2018 Watershed Symposium

2018 Symposium Save the Date


We are still finalizing our Agenda but Keynote Speakers include:

Tony Incashola, Tribal Elder and Director of the Salish-Pend-d’Oreilee Culture Committee

Antoine “Tony” Incashola Sr. is a Tribal Elder of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana and the Director of the Salish-Pend-d’Oreilee Culture Committee for which he has been serving on for 43 years. His service on the committee started in 1975 when Johnny Arlee asked Tony to work with him on preserving the Salish Culture. Tony has always lived a traditional way of life that he learned growing up with his grandparents so he was well qualified for the task. Tony’s desire to preserve his culture comes from racism he endured as a child on the Flathead Reservation and decided to make his life pursuit to give future generations pride in who they are as people. The Committee had produced over 1200 audio interviews, 100 movies, lessons, presentations, and other footage of elders which is one of the most comprehensive and extensive tribal collection in the nation. They are also working on a multi-volume book set that is written by tribal members from their first- hand perspective and written concurrently in English and Salish. Tony’s work has earned him the Heritage Keeper Award from the Montana Historical Society.


Sarah Elkins, Owner of Elkins Consulting

Sarah is a speaker, workshop facilitator and coach, musician and storyteller. She works with leadership and sales teams to improve communication by creating environments that encourage authentic connection and curiosity, using storytelling techniques to help people find personal stories to share, and ways to share them.

Compelled to create space for people eager for personal and professional growth, Sarah launched the No Longer Virtual (NLV) events; limited participation, two day conferences with the theme “connecting beyond the keyboard.” NLV was included twice in the list of “hidden gems” of “can’t miss conferences for entrepreneurs” in Forbes online.

Her podcast, Your Stories Don’t Define You. How You Tell Them Will, can be found on iTunes, Spotify, and more. She’s an active blogger on LinkedIn and on her website.

Sarah lives in Montana, and enjoys hiking, fishing, and traveling. She loves to cook and host guests in her 1890 Victorian home, nourishing and nurturing all who visit.

Workshops and Panels Sessions:

Drinking the Collaboration Kool-aid: How to Communicate the meaning and Value of Grassroots Collaboration within Your Agency and Engage/Support Local Entities with Panelists: Mark Bostrum, (EPA/DEQ), (USFS?) John Mulfield (City of Whitefish), Alden Shallcross (BLM), and Jerry Shows (NRCS)

State and federal agencies have identified the critical need for local support in implementing state or regional conservation policies. But how do we, as agency personnel communicate that value within our agencies and furthermore, develop programs that provide the support needed to groups on the ground. Hear from a few agency individuals who have made significant headway in generating support for local collaboration. Hear directly from our champions about the obstacles as well as the opportunities for state, federal, and local government employees to support community-based collaboration.

Honing a Razor-Sharp Message with Ben Long of Resource Media

A compelling and consistent message is a critical component for any successful campaign or organization. Yet our messages must compete against a fire hose of information that bombard our audiences daily. This workshop examines what is a message, and what makes messages effective. We break messages down to their core components: values, threat, solution and ask. We take technical, wonky issues and craft them into messages that are technically sound and accurate, but also speak to the heart first, and the head second. As time allows, we may break into small groups and develop message for specific, real world issues.

Winning with Words: Effective Communication Strategy with Ben Long of Resource Media

People communicate for many reasons: self-expression, art, education, marketing to name a few. But Strategic Communication is all about achieving a goal, be it in the ballot box, the policy arena, or the marketplace. This workshop outlines a 12-step checklist of questions that every campaign needs to answer to speak out effectively and advocate for any kind of change. Key topics include identifying who is (and as important who is not) the target audience, what tools and tactics are best to reach that audience, what kind of imagery and anecdotes will not only inform that audience, but inspire it. As time allows, we may break into small groups and develop some rough sketches of strategic communication plans on one or two real-world campaigns.

Identifying Your Story and Connecting with the Stories of People You Work With with Sarah Elkins of Elkins Consulting.

Building on the keynote, this session is designed to dig deeper into the types of personal stories to share, depending on the audience and the intention of the conversation. This session will also focus on training participants to draw out the stories of the people around them, creating closer connections and improving communication.

Narrate a Compelling Impact Model: Changing Tense in the Age of the Infinite Present with Randy Bachmeier

Your organization exists because someone recognized a pressing need and had both the virtue and the vision to act. Your mission statement was thus likely crafted to address an immediate problem with an immediate solution. Impact models derived from such mission statements, however, frequently serve to perpetuate rather than eliminate the need. A vicious cycle entraps many organizations in the infinite present, a void somewhere between mission and vision.

Escaping this tyranny of the present, and compelling your audience to join in your quest, requires reimagining and recrafting the organization’s tale, reconnecting the dots from its origin to its destiny. Understanding foundational principles of systems theory and change theory will enable you to develop impact models that are not only grounded in your organization’s mission, origin, and identity, but also delineate pathways of meaningful change to its vision. Reframe your narrative’s time perspective: shift the psychological framework from the disconnected simple tenses to the expansive progressive tense, and escape the void of the infinite present.

Our Collective Responsiblity: Communicating on the Need for Watershed Capacity Presented by Jeff Tiberi, Mark Bostrom, Ross Propseri (LCV)

Overview of the current state natural resource grant funding structure, including sources and structure of revenue,  and the relative sustainability of those resources. Watershed partner activities vary across a wide spectrum of communication strategies with direct and indirect policy implications. Panelists will discuss why it is important and tactics for communicating with legislators and other natural resource decision makers,; including resource for determining  what is lobbying, advocacy, and mere information sharing. Staying comfortably within the lines for your organization and your community requires some understanding of where those lines are drawn.

Low Cost Digital Marketing and Story Maps with Jamie Ellis

DNRC’s Jamie Ellis will facilitate a discussion on low cost digital marketing tools. Multiple watershed groups will present on their development and use of story maps in communicating their local success stories.

Changing the Fundraising Paradigm: Creative Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line by Mike Koopal, Brian Averill (Owner of The Lodge at Whitefish Lake), Linda Eng-Grady (Executive Director of the Whitefish Community Foundation), Mark Ducharme (General Manager of Xanterra – Glacier National Park Lodges)

RFP: Effective Communication Tools

Film Development with National Geographic

… and much more! Check back regularly for program details.

Interested in sponsoring? Contact Erin at erin@mtwatersheds.org