Plains Safaris: A Conference on Tourism and Conservation in the Great Plains took place in Kearney, Neb., April 18-20, 2018. It was a joint conference by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska, Nebraska Tourism Commission, and Heartland Scenic Byways.
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[00:00:01.112]Preservation is important because
[00:00:03.852]we can sustain our natural resources
[00:00:07.242]for our future generations so that
[00:00:09.378]it can keep yielding to
[00:00:12.374]contribute to the future generation.
[00:00:16.182]Ecotourism and conservation can work together
[00:00:20.559]provided we empower the community
[00:00:24.750]from where I come from,
[00:00:26.236]make sure that they benefit from that.
[00:00:28.964]They are the people that will be
[00:00:30.207]about conserve that instead of
[00:00:32.807]indirectly benefiting from it.
[00:00:35.988]I think a lot of people look
[00:00:36.929]at the Great Plains and they don't see anything there,
[00:00:38.461]but if you look more closely
[00:00:39.785]you'll see there's a richness there.
[00:00:41.468]There's more to the system than meets the eye initially
[00:00:46.657]and that's a rich fabric of life
[00:00:49.073]and a great landscape, a feeling of openness
[00:00:51.675]and freedom that you don't get
[00:00:54.102]in other more enclosed landscapes.
[00:00:56.865]This is a fantastic landscape and ecosystem
[00:01:00.438]with amazing iconic American wildlife
[00:01:04.152]and people should be going for it.
[00:01:05.952]And make the American public love
[00:01:09.308]the heartland again.
[00:01:10.141]So Nebraska and the Great Plains in general,
[00:01:14.381]we have these great things that
[00:01:17.054]we can offer people coming here.
[00:01:18.902]We have wide open spaces,
[00:01:20.420]we have these really charismatic animals,
[00:01:22.809]the bison, the pronghorn.
[00:01:24.260]But I think we also have a really
[00:01:26.280]good story to tell and great people
[00:01:28.405]here to tell that story.
[00:01:29.972]And so I think we have something
[00:01:31.562]that we can offer here in the Great Plains
[00:01:33.374]that not a lot of people have,
[00:01:35.359]not a lot of places have.
[00:01:37.532]I'm really happy I took a leap
[00:01:39.053]of faith to come to Nebraska.
[00:01:40.748]I think everyone should do it.
[00:01:42.641]It's exciting to meet people that
[00:01:44.940]are in a different location,
[00:01:46.217]a different state, a different country.
[00:01:48.028]I met people from, who knew that I
[00:01:50.048]was going to come to Nebraska and
[00:01:51.615]meet people from Africa.
[00:01:53.750]I love the people, they're friendly.
[00:01:56.326]They're open-minded and they've taught me a lot of things.
[00:01:59.437]I feel like I've had an education
[00:02:00.923]here in Nebraska that I never
[00:02:02.003]would have received anywhere else.
[00:02:04.743]For my readers and myself, it's all about the people
[00:02:07.201]and the stories that I can put together when I visit.
[00:02:10.034]And if I can create a story where
[00:02:11.973]people want to go there and experience
[00:02:14.910]the same food that I did,
[00:02:16.559]see the same sights and get that warm feeling
[00:02:20.205]that visitors receive when they go to these communities,
[00:02:23.026]it's a win-win for everybody in tourism.
[00:02:25.441]Family is everything to us.
[00:02:27.051]Our goal is to live and work as a family
[00:02:30.682]on our family ranch that's been
[00:02:32.528]in the family for over a 100 years.
[00:02:34.603]And tourism has made that possible for us.
[00:02:37.320]It's brought the next generation back
[00:02:38.922]and it holds great promise for the future.
[00:02:42.185]What I most appreciate about Nebraska,
[00:02:44.010]and even though I've been to 58 countries around the world,
[00:02:46.448]is this is the place that will always be home.
[00:02:49.124]That where my heart can rest and expand
[00:02:52.874]and become the best version of me
[00:02:54.278]in a place where I know that it's sacred.
[00:02:59.593]Let's take a look at the landscape.
[00:03:01.703]And let's go beyond that superficial
[00:03:04.977]epidural layer where we're aiming,
[00:03:08.515]and let's look at this landscape holistically.
[00:03:12.300]And let's include the indigenous component.
[00:03:15.864]This is a land that was occupied by humans
[00:03:17.594]for tens of thousands of years.
[00:03:19.834]And the information is still there.
[00:03:23.016]So let's take that and work with that
[00:03:26.150]and learn from indigenous people,
[00:03:28.681]how we can better take care of this landscape
[00:03:31.305]and preserve it in order to have
[00:03:33.337]a valuable ecotourism industry here.
[00:03:38.167]Our rural landscape and scarcity of population,
[00:03:42.996]that's a great bonus for us.
[00:03:44.645]People want places where they can spread their wings,
[00:03:47.037]where they can relax,
[00:03:49.614]where they can be still and be quiet
[00:03:51.762]and that's what we have.
[00:03:54.188]It's a great place.
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