Earth’s progeny

Becky Stock

Photo by David Robert

Becky Stock is project coordinator for the Nevada Land Conservancy. NLC’s mission is to “preserve and protect the special places and open spaces of Nevada for future generations.” Stock’s favorite open space is in the Monitor Valley, east of Reno on Highway 50, past Austin. “You see these beautiful ranges,” she says, “then you go down to a basin, and then you see a range, and then you see a basin. There’s nothing in it but sagebrush, it’s overwhelming. It makes you feel pretty small.” Stock has been with NLC for almost four years and has worked to preserve and revitalize locales all over the state. NLC will have a booth for Earth Day at Idlewild Park on April 27. There will also be an environmental clean-up in Lemmon Valley at Swan Lake on May 3. Volunteers should meet at 8 a.m. at the McDonald’s in Lemmon Valley. There will be bird watching until 10 a.m., and clean-up is from 10 a.m. to noon. Call 851-5180.

What qualifies as a special or open place?

It’s different to everyone. One of the ways we describe open space is that it has scenic value, such as a hillside, where you wouldn’t want to see development on a ridge line. Vital habitats, recreation areas, flood plains, agricultural areas, those are all special places.

So could every place be an open space?

Not every place needs to be preserved as an open space. If you go out into the middle of Nevada, there’s lots of open space, but it may not be as valuable as it is in the urban areas.

Does NLC ever butt heads with land developers?

If we’re butting heads, then there must be a reason, and that needs to be worked out. We have some advisors who are developers on our board of directors. We want to work with developers in the community. We also want to work with private land owners if they have something they want to protect. If they feel their land is special to them, and they would rather not see it developed, maybe we can help them preserve it forever.

What do you coordinate?

As an open space project develops, there are a lot of details that need to be managed—cleaning the land up, applying for grants, working with an advisory board and also public relations to promote [the project].

How long does the preservation process take?

In Washoe Valley, there’s the former Winters Ranch area where Nevada Land Conservancy is trying to preserve 2,000-plus acres. We applied for funding to protect that land through the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. We made an application in 1999, and we just secured it as of December 2002.

What goals do you wish to achieve by working with NLC?

I don’t know if this is my goal, but I can tell you one of the reasons I enjoy this job so much. It seems every other day I think, "Oh, I should have been a biologist, oh, I should have been a botanist, oh, what about an archaeologist." There are so many things I learn while I’m on this job that just make me value what’s out there so much more. The more you learn, the more important those resources become.