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Are You Rangelands?

Charles R Hart, PhDSRