PARIS – Deb Burd, Western Mountains Alliance executive director, was invited by the Aspen Institute to share the alliance as a national regional model at the third regional planning team retreat of Redwood Coast Rural Action from Oct. 25 to 27 at the Benbow Inn in Benbow, Calif.

The mission of the Aspen Institute is to foster enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless ideas and values and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the institute and its international partners seek to promote the pursuit of common ground and deeper understanding in a nonpartisan and non-ideological setting.

Rural Action is a regional collaborative-in-formation of leaders from Humboldt, Trinity, Mendocino and Del Norte counties along the northwest coast of California. Anchored by three regional institutions – College of the Redwoods, Humboldt State University and Humboldt Area Foundation – a diverse set of 35 leaders from the four counties are in the middle of an 18-month planning process in which they are considering working together to act as a region on issues of common concern and priority.

The alliance is being looked at as one model of a rural regional collaborative that is working elsewhere in the nation. Burd participated in the retreat as a “spark” from outside and helped move small breakout group conversations forward.

For more information, contact the alliance offices at 778-7274 or visit the Web at

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