2017 SRM President Dr. Larry Howery
Happy Spring everyone! I want to begin with a few words of thanks. First, I want to acknowledge and sincerely thank Dr. Val Anderson for his exemplary service as SRM President over the past year and for his previous service as our 2nd VP, 1st VP, and as an SRM Director. That adds up to 6 consecutive years of productive service as a Board member and officer, not to mention his many previous leadership positions at both the Section and National levels. Thank you Val! Second, I want to thank the Utah Annual Meeting (AM) Planning Committee, the SRM Staff, and SRM’s sponsors for planning and executing such a successful and productive meeting in St. George, UT. The venue was spectacular, the technical sessions were thought provoking, the networking opportunities and collegiality were reinvigorating, and the weather was amazing. There are too many people to name here (it was certainly a team effort) so I’ll just shout a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who were involved with putting on such a fantastic AM!
While at the AM in St. George, your Board of Directors met all day on 1/27/17 and a half a day on 2/2/17 to discuss the Society’s affairs. The minutes of those and prior meetings can be found on the member’s only portion of the SRM website by clicking on the “Resources” tab which appears after you have logged in. SRM’s 2016 Annual Report summarizes some of SRM’s key accomplishments over the past year and provides a glimpse of what your professional society will continue to work on through 2017 and into 2018. I highly encourage you to read or at least peruse this report because it could answer questions you might have about what SRM has done and where it is headed in 2017 and beyond. If you feel important information is lacking or are aware of action items that need attention, please feel free to contact me, 1st VP Irving, 2nd VP Marlow, or EVP Jess Peterson.
The Board’s conference calls for 2017 are tentatively scheduled for the 1st Monday of the month. I say tentatively because some of those dates fall near holidays and may need to be changed. The website will be updated if and when that happens so check there regularly and watch for RangeFlashes in your email inbox. I’d like to share a few highlights of what SRM has been working on since the AM:
• Seeking a New Rangelands Editor: If you attended the Awards Ceremony in St. George you saw Lori Hidinger receive a well-deserved service award for her dedication and acumen as our Editor-in-Chief of Rangelands. Many thanks, Lori, for your > 7 years of service in this role! Drs. Jim Dobrowolski and Joel Brown are leading a Task Force to quickly fill this void and Lori has graciously agreed to stay on for a short while to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible. I anticipate we will be able to make an official announcement about Lori’s replacement in April — stay tuned to the SRM website for an announcement.
• Revisiting the Strategic Plan and Tactical Plan: Over the course of 2017, I will be asking each Board member to work with their Standing Committees to: 1) Ensure that our new website contains the most up-to-date information concerning committee leadership, membership, and current activities, and 2) Update SRM’s Draft Tactical Plan in order to integrate it with SRM’s approved Strategic Plan. Director Jeff Goodwin has already kindly started this work with the committees he represents. There are also plans this Fall to involve the Advisory Council (and hence the Sections) and the SRM Staff in this process. The primary aim here is to produce a dynamic, “updateable” Tactical Plan that matches complementary tactics with the strategic goals that are stated in SRM’s approved Strategic Plan. It is my hope that these 2 documents will provide a framework from which SRM can more efficiently operate and plan for the future. I want to thank past-President/EVP John Tanaka for leading these original efforts back in 2002 and past-President Gary Frasier for leading the effort in 2013 to work with the Board and Advisory Council to update and approve the Strategic Plan.
• Letter to President Trump: President Anderson initiated this effort in mid-January of this year during the Board’s conference call with SRM Committee leaders. President Anderson charged the Public Policy and Affairs Committee (PPAC) to draft the original letter with input from other committees. The final letter was reviewed and vetted by the Board and then sent to President Trump on February 13, 2017. Thank you, Val, for initiating the effort, and kudos to Shane Green, PPAC, and several other SRM Committees for your efforts to draft the letter.
• SRM’s Involvement in Unique Events: The Board occasionally receives requests from members (and occasionally non-members) suggesting that SRM ally itself with other organizations or efforts. These requests typically come from trusted, long-standing partners of SRM. Recently, however, requests have originated from organizations or entities with which SRM has had no previous relationship; SRM was also asked to take a stand on a pending legal issue. During its March 6, 2017 conference call, the Board discussed two of these requests and decided neither would be in SRM’s best interest to pursue. These decisions were informed by the collective input, wisdom, and thoughtful discussion by the Board after it had carefully reviewed the materials, correspondence, and web links associated with both issues. The Board’s discussion centered around its fiduciary responsibility to protect SRM’s reputation as a non-partisan, science-based organization with full consideration of SRM’s Vision, Mission, Bylaws, Advocacy Guidelines, and other governing and guidance documents that appear on our website. SRM will continue to engage in advocacy for rangeland ecology and management based on sound science and practices, but will proceed carefully when science becomes mixed or blurred with the politics of the day. If you are interested in the Board’s discussion and decisions I encourage you to read the minutes from the March conference call, contact me or any other Board member, or, you are always welcome to dial into any Board call or attend any Board meeting.
• AM Survey: A Survey has been crafted by the 2020 Planning Committee and the Outreach, Communications, and Website (OCW) Committee. The survey seeks your input on the planning and content of future AM’s. Survey results will be shared with AM Planning Committees that are “on deck” as future venues for SRM AMs (i.e., NV, MN, and CO). I have given it a test run — it takes about 5 minutes to complete. Special thanks to Chuck Butterfield, Hailey Wilmer, Justin Derner and the rest of the OCW and 2020 Planning Committees for this important effort. I believe the feedback we receive from each of our members will have great potential to pay dividends for SRM’s future AM’s which have always been an integral cornerstone of our organization! Please follow this LINK to the survey.
• Wildfire Across the Plains: I am sure that most of you have heard or read about the destructive and deadly wildfires that have swept across several plains states including Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. These fires are being called “The Katrina of the High Plains” but have somehow escaped the national media’s attention for the most part. Faith Syfrett, Social Media Chair for the SRM Student Conclave, has taken the lead to organize a fund-raising effort to support the families and communities that have experienced devastating and heart-wrenching impacts from these wildfires. The Student Conclave will be selling t-shirts and collecting donations in support of this effort. I urge each SRM member to back the Student Conclave’s efforts. Words cannot express how proud I am of our young SRM leaders for stepping up to the plate on this benevolent effort. Contact Faith (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
• Transitioning to a Jan 1st Membership Renewal: I want to thank 1st VP Barry Irving and Allen Press’ Christopher Lapine for working hard to keep the membership informed about the on-going transition to make January 1 the common renewal date for all SRM members. This transition is obviously very important to each individual member and to SRM as an organization. Click here for an informative message from Barry and Chris.
Keep er’ steady (with credit and appreciation to Karen L.),