old Broads for Wilderness Associate Director, Lauren Berutich, to explore how the alignment of a solid advocacy and stewardship plan can effectively and deeply shift community activism to a new level of success. Let’s go on a “Broadwork”!
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Title: Citizen Science — Innovative Approaches to Engagement, Data Collection, and Management Support
Presenter: Mark Eller, Lisa Gerloff, Michelle Toshack
Date and Time: May 12th at 3PM EDT
Overview: In the face of agency reductions, and the parallel growth of a wide-ranging base of engaged and knowledgeable volunteers in our wild areas, “Citizen Science” has become a key approach to gathering solid data and sustaining the science which supports wilderness management. Michelle Toshack, Senior Manager for Volunteer Experience at Adventure Scientists, will discuss how outdoor adventurers can help scientists make conservation impacts, by volunteering to collect high-quality data in hard-to-reach places. Lisa Gerloff, Program Director for Citizen Science at the University of Montana’s Wilderness Institute, will present on how engaging community volunteers assists in assessing on-the-ground conditions and monitoring wilderness character in Wilderness Study Areas in Montana managed by the BLM. Mark Eller, Director of Foundations and New Business for Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, will present the Center’s approach to designing a citizen science program that focuses on community monitoring of recreation-based impacts.
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Title: Common Ground: Shared Goals for the Trails and Health Communities
Presenters: Eva Garcia, Project Manager, Caracara Trails, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), Dr. Morgan Green, Pediatrician, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, John Henderson, Executive Director, Park Rx America, Mike Quinn, Sr., Retired Nurse Anesthesiologist, Mayo Clinic, Mikaela Randolph, Children and Nature Network, Mike Passo, Executive Director, American Trails
Date and Time: May 14th at 1PM-2:30PM EDT
Overview: Trails are shown to improve health both mentally and physically, yet the healthcare industry and the trails industry rarely work together. There are many reasons for this, such as logistics, bureaucracy, and communication issues. We asked some leading experts how we can begin bridging these gaps.
Hosted by American Trails as part of the Advancing Trails Webinar Series.

Title: Connecting the Appalachian Trail, Conservation Landscapes, and Communities
Presenter: Julie Judkins, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Katie Hess, Pennsylvania’s South Mountain Partnership
Date and Time: May 20th at 3PM EDT
Overview: Join Julie Judkins, with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and Katie Hess, with Pennsylvania’s South Mountain Partnership, to see how they are engaging with communities to support the Appalachian Trail and broader landscape conservation.
Hosted by the Network for Landscape Conservation as part of the NPS Connected Conservation (C2) Webinar Series.

Title: Women-Led Stewardship and Conservation — a Panel Discussion
Presenter: Shelley Silbert, Executive Director, Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Date and Time: June 16th at 3PM EDT
Overview: From Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Mardie Murie to Winona LaDuke and more, women have long led the fight for land protection, conservation, and stewardship. Yet women’s contributions have often gone unrecognized, and too few have held leadership positions in national, regional, or local organizations. Join Shelley Silbert, Executive Director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, for a panel to explore why women are so critical to public lands protection, and how women’s leadership is critical to protection of our last wild places.
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Presenter: U.S. Forest Service
Intended Audience: National, regional and local partners together with Forest Service Regional Recreation Directors, Regional Trail Program Managers, and National Trail Advisory Group (TAG)
Overview: This webinar will celebrate launch of the 10-Year Trail Shared Stewardship Challenge; provide an overview of the Challenge and the first phase of the Challenge; and enlist the leadership, active participation, and support of partners and employees in making the challenge an impactful and lasting success on local forests and districts and with communities nationwide.
Hosted by the U.S. Forest Service.
The webinar will be recorded, subsequently posted on the Trail Challenge webpage, and available for future reference.
Call-in Number: 888-844-9904 (Access Code: 679 27 76#)
Adobe Connect Link: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/trails-strategy/

Are you interested in being a Partnership for the National Trails System presenter or do you have a topic to suggest? Send us an e-mail at admin@pnts.org.

Title: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Wilderness Stewardship Community: A Town Hall Conversation
Moderator: Randy Welsh, Executive Director, National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance
Date and Time: April 2nd at 4PM EDT
Overview: The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting our daily lives and the work of the wilderness stewardship community. In this special Town Hall gathering of the wilderness community, come share how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting your organization and learn successful coping strategies that are being applied by others. This webinar will provide a forum for the community to share and learn from each other.
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Title: Understanding What’s in the Economic Stimulus Package
Presenters: T.A. Hawks, Kimberly Ellis and Matt McAlvanah, Monument Advocacy, Washington, D.C.
Date and Time: April 2nd at 1PM EDT
Overview: The U.S. government has approved over $2 trillion in new stimulus spending to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The funding will be distributed to certain American businesses, consumers and federal safety net programs in the coming months. Learn more about the major components of the stimulus package and what may come next from Congress in this short, informative presentation by Monument Advocacy, a leading, bipartisan government and public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.
Hosted by the Outdoor Industry Association.

