As I write this, my final communication as your SRM President, I am struggling with topics. One topic I know I want to address is to lay to rest some weather concerns with Minneapolis. I will go out on a limb and make some bold predictions. This will be my 32 straight Annual Meeting, and I have traveled through a wide variety of weather. I will guarantee no super cell type wind events, like the one we walked back to the hotel through in Louisville, Kentucky. I will guarantee no risk of mud slides, like I flew past when we went to Guadalajara, Mexico (threatened the air connections in California). I will guarantee no range fires, at least not in Minnesota. I will guarantee that, if there is some snow when we are in Minneapolis, the road crews will have adequate equipment to handle it; and the airport will have more than a garden hose for de-icing. I will not be too worried about the weather in Minneapolis. When I arrive, I will bask in the warm and friendly environment provided by the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, and all the rest of my SRM friends that I only get to see once a year.
My second topic is a bit difficult for me to decide what to right about. I can write about some the things I think membership in SRM provides (information transfer – both directions, networking, fellowship, etc.). I can write about the importance of diversity and inclusion within our Society (general society seems to be getting more diverse all the time, and we can ill afford not to include everyone in our Society). I can write about how the strength of SRM lies both in the parent Society and in the Sections, where I could point out our obvious strengths (management based on science) and our noted weaknesses (science does move slowly sometimes and rarely captures the headlines). I think I will leave all those glaring subjects and simply talk about the importance of YOU, our members.
SRM is a member driven organization. We gather funds from our members (and some from non-members too) by way of membership dues, publication purchases, Annual Meeting attendance, donations, our publications contract, and the use of all the above in agreements (which are mainly a way to mobilize our membership). SRM does not have a conduit to any taxpayer, we do not rely on significant funds from other NGO’s, we don’t receive funds from the various levels of Governments as a foundation for our operation. We are funded by members, driven by members, and empowered by members. It doesn’t hurt for us all to remind ourselves from time to time how important members are, and that importance far transcends the strictly financial side of SRM. Members populate our committees and our leadership, at the Society and Section levels. They give their time, their passion, and their expertise in numerous ways; too many to hope to capture. They allow SRM to advocate for wise use of rangelands on local to global scales. They publish their new science in our journals: and they take that science, often re-package it, and extend it to rangeland users. Members teach our youth and they welcome and revere our sages. Members host us for events, giving their time and comfort for our benefit.
So, as I finish my year as President, I might ask, “What is SRM?”
SRM is a conglomeration of its members. SRM is left and right; conservative and liberal; production and conservation; urban and rural; forest living and desert loving; because our members are. SRM is academic and producer/land user; agency and private; aged and youthful; livestock and wildlife; national and international; because out members are. SRM is both changeling and change-reluctant; because our members are. SRM is a community of members. I find some comfort knowing I am part of the SRM community. I hope you, as a member of SRM, know how important YOU are to SRM.
See you in Minneapolis!
2018 SRM President