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Abstract

The complexity of issues facing rural landscapes in the United States has resulted in a shift from the traditional Extension model to a partnership building approach. In North Carolina, Extension was charged with coordinating a partnership with a diverse set of stakeholders representing the interests of working lands, conservation, and national defense to address shared land compatibility issues. Using a single case study design, we evaluate the role of Extension in the coordination of diverse stakeholder groups for conservation of rural landscapes to protect the military training mission based on insights from the North Carolina Sentinel Landscapes Partnership. The case study includes analysis of key informant interviews and organizational documents through the constant comparative method that provides themes for Extension to consider for such efforts. We found that Extension plays a leadership role in convening a diverse set of interests, facilitating organizational development and educating a broad range of stakeholders. We provide eight key recommendations to accelerate the process of initiation and implementation of such efforts based on an ability to implement a realistic and feasible program that is informed by knowledge of what works elsewhere.

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