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Collaboration still works for Coalition

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By Sherry Robinson

In 1997 three people got together – one rancher and two Sierra Club activists, who were fed up with the warfare between their two groups. They began to talk about the health of the land, about doing things differently, about working together.
This unlikely combination formed the Santa Fe-based Quivira Coalition, and at its tenth conference in mid-November, it was still talking about doing things differently and working together. But some goals and partners have changed. The coalition’s 15-plus years have had their ups and downs, but it has demonstrated that collaboration, even in these polarized times, is still possible.
Quivira’s second event in 1997 was at founding member Jim Winder’s Double Lightning ranch between Hatch and Deming. Winder had restored the watershed on his place and adopted new management practices. The environmentalists were skeptical, the ranchers thought he was crazy, and neither group would speak to the other.
“I made more money this year than I ever have before,” Winder said. A couple of ranchers began listening. A few years later, a drought management workshop drew ranchers from around New Mexico and southern Colorado.