Title: Connecting the Dots: COVID-19 and Conservation/Outdoor Recreation – A Community Conversation
Presenter: The Avarna Group (Aparna, Ava, José, CJ, Katie, & Sophie)
Date and Time: March 30th at 2:30 PM EDT
Overview: In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, it has become more critical than ever to ensure our individual and collective actions are equitable and just. Even our most well intentioned reactions can exacerbate existing injustices if we aren’t mindful. Join us and members of the conservation and outdoor community to share thoughts, learnings, ideas, and creative strategies in this unprecedented time. We will begin the hour by sharing a few guiding questions and values, and then open up the webinar to host a community conversation. None of us are experts on this, and are learning as we go, so don’t expect a list of all the things to do. Do expect connection, community, and conversations about pressing questions we all have. Let’s learn together. If you’re not in a place to have this conversation now, don’t worry. We will be recording the first portion of it (but are leaving the Q&A portion unrecorded to ensure folks can be candid) and creating an ongoing resource for people to ask and answer each others questions.
Hosted by The Avarna Group.

Title: Using State-Side LWCF Grants to Improve Recreation Opportunities
Presenter: Elisabeth Fondriest, Lacy Alison, and Emily Ferguson, National Park Service
Date and Time: March 25th at 3PM EDT
Overview: Join Elisabeth Fondriest, Lacy Alison, and Emily Ferguson with the NPS to learn about the State-Side Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which provides matching grants to States and local governments for outdoor recreation. Over the years, State-Side LWCF has supported the purchase and protection of 3 million acres of recreation lands and over 44,000 projects to develop basic recreation facilities in every State and territory of the nation. Funding for State-Side LWCF has increased dramatically in the last 5 years, making it an even more important funding source for NPS partners.
Hosted by the Network for Landscape Conservation as part of the NPS Connected Conservation (C2) Webinar Series.


Title: Trails Move People: Articulating the Impact and Amplifying the Voice of the Trails Industry
Presenter: Mike Passo, Executive Director, American Trails and Duane Taylor, Executive Director, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
Date and Time: March 19th at 1PM EDT
Overview: In partnership with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC), American Trails and NOHVCC will discuss how trails for too long trails have been taken for granted and the true measure of their impact has not been calculated or shared. Join Mike and Duane for a discussion of how we can all work to break down the silos within the trails community, and what we can do to build support for trails in unexpected areas and amongst unexpected constituencies. Learn more about the webinar, learning objectives, and presenters here.
Hosted by American Trails as part of the Advancing Trails Webinar Series.


Title: Leave No Trace – Refresher, Updates, Resources
Presenter: Erin Collier, Brice Esplin, and Faith Overall
Date and Time: March 10th at 3PM EDT
Overview: What’s new with Leave No Trace, and how can you incorporate the principles into your daily work?  Erin Collier and Brice Esplin, Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers, will provide a general Leave No Trace refresher with an emphasis on updates, research, and resources, geared toward wilderness stewardship groups and agency partners. Faith Overall, Leave No Trace’s Education and Outreach coordinator and volunteer for the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance, will also join to provide a volunteer perspective and answer questions on getting more involved.
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.


Title: NPS Partnership Tools to Enhance Gateway Communities
Presenter: Bob Ratcliffe and Donny Leadbetter, National Park Service
Date and Time: March 10th at 3PM EDT
Overview: Join Bob Ratcliffe and Donny Leadbetter with the National Park Service to learn about the numerous partnership tools available to enhance gateway communities; improve connectivity with parks; and encourage sustainable tourism.
Hosted by the Network for Landscape Conservation as part of the NPS Connected Conservation (C2) Webinar Series.

Title: The Role of Volunteers in Today’s Forest Service: What Should Volunteers Do/What Should Volunteers Not Do
Presenter: Kevin Cannon
Date and Time: February 11th at 3PM EST
Overview: Kevin Cannon, recently retired from the Forest Service, will talk about his experience working with volunteers in northern Colorado over the last 20 years. He plans to discuss things volunteers do very well, things that volunteers should not do, and tips to make volunteer experiences exceptional. Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.


Title: Pre-Hike the Hill Webinar
Presenter: PNTS/AHS representatives
Date and Time: January 22nd at 3PM EST
Overview: This Pre-Hike the Hill overview and issue briefing will provide information on the Hike the Hill schedule and what to expect during Hike the Hill. The webinar will also include an overview of the current state of play in Congress and federal agencies and highlight key issues. A recorded webinar will be available.


Title: Wildspotter – A Mobile Application for Invasive Species Inventory
Presenter: Rachel Carroll, University of Georgia
Date and Time: January 14th at 3PM EST
Overview: Wild SpotterTM is a national project to promote the engagement and empowerment of the public in our fight against invasive species. Since launching in 2018, Wild Spotter has expanded into 19 National Forests and 8 Tribal Lands across the United States. The project continues to grow and develop through its collaboration with great partners. To date, Wild Spotter has established 54 partnerships with federal and non-federal agencies as well as nonprofit organizations and stakeholders which ultimately grows the local capacity for documenting invasive species. This webinar will provide an overview of Wild Spotter, highlight its progress as an innovative citizen science project, and offer details for future Wild Spotter project updates. Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Title: Successful Volunteer Recruiting
Presenter: Katie Currier, Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards; Alivia Acosta, Appalachian Trail Conservancy; Ken Norden, U.S. Forest Service; Kellie Flowers, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Date and Time: December 10th at 3PM EST
Overview: Volunteers play a vital role in the stewardship of our public lands but recruitment of these volunteers can be time consuming and challenging. Learn about the challenges, strategies and success stories of volunteer recruitment from other stewardship professionals across the country. Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.


Title:  Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI): Part 2 
Presenters: The Avarna Group
Date and Time:  November 5th 2PM EDT
Overview: JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) can feel like the elephant in the room. It’s big. It’s heavy. It’s overwhelming. If you feel like you’ve been talking about JEDI but don’t know how to walk the talk, this webinar will help guide you to action. In this webinar we review a 4-Quadrant Approach to planning for JEDI  in a way that allows you to take one bite at a time. We consider the universe of JEDI strategies (from partnerships to training to hiring to program and advocacy), and map these strategies out on a 4-quadrant framework that frames out internal and external strategies as well as individual and institutional strategies. We discuss this online framework. You will leave the webinar with a map that can help you identify priorities for your organization and areas where you need more support.
Hosted by the PNTS, National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, and American Trails


Title:  What Keeps Wilderness Stewardship Volunteers Coming Back?
Presenter: Rebecca Niemiec, Ph.D., Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department, Colorado State University
Date and Time:  October 8th at 3PM EDT
Overview: A key challenge that many wilderness stewardship organizations face is how to increase retention rates of volunteers. While many research studies have examined what motivates people to first start volunteering, much less is known about what keeps volunteers coming back over time. Preliminary research suggests that retention rates are influenced more by whether people feel socially connected and appreciated while volunteering, rather than their initial motivations to start volunteering. However, little is known about what types of strategies wilderness stewardship organizations can use to appeal to these personal and social motivations. In this study, we partnered with the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance (NWSA) and the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers (PWV) to examine best practices for enhancing retention rates among wilderness stewardship organizations. We conducted a nation-wide survey of volunteers and staff with wilderness stewardship organizations as well as over 30 interviews with with volunteers of PWV to understand factors influencing retention. We report on the results of those studies and provide suggestions for strategies that wilderness stewardship organizations can use to enhance retention. Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.


Title:  Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI): Part 1 
Presenters: The Avarna Group
Date and Time:  September 18th 2PM EDT
Overview: In this webinar we define basic terms like justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, and cultural relevance, and then lay out all of the reasons why this work (which we collectively call JEDI) is important in the particular space in which the organization operates (e.g, outdoor education, conservation, land management, environmental advocacy, youth development etc.). This webinar will help you articulate what you mean when you are talking about JEDI and why it is important to your organization.
Hosted by the PNTS, National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance, and American Trails


Title:  Empowering Women in the Outdoors 
Presenters: Amy Lord – Ice Age Trail Alliance, and Sabrina Carlson – Arizona Trail Association
Date and Time:  July 17th 2PM EDT
Overview: Girls and women, when given the chance, make confident and inspired leaders, outdoor adventurers and trail stewards. This webinar will explore two groundbreaking programs aimed at empowering girls and women in the outdoors. Gear Girls—a program developed by the Arizona Trail association—uses mountain biking, trail work and snow sports to build confidence, outdoor competence, community and character in young women grades 4-8. The Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Trailtessa Retreats were designed by women for women in partnership with the REI Force of Nature initiative. These retreats are aimed at exploring the rugged beauty of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail while making new friends and finding freedom in the outdoors along the way. Join Amy and Sabrina as they discuss how these two programs are empowering females and building the next generation of trail advocates and stewards.


Title: Update on Wilderness Character Monitoring in the Forest Service
Presenters: Julie King, US Forest Service
Date and Time:  July 9th 3PM EDT
Overview: Wilderness Character Monitoring (WCM) is one of our most important tools for protecting designated wilderness areas.  When we can accurately quantify and measure the five characteristics of wilderness, we can say how well a given area meets the ideal goals set out in the Wilderness Act.  It’s how we can ask our wilderness areas, “How you doin’?”Since 2018 the Forest Service has organized a team to help you set up baseline data to monitor trends.  Julie King, the National WCM Program Manager, will explain what we are learning from pilot programs, and look forward to how we can maintain WCM into the future, through programs like NWSA Wilderness Stewardship Performance grants.
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance


Title:  National Public Lands Day *FREE*
Presenters: Tony Richardson, Program Officer for Public Lands Engagement, National Environmental Education Foundation 
Date and Time:  June 11th 3PM EDT
Overview: Learn how your organization can build local awareness and interest as you support National Public Lands Day
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance


Title:  Latino Conservation Week *FREE*
Presenters: Jennifer Brandt, Deputy Director of Conservation Programs, Hispanic Access Foundation
Date and Time:  Tuesday, May 14th at 3PM EDT
Overview: Join us for “Latino Conservation Week and Your Organization.” Jennifer Brandt of the Hispanic Access Foundation will share how your organization can join with Latinos across the nation to support the protection of our natural resources. During the week of July 13-21, 2019, community, non-profit, faith-based, and government organizations and agencies will hold events throughout the country — 150 events last year!  Events can take any shape.  Latino Conservation Week can raise the visibility of your organization among Latino communities and provide opportunities for them to show their support for permanently protecting our land, water, and air. Learn how to expand your membership and partner with Latino groups.
Hosted by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance

Title:  Effective Communication Part 2: Giving and Receiving Feedback
Presenters: Andrea Wetherald, Owner &Beyond
Date and Time:  Thursday, May 23rd at 2PM EDT
Overview: In this webinar, you’ll learn about the three primary forms of feedback, and how to offer it in a way that it is receivable and helpful to the other person. The techniques taught in this webinar can be applied in a variety of situations including peer-to-peer feedback, volunteer management, and up or down the leadership hierarchy. You’ll also learn some valuable strategies for receiving feedback without feeling attacked, and responding in a way that allows you to grow when appropriate, release unhelpful feedback when appropriate or both!

Title:  Effective Communication Part 1: Navigating Difficult Conversations
Presenters: Andrea Wetherald, Owner &Beyond
Date and Time:  Tuesday, April 23rd at 1PM EDT
Overview: In this webinar, you’ll learn about the skills that are helpful for navigating confrontation. We believe that confrontation isn’t to merely be contained, but is actually a fantastic building block for creating stronger relationships and fortifying a positive working dynamic when handled in a way that honors you, and the others involved. Many skills such as vulnerability, authenticity, listening carefully, staying in the present moment and honoring the contributions of each other, for example, will allow teams to succeed at communicating with one another when tensions are running high.

Title:  Long Distance Trails in Wilderness
Presenters: Andrew Downs, Appalachian Trail Conservancy; Teresa Martinez, Continental Divide Trail Coalition; Jennifer Tripp, Pacific Crest Trail Association; Ian Nelson, Pacific Crest Association; Chelsea Bodamer, Partnership for the National Trails
Date and Time:  Tuesday, March 12th at 3PM EST
Overview: Work with National Scenic and Historic Trail System Partners to expand volunteer opportunities with long distance trail partners. This panel presentation brings together leaders in the long distance trail community to discuss issues common between wilderness areas and the long distance trail community around volunteer engagement and stewardship.
In partnership with the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Title:  Managing Your Organizations Finances—Best Practices for End of the Year Accounting and Reporting
Presenters: Darcy Shepard – Director of Finance and Human Resources, Friends of Nevada Wilderness
Date and Time:  Tuesday, December 18th at 11AM MST
Overview: This webinar will help your organization start 2019 off on the right foot fiscally. It will review best financial practices, including advice on building your budget for 2019, tracking your unrestricted funds, and what it takes to prepare for and undergo an audit. Set your organization up for success whether you’ve got a budget of $10,000 or $1,000,000. This webinar is brought to you through a collaborative effort between the PNTS and National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Title:  50th Anniversary Rivers and Trails Best Practices for Communications
• Marta Call – Gila National Forest Public Affairs Officer
• Samantha Haas – Partnership for the National Trail System Communications Coordinator
• Lisa Ronald – Wild & Scenic Rivers 50th Anniversary Coordinator
• Amanda Wheelock – Continental Divide Trail Coalition Marketing and Communications Specialist
• Radha Marcum – River Network Marketing and Communications Director
Date and Time:  July 19 at 3PM EDT
Overview:  As we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System and Wild and Scenic River Acts, it’s important to spread the word about related events and projects in the most efficient way. Join rivers, trails, and Federal agency communications experts for this webinar about best practices for traditional and social media. You’ll hear examples of successful marketing tactics, learn how to get your 50th Anniversary media off the ground—even if it’s your first time planning an event and you don’t have a communications staff—and how to use event outreach for broader storytelling to strengthen your organization’s presence in the community.

Title: Best Practices for Engaging Young Adults: Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council
Presenters:  Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council
Date and Time:  June 15th at 1PM EDT
Overview:  Did you know that millennials will outnumber baby boomers in 2019, making them the largest generation that the U.S. has ever seen? Have you wondered how to bring younger trail users into your trail organization as volunteers and maintainers? Be sure to join us for a webinar to learn more about the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council and the best practices for engaging young adults! We’ll hear from our young leaders about how trail organizations can reach younger trail enthusiasts and what to expect from this trail-friendly population.

Title: Best Practices for Recruiting and Engaging Volunteer Board Members
Presenter:  Sandi Marra
Date and Time:  May 8th at 3PM EDT
Overview:  Creating an effective and dedicated Board for your nonprofit is critical to the success of the organization
and fulfillment of your mission. Achieving this goal requires a clear understanding of needs, good
recruitment strategies, and well structured and focused board activities to ensure engagement and
retention. Sandi will share her experience and lessons learned and also facilitate conversation among
participants so that they can share their stories.

Speaker Bio: Sandi Marra, Principal Consultant with Marra Consulting Group, LLC, has more than 30 years of experience in both the private and public sectors bringing real life solutions to organizational challenges.
She has lead organizations in both executive staff and Board Chair roles. She understands the importance of respecting cultural norms and traditions while bringing about needed organizational change. Her experience includes Chief Operating Officer of an $20 million organization supporting educational and service programs for developmentally disabled children and adults. As Board Chair, she leads a $10 million national member volunteer-based organization. In addition to her nonprofit experience, she has worked in the private sector for large-scale government contracting firms providing operational and human resource expertise.

Title: Trail Safe! 
Presenter:  Dan Watson
Date and Time:  March 12th at 1PM EST
Overview:  Join Volunteer Coordinator Dan Watson for an introduction to Trail Safe! — a series of online safety training videos which provide all core learning objectives found in NPS Operational Leadership. Trail Safe! is an opportunity for everyone to learn about the Human Factor of safety, covering topics such as Effective Leadership, Stress & Performance, Situational Awareness, Mission Analysis, and more. If your local safety program is looking for ways to share information at no cost, and without the logistical hassle of arranging travel and meeting venues, then Trail Safe! may be your answer. Toward the conclusion of the webinar, Dan Watson will review how you can receive a Trail Safe! “starter kit” and begin sharing this safety resource with your staff, partners, and volunteers.

**This webinar will be held in collaboration with American Trails**

Speaker Bio: Dan Watson has been a career employee of the National Park Service since 1980. He has worked as an Interpretive Ranger and Federal Law Enforcement Ranger at the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY-PA), and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA-NJ); Supervisory District Law Enforcement Ranger at Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (WI-MN); Chief Law Enforcement Ranger and Site Manager at Fort Necessity National Battlefield (PA) and Friendship Hill National Historic Site (PA); Volunteer Coordinator and Collateral Duty Safety Officer for the North Country National Scenic Trail (ND-MN-WI-MI-OH-PA-NY) and Ice Age National Scenic Trail (WI). Throughout his career Dan has been active in emergency services responses to events such as Hurricane Katrina, BP Oil Spill, and numerous western wildfires. Dan is a certified facilitator for NPS Operational Leadership, and creator of the Trail Safe! program.

Title: Working with Local and Regional Land Trusts

Presenter:  Don Owen – PNTS Consultant, Kevin Thusius – Ice Age Trail Alliance, Megan Wargo – Pacific Crest Trail Association
Date and Time:  January 24th at 3PM EST
Overview:  As agency budgets for land protection are being reduced, and trusts are becoming an essential organizational partner for many trail organizations.  Experienced land trust professionals will explain how their programs work, and what they can offer national scenic and national historic trails.

Speaker Bios:

Don consults for the Land Trust Alliance, the West Virginia Land Trust, the Maryland Environmental Trust, the Land Trust of Virginia, the Partnership for the National Trails System, and more than a dozen other land trusts and trail organizations. He serves as the Land Trust Alliance’s Circuit Rider for the Potomac River Watershed and Southern Virginia, assisting all-volunteer and small land trusts build capacity and improve operations.

Kevin works for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, whose mission is to create, promote and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. As the director of land conservation, he is responsible for property acquisitions and the management of more than 120 Alliance-held land interests. Over the last eight years, Kevin has helped the Alliance and its partners complete more than 75 land transactions for the Trail while instituting a volunteer property monitoring program and creating archives for all Alliance-owned lands. He came to the Alliance from a local land trust where he was charged with assessing and prioritizing hundreds of properties along a scenic riverway.

Megan is Director of Land Protection for Pacific Crest Trail Association, and has more than a decade of experience leading teams and managing landscape-scale conservation projects. She has successfully negotiated land and conservation easement acquisitions to permanently protect over 64,000 acres. Prior to joining the PCTA, Megan worked for the Pacific Forest Trust, the Trust for Public Land, and the Piedmont Land Conservancy. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Economics & Politics from Claremont McKenna College.

Title: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act – Tips, Tools, and Next Steps
Presenters:  Chelsea Bodamer – PNTS, Leigh Schmidt – Trails 50 Coordinator, and Kelly Snavely – American Hiking Society
Date and Time:  November 2nd at 3PM ESTIn his 1965 “Natural Beauty Message” to Congress, President Lyndon B. Johnson inspired a national “system of trails” for the American people. Congress passed the National Trails System Act, signed into law by President Johnson on October 2, 1968. Join us for our second webinar on the anniversary and learn how you can take part in the commemoration of this historic act while encouraging a new generation of trail users and stewards. Topics include: • Trails 50 Merchandise
• Social Media Campaigns
• Toolkit updates
• Trail Story Collection

PowerPoint (PDF) – Webinar Recording

Title: Real Estate 101 for National Scenic and Historic Trail Organizations
Presenters:  Don Owen – PNTS Consultant
Date and Time:  October 19th at 3PM EST

Why is protecting land so important for national scenic and historic trails?  What is a conservation easement, and how does it work? What does a title policy do?  How do agencies, land trusts, and trail organizations negotiate land deals?  Learn the basics of real estate from practitioners who have spent years in the trenches.

Title: National Trail Intern Grants Overview
Presenters:   Gary Werner – PNTS, Chelsea Bodamer – PNTS, Deb Salt – BLM, Rita Hennessy – NPS, Jaime Schmidt – USFS, and Kimberly Reaves – Greening Youth Foundation
Date and Time:  September 21st at 2PM EST

Title: Planning a National Scenic or National Historic Trail Protection Program

Presenters: Don Owen, PNTS Consultant and Morgan Sommerville, Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Southern Regional Director
Date and Time: 
Thursday, July 13th 3:00-4:00 PM EDT
Webinar Overview: 
There are a number of different approaches to planning a protection program for a national scenic or national historic trail, with each tailoring its approach to its own unique needs and resources.  Learn tips and techniques
from experts who have decades of experience.   

Speaker Bios
Don Owen
Don consults for the Land Trust Alliance, the West Virginia Land Trust, the Maryland Environmental Trust, the Land Trust of Virginia, the Partnership for the National Trails System, and more than a dozen other land trusts and trail organizations. He serves as the Land Trust Alliance’s Circuit Rider for the Potomac River Watershed and Southern Virginia, assisting all-volunteer and small land trusts build capacity and improve operations.

Morgan Sommerville
Morgan has been pleased to put his NC State University degree in natural resource management to use by helping to design, build, conserve and protect the A.T. from the ground up while overseeing the evolution of the Southern Regional Office from a one man operation to four full-time, one half-time and 10 seasonal employees.

Title: Volunteer Recruitment — Trends and Best Practices (Co-hosted by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy)
Presenters: Alexandra Brownfield CEO, Volunteer East Tennessee, Emily Lord Stewardship Outreach Coordinator, UNH Extension, The Stewardship Network New England, Jamie Burke Volunteer & Outreach Manager, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Date and Time: Thursday, June 15 6:30-7:30 PM EDT
Webinar Overview:  This webinar will include national trends in volunteering and related studies, tips and tools for effective promotion of volunteer opportunities, and a case study of making transition from first-time volunteers to volunteer leaders.

Speaker Bios
Jamie Burke A Virginia transplant, studied sports medicine at the University of Virginia, where she spent her free time divided between the rugby pitch and nearby Shenandoah National Park. After graduation, Jamie took her passion for being outdoors across the country to the West Coast where she worked as a Naturalist at an Arts and Ecology Outdoor Education Center, followed by a year with Americorps*NCCC, and several seasons as a Wildland Firefighter in El Dorado National Forest. A few years later, Jamie returned to her East Coast roots to undertake a Masters in Educational Studies at the University of New Hampshire, as well as take on a role as a backpacking and sailing instructor for Outward Bound. She relocated to Colorado in 2013 and has spent the past several years in the nonprofit sector working for the American Red Cross. Up until recently, all her free time was spent playing and training for rugby. She represented the U.S. on the Women’s National Team for over a decade before retiring, following the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Retirement has offered her much more time to enjoy all the outdoors Colorado has to offer with her partner, dog, and 16-month-old daughter.

Emily Lord is the Stewardship Outreach Coordinator with UNH Cooperative Extension (UNHCE) and leads digital communications for UNHCE’s the Stewardship Network: New England initiative to create a culture of stewardship in New England through the power of volunteers. An alum of the Student Conservation Association New Hampshire AmeriCorps program, Emily has lead conservation crews performing trail maintenance and restoration work in Alaska, California, Michigan, and New Hampshire. Emily holds a Master’s degree in sociology from Illinois State University and a Bachelor’s in women’s studies and sociology from the University of Maine.

Alexandra Brownfield, CEO of Volunteer East Tennessee, has the incredible opportunity to lead East Tennessee’s HandsOn Network Volunteer Center. She works with hundreds of local nonprofit organizations to effectively recruit and manage volunteers throughout the greater Knoxville region. Alexandra previously worked at the HandsOn Network affiliate at the United Way of Greater St. Louis. She is a graduate of Saint Louis University’s School of Social Work and holds a Chancellor’s Certificate in Volunteer Management from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She currently serves on the Tennessee Governor’s Commission for Volunteerism and is a board member of Mountain Tough and Volunteer Tennessee.

Title: North Country Trail Association’s Hike 100 Challenge: Learnings and Best Practices
Presenters:  Andrea Ketchmark and Amelia Rhodes (North Country Trail Association)
Date and Time:  Wednesday, May 24th at 3PM EST

Webinar Overview: The Hike 100 Challenge engaged thousands of people on the North Country Trail, encouraging them to hike 100 miles in 2016 to celebrate the NPS Centennial. With limited staff resources and budget, the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) built a program that was simple to manage and easy to promote. The Hike 100 Challenge proved to be a smashing success, beyond what they could have imagined – including over 4,000 new leads and eventually 400 new members to the organization. In this webinar we’ll uncover the secrets of the Hike 100 Challenge and how to motivate a new group of users to not only enjoy your Trail, but connect with your organization. 

Speaker Bios:
Amelia Rhodes is the Marketing/Communications Coordinator for the North Country Trail Association. Her role is to share the story of the NCNST and the NCTA through traditional and new media. She holds a degree in Business Administration and Communications, and has a background in marketing project management.

Andrea Ketchmark is the Director of Trail Development for the North Country Trail Association.  Her job is to train and empower a diverse group of remote volunteers with the skills, knowledge and attitude needed to build relationships with diverse partners like local governments, land managers and private landowners to build, maintain, and protect the North Country National Scenic Trail.


Title: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails System Act
Presenters:  Gary Werner (PNTS), Pete Olsen (American Hiking Society), and Chelsea Bodamer (PNTS)
Date and Time:  Wednesday, April 19th at 3PM EST

Webinar Overview: In his 1965 “Natural Beauty Message” to Congress, President Lyndon B. Johnson inspired a national “system of trails” for the American people. Congress passed the National Trails System Act, signed into law by President Johnson on October 2, 1968. Join us for our upcoming webinar and learn how you can take part in the commemoration of this historic act while encouraging a new generation of trail users and stewards. This webinar is FREE to attend. Capacity is limited to 100 attendees. Register early to ensure your spot.

Topics include:

  • The importance of the 50th Anniversary
  • Partners and opportunties
  • How you can take part
  • Available resources and toolkit items


Title: The Federal Lands Transfer: What It Means and What You Should Know 
Presenters: Randy Rasmussen Back Country Horsemen of America
Date and Time: Wednesday, March 8th at 2PM EST

Webinar Overview
Some members of Congress remain intent on wrestling control of public lands from the federal government. The idea is not new. Yet transfer proponents continue to perpetuate many myths and half-truths in making their case. One factor driving their push is the claim that the states or local governments are better suited to determine the uses and fate of our public lands. Join us as we discuss the range of values of our federal public lands that are being ignored by land transfer proponents, explore why western public lands differ in many aspects from their eastern counterparts, and speculate how a large-scale federal land transfer might affect public access including management of National Scenic and Historic Trails. We will conclude the discussion with a summary of methods by which your organization might join with others to help “keep public lands in public hands.”

About the Speaker
Randy has been Backcountry Horsemen of America’s (BCHA’s) Director for Public Lands & Recreation since 2012. He assists BCHA’s 30 state organizations to advance initiatives and strengthen partnerships that promote the sustained use and enjoyment of the backcountry and Wilderness “by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.” This includes recognition of the unique national “birthright” enjoyed by all Americans—where every citizen enjoys partial ownership of an unparalleled system of national public lands.

Randy’s work includes strengthening BCHA’s partnerships with federal land management agencies. He was a key player in BCHA’s effort with The Wilderness Society, regional and national partners—including AHS and PNTS—that demonstrated a groundswell of public support and cultivated bipartisan congressional sponsors for the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (H.R. 845 / S. 1110). The bill was signed into law by President Obama in November 2016.

TitleInnovative Approaches to Recruiting and Tracking Volunteers
Presenters: Becky Reid Juan Bauista de Anza National Historic Trail Trails and Rails Program, Karl Borton Florida Trail Association, Wendy Lotze Arizona Trail Association
Date and Time: Tuesday, January 24th at 2PM EST

Webinar Overview
This webinar will highlight the various ways that national trail partners are using technology to enhance their volunteer programs. Topics will include Google Apps and MeetUp Groups. Furthermore, tips for overcoming the “fear of technology” barrier will be addressed.

About the Speakers
Karl serves as FTA’s Volunteer Program Coordinator, and is responsible for engaging partners and volunteers on the Florida Trail.

Wendy has been the Volunteer Coordinator for the Arizona Trail Association since 2015, a dream job by any standard.  She believes that she owes her good luck to the karma developed over years of volunteering at trail maintenance events and as a Segment Steward for the Arizona Trail. Wendy also teaches introductory backpacking seminars and founded the Arizona Backpacking Club to encourage responsible backcountry adventures and volunteerism among the hiking community.   She has organized countless trail events and still manages to maintain a contagious enthusiasm for living outdoors.

Becky coordinates, trains and supervises Trails and Rails volunteers for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. She has been a Trails and Rails guide for 6 years, interpreting the Anza trail between Santa Barbara and San Jose on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. A long-time educator with a specialty in online teaching and learning, she is always looking for ways to make technology accessible to all.

Title: Telling Our Stories
Presenters: Javier Folgar and Jordan Bowman Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Steve Gonzales El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association
Date and Time: Wednesday, December 14th at 2PM EST

Webinar Overview
With the number of organizations competing for the attention and support of the public, engaging your audience through effective storytelling has become an essential tool for organizations of every size. Join us as we discuss ways to craft your organization’s own stories, how to reach and engage new audiences, and methods for influencing individuals to contribute their own experiences to your cause.

About the Speakers
Javier is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Javier oversees and coordinates the messaging of the organization, helping to provide clarity and direction for all ATC departments, its volunteer organizations, and the public.

Jordan is the Public Relations and Social Media Specialist for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Jordan oversees the messages transmitted to the public via traditional and new media interfaces, ensuring that both the organization and its membership have a voice in the protection and celebration of the Appalachian Trail.

In addition to serving as executive director of El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association, Steven is on the board of directors for the Partnership for the National Trails System; serves on the steering committee for the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education at Texas State University; is a member of the advisory committee for the Connecting Trails to Parks project between the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, National Trails System Intermountain Region office, and the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program; and is an advisory committee member for the Texas Historical Commission’s Hispanic Heritage Guide for Texas.

Title: Effective Strategies for Advocacy
Presenters: Mike Wollmer Ice Age Trail Alliance and Pete Olsen American Hiking Society
Date and Time: Wednesday, November 30th at 3PM EST

Webinar Overview
This webinar will focus on effective advocacy when meeting with elected officials – particularly at the federal level. After a brief overview on presenting your strongest case, we will use a case study to highlight some effective techniques that anyone can use. In addition, we’ll discuss overcoming the challenges of creating presentation materials that engage elected officials, or even more challenging, their staff.

About the Speakers
Mike Wollmer is the Executive Director and CEO of the Ice Age Trail Alliance.  Mike spent 35 years in his family’s business with specialty outdoor retail stores in the Milwaukee market.  Beginning in the early 1990’s, his history as an Alliance member includes on-the-ground trail work, crew leadership, and a few years as a member of the board of directors.  In recent years he has served as a director of the Partnership for the National Trails System.

Peter Olsen is the Vice President for Programs & Government Relations at American Hiking Society (AHS). Leading AHS’s advocacy efforts, Mr. Olsen works with Congress and federal agencies to shape public policy and legislation affecting trails, public lands, and the hiking experience.

Title: Best Practices for Motivating and Training Volunteers
Presenters:  Eric Sherman, Ice Age Trail Alliance, and Karl Borton, Florida Trail Association
Date and Time: October 27th, 2016 at 3PM EST

Webinar Overview
Learn best practices to invigorate your volunteer program, whether it supports a national historic or national scenic trail. Eric Sherman will give a general overview of the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s (IATA) Volunteer Trailbuilding program. He will also delve into the ways they are building and maintaining the Ice Age National Scenic Trail while also rewarding volunteers through skills-building. Karl Borton will speak about the Florida Trail Association’s Volunteer Recognition Program. This includes both traditional and non-traditional recognitions and awards. Join us to learn more about motivating and rewarding volunteers!

About the Speakers
Eric serves as the Alliances Membership and Grants Coordinator, and is responsible for administering the Alliance’s awards program and volunteer-hours tracking program.

Karl serves as FTA’s Volunteer Program Coordinator, and is responsible for engaging partners and volunteers on the Florida Trail.

Are you interested in being a Partnership for the National Trails System presenter or do you have a topic to suggest? Send us an e-mail at admin@pnts.org