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Confluence (n) : “A coming or flowing together, the junction of two rivers, especially rivers of approximately equal width, an act or process of merging, joining, meeting place, gathering, a point of mixing”.

Confluence is the Western Collaborative Conservation Network’s (WCCN) biennial gathering that provides an indispensable space for learning and professional community-building within the collaborative conservation field. For the complex, landscape-scale challenges that we face today, collaboration is essential for successful land stewardship, and the professional network and skills to do that work successfully are fostered over a lifetime. To support those doing collaborative conservation on the ground, and to elevate us towards a thriving future, the WCCN hosts Confluence, a multi-day gathering once every two years, interchanging in location between Fort Collins, CO (where the WCCN is based), and hubs of collaborative conservation across the West.

Benefits of Participating in Confluence Include:

  • Opportunities to connect or reconnect with exceptional people working in collaborative conservation across the Western US.
  • Spaces to learn and share your expertise built into the agenda of Confluence through guided sessions and spaces for you to air your specific questions and challenges among other professionals.
  • Inspiration for your work through sharing your successes with others, and learning about other collaborative success stories both through the sessions and local field trips.
  • Built in opportunities to mentor or be mentored in the collaborative conservation sphere.
sign that says, "Welcome to Colorful Colorado"

If you were at Confluence with us this year, feel free to let Aireona know if you have any thoughts about how to keep this magical trend going for Confluence 2026 (Springtime in Fort Collins, CO). And if you weren’t at Confluence 2024, but wish you were, please keep us on your radar for 2026! We can’t wait to reconnect with you all in-person then!

In the meantime:

Confluence 2024

Confluence 2024 logo

Thank you to all who joined us for Confluence 2024 in Tucson, Arizona!

It was such a blast to connect and strategize across disciplines and landscapes of the West.
Wanna hear more about Confluence in Tucson? Check out a special edition of our quarterly Collaborative Voices newsletter: Collaborative Voices of Confluence.
With Confluence participants’ input, we created a living one-stop-shop document where you can find lists of resources your Network uses, provides, and needs:Collaborative Conservation Tools and Resources. Contribute by adding a comment to the live document or by emailing us at

Key Takeaways

For the short version of what we got up to at #WCCNConfluence 2024, read through our Confluence 2024 Key Takeaways. You can also check out the following resources:
photo by Paula Short
photo by Nicole Reese

The Emerging Leadership Working Group played match maker – and you joined in the fun! 

This year, Confluence 2024 included a Mentorship Match, an opportunity for attendees to be paired for a mini-mentorship experience. Roughly 65 people participated, and the result for many was a connection to learn from their mentor/mentee and a taste of the potential benefits of seeking a mentor or mentoring others.

We hosted a networking session with a fun, new icebreaker, as well as a discussion to learn more about the ways people view mentorship and what opportunities or barriers exist. This session, as well as feedback throughout Confluence, will inform our efforts in developing a Mentorship Toolkit.

We also welcome you to check out a reflection on the Confluence session: “Threaded Together: Strategies for Engaging Emerging Leaders”.

 Confluence 2024 included field trips to visit and learn about collaborative conservation work being done in and around Tucson, AZ. Check out our Key Takeaways for reflections on the exciting projects we visited.

Trips included:

  • Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum
  • Cienega Watershed Collaborative (pictured by Eleanor Ludwig)
  • Implications of Border Policy on Wildlife Movement with Sky Island Alliance
  • Rancher-led Collaborative Conservation in the Altar Valley
  • San Xavier Co-op Farm and Santa Cruz River Heritage Project
photo by Katie McGrath-Novak
photo by Andi Rogers

Missed out on Confluence 2024?

If you are looking to connect with other professionals about the skills, practices, and theories of collaborative conservation, you can connect with the Western Collaborative Conservation Network year-round.

Our community includes all elements of the collaborative conservation sphere from practitioners, researchers, land owners, students, community members, and staff from local, state, and federal agencies. You are a partner of the WCCN if you subscribe to our newsletter, if you are part of a Working Group, and even if you just follow us on social media!

We welcome collaborative conservation practitioners, researchers, community members, and students whether you are interested in connecting for the first time, reconnecting, or continuing your involvement with the WCCN community.

Please join us!

If you were at Confluence with us this year, feel free to let Aireona know if you have any thoughts about how to keep this magical trend going for Confluence 2026 (Springtime in Fort Collins, CO). And if you weren’t at Confluence 2024, but wish you were, please keep us on your radar for 2026! We can’t wait to reconnect with you all in-person then!

