Written by Savory Senior Program Director, Byron Shelton
Approximately 80 people attended a field day at the Plains Conservation Center’s West Bijou Ranch on October 29, 2016 and had small group discussions on the land with Savory Institute Field Professionals and staff. The purpose of the day was to expose newcomers and deepen the understanding of others to the fundamentals of holistic management including holistic management’s environmental and decision-making key insights and planning processes. The field day was held the day following Savory Institute’s Annual Conference in Boulder, Colorado.
The 7,400-acre ranch is located 45 miles southeast of Denver and currently runs 350 head of Bison. The Plains Conservation Center staff and livestock lessee completed training in holistic management in 2014. They and the livestock lessee have worked through a detailed holistic land planning process since and have designed and improved the infrastructure on the ranch to allow for managing the bison as the wild herds and their predators lived.
Previously the bison grazed on only half the ranch in three large pastures. Now livestock water is available in several more places on the ranch and the entire ranch is grazed in 17 pastures. The 2016 growing season was the first grazing season where the entire ranch was accessible to the bison.
The field day was split into four sessions, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. All attendees were able to participate in all four sessions. Ample time was provided for lunch and visiting.
• Reading/Monitoring the Ecosystem (Key Insights/Ecosystem Processes) with Allan Savory
• Creating a desired Future Landscape (Brittleness and Tools)/See Bison with Byron Shelton
• Mimicking nature’s Predator/Prey relationships for ecosystem health (Animal Impact & Grazing Timing) with Jody Butterfield
• Savory Institute/Accredited Hubs/Accredited Professional’s/Champions – (Open discussion) with Tre’ Cates
All sessions included a brief overview of holistic decision-making and the holistic planning procedures related to the topic, then moved to questions and answers from the participants.
As a perfect fall day ended on the beautiful prairie, country singer Michael Martin Murphy arrived as a surprise guest. He sang a few of his great songs then spoke of his tremendous support of Allan Savory and holistic management.
You are all strongly encouraged to go out and see holistic management in action at a farm or ranch near you. Refer to the website www.savory.g;obal for current Savory Institute Hubs and their demonstration sites or ranches managed holistically in their area.
More photos from the event: