Arts and conservation: partners working together for the community – Citizen-Board Member Branch

Picking a reliable partner can be tricky business. The Idaho Foundation for Parks & Lands, a statewide land conservancy in its 30th year, found a winning solution when it teamed the Idaho Shakespeare Festival with the Barber Pool Conservation Area, a prime habitat area of 400 acres along the Boise River. The festival needed a venue, and the conservation area needed greater community support.

The partnership started in 1995 with a purchase agreement. From that followed an operating agreement with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation as part of a three-way, mutually beneficial way of conducting key projects and programs. “We are in a city that’s growing by leaps and bounds. One of the reasons we chose the riverside location was to be a kind of an anchor for the development of the area, in terms of its environmental, recreational and educational interaction with this great ecosystem,” says the managing director of the Shakespeare festival.

To date, the partners have hosted the 2001 Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (which attracts attendees from around the world), the National Association of Recreation Resource Planners meeting and, recently, the National Governor’s Conference.

In addition, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival produces a five-play season with 93 performances, at a $4 million amphitheater and park, to an estimated audience of 50,000 persons. Conservationists also win: Each January for the past three years, Bald Eagle Day in the Barber Pool Conservation Area has offered the public a chance to view the bald eagle and learn about efforts necessary to protect it as a hallmark over-wintering species.

COPYRIGHT 2002 National Recreation and Park Association

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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