SRM Directors Jeff Goodwin and Karen Hickman
As summer comes to a close and we are the doorsteps of fall, many of us have spent the last several months enjoying rangelands across the country in a busy field season. As rangeland professionals who understand the importance and dynamics of ecological processes across the landscape, we often have a solid foundation in wildlife habitat management. Many of us appreciate the intricate balance of population dynamics and habitat health. With that understanding, a large contingent of our membership are passionate hunters and recognize the critical role this process plays in population management.
A large part of being a responsible hunter is managing your equipment, specifically ensuring that your rifle or bow is on target. Hunters generally spend hours on the shooting range meticulously adjusting their rifle scopes for yardage and windage. This process is quite involved, many factors must be taken into consideration, and lots of questions have to be answered. The shooter must know the ballistics of the selected cartridge. What is the distance to the target? How will this distance affect the trajectory? How much drift will I receive with this cross wind at this distance? Needless to say, there are many more questions and situations that a responsible hunter must be prepared for prior to the hunt. In the end, when it’s time to take the shot, it takes preparation and focus to be on target.
The same question could be asked of our professional careers; are you prepared and focused on your target? Just as the hunter must have intricate knowledge of ballistic coefficients, minute of angle measurements, and many other related variables, the rangeland professional must grasp and juggle many ecologically complex principles in order to make sound management recommendations that are on target and, in many instances, communicate that in a clear way to the public. In order to ensure these recommendations are on target, the rangeland professional never stops learning, and is persistent in continuing their education.
One way to focus that continued education is to consider becoming a Certified Professional in Rangeland Management (CPRM). As described in the SRM’s CPRM handbook, the CPRM program was initiated in February 2000 and is different from the Certified Range Management Consultant (CRMC) program. The CPRM is an individual who “plans and implements sound management of public and private rangelands” and is certified by a SRM certification committee. The primary goal of this program is to provide the means to improve the standards of professional expertise used in managing public and private rangelands. In addition, this program is intended to maintain the rigor, reputation, and utility of the CPRM program as an important part of SRM’s outreach.
The CPRM program is not just for rangeland professionals that have a long history of work experience, it is for recent graduates too! SRM has recently approved an Associate Professional in Range Management (APRM). The purpose of the APRM is to provide the opportunity for recent graduates with a range or range related degree, who are lacking the required 5 years of range related work experience for CPRM designation, the opportunity to participate in the CPRM program as they work to gain experience within the discipline.
So, as you reflect on your goals as a rangeland professional, are you on target? If you are, we applaud your focus. If you need a little adjustment, consider a focused certification program like CPRM. To learn more about CPRM please click here.