Encana gives $25,000 to the Wyoming Stock Growers Association
Company continues partnership to strengthen Wyoming’s rural communities
by Wyoming Stock Growers - EnCana joint media release
May 24, 2010
Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. granted $25,000 to the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) to continue funding the Community Dialogues for Rural Wyoming, an initiative begun by WSGA and Encana last year in support of Governor Freudenthal’s "Building the Wyoming We Want" initiative, and to secure the health and vitality of Wyoming’s rural communities.
"Rural communities add significant value to our state," said Randy Teeuwen, Encana community relations advisor. "This program not only promotes the health and continued success of the rural communities, but also enhances sustainability and overall quality of life. It’s important to recognize the worth of preserving and strengthening our rural heritage."
Community Dialogues for Rural Wyoming includes three phases – facilitate dialogues in rural communities and identify a comprehensive report of concerns and opportunities; implement and disseminate community-driven action plans; and add more rural communities to the program.
For phase I, WSGA hosted dialogues and identified concerns last summer in five Wyoming rural communities located in counties with high energy and agricultural involvement: Baggs, Boulder, Kaycee, Lusk and Shoshoni. Economic, educational and environmental issues were analyzed, along with concern over the preservation of shared values associated with rural lifestyles.
"‘Building the Wyoming We Want’ showed us that Wyoming citizens highly value open space and rural lifestyles," said Kosha Olsen, WSGA director of communications and publications. "These dialogues are encouraging rural community members to become engaged and proactive."
The initiative returned to the communities this spring for phase II. Each community developed and is implementing community-driven action plans that address one or more concerns of the rural communities.
The Encana grant is funding these action plans, including a push for social media. WSGA is hosting a centralized blog, www.realranchers.com, with blog posts by local leaders from the five rural communities. In addition, local ranchers and community members are compiling pictures and videos of their daily lives to be shared on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to both agricultural and non-agriculture audiences.
"Before, ranchers never needed to talk to consumers," said Olsen. "But now, there are many benefits to applying social media to tell their story and connect with the consumers of their products and about the land."
WSGA will continue with phase II this fall, and revisit the rural communities to re-assess the success of activities implemented.
With last year’s contribution, Encana has granted $61,800 to the Community Dialogues for Rural Wyoming. "The strength of a community depends on its community members," said Teeuwen. "This project exemplifies a mutual partnership between the agriculture and energy industry, local organizations, individuals and businesses, working together to strengthen our rural communities. Encana is proud to be a part of this venture."
For more information on participating in Community Dialogues for Rural Wyoming, please contact Liz LeSatz at 307-638-3942 or email@example.com.