In the meantime:

We would like to acknowledge and thank the funders and supporters that are making Confluence 2024 possible. Meet the Sponsors here!

Benefactors: $10,000 and above

Center for Collaborative Conservation

Leaders: $5,000 – $9,999

Walton Family Foundation logo

Guarantors: $2,500 – $4,999

Mighty Arrow Family Foundation Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership  National Parks Conservation AssociationCADR: Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute ResolutionWestern Landowners Alliance Wilburforce FoundationConfluence Collaboration: Facilitation, Mediation, & Natural Resource PlanningWarner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University logoThe Nature Conservancy Arizona logo

Champions: $1,000 – $2,499

Heather and Rick Knight

King's Anvil RanchVera Earl Ranches logoNational Forest Foundation logoNew Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute logoPima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation logo

Guardians: Up to $999

Deb Kleinman

Maisie Powell

John Sanderson

Central Arizona Conservation Alliance logoDesert Botanical Garden logoRivers Edge West logo   Intermountain West Joint Venture logo


Confluence 2022

Thank you to all who joined us for Confluence 2022 on September 19-21, in beautiful Paradise Valley, Montana

We loved gathering in person with you all and re-connecting as a network with members across 11 states. During Confluence 2022, we discussed pressing issues in our collaborative work, catalyzed action, and provided capacity-building opportunities to participants.

Find key takeaways, summaries of the keynote presentations, and speaker reflections and resources from this year’s Confluence in our Confluence 2022 Key Takeaways Report.

Confluence 2022 focused on three key collaborative conservation topics:

  • Cross-cultural Collaboration
  • Community-based Landscape Conservation
  • Collaborating on Water in the West


We took a deep look at Paradise Valley, Montana and used it as a lens to learn about collaborative conservation throughout the American West.

Confluence is a perfect conference for conservation practitioners, academics, students, and volunteers from across the Western United States who are experienced or interested in collaboration as a key element of their work.

MENTORING OPPORTUNITIES: We support emerging leaders through Confluence by connecting people looking for mentors with folks willing to support through mentorship. Read more about the mentorship program here!

PEER-TO-PEER: Confluence 2022 featured six concurrent workshops (aka peer-to-peer sessions) focused on skill-building, and cross-pollination exercises that allowed for enhanced networking among participants and “equipping” opportunities.  Topics of the workshops included: (1) measuring collaborative impacts, (2) emerging leadership, (3) storytelling, communications and media, (4) conservation finance, (5) the collaborator’s toolbox, and (6) cross-cultural partnerships.

“ECO-TERRAIN” CASE STUDIES: The “Eco-terrain” case studies were four place-based scenarios in Montana that showcased new (and old) collaborative partnerships among Montana residents, and address various social and environmental challenges. Together, we learned and problem solved through the exploration of these case studies.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Full and partial scholarships, as well as travel stipends, are made available by the WCCN Team each Confluence.


We would like to acknowledge and thank the funders and supporters that made Confluence 2022 possible:

Benefactors: $10,000 and above

Alper Family Foundation

Ed Warner and Jackie Erickson

World Wildlife Fund, Northern Great Plains Program

Leaders: $5,000 – $9,999

Center for Collaborative Conservation

The Kendeda Fund

University of Montana, Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy

US FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife

Guarantors: $2,500 – $4,999

National Parks and Conservation Association

The Nature Conservancy in Montana

Champions: $1,000 – $2,499

Bill and Dana Milton

Heart of the Rockies Initiative

Montana Forest Collaboration Network

Montana Watershed Coordination Council

National Forest Foundation

Salazar Center for North American Conservation

Western Landowners Alliance

Guardians: Up to $999

American Conservation Experience

BioRegions International

Jessica Western

John Sanderson

Kestrel Aerial Services, Chris Boyer

Montana Wilderness Association

Park County Environmental Council

Rox Hicks

Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition

SeaBird Strategies


South North Nexus

Swan Valley Connections

The Common Ground Project

Wild MT

Confluence 2020

The WCCN held its inaugural Confluence in March 2020. 

Members of collaborative conservation groups and their support organizations gathered from across the West to CONNECT to peers, CONVENE to learn new collaboration skills and practice new tools, and CATALZE action on issues that limit conservation success.

The Confluence program, re-cap video, report, and post-Confluence evaluation can be found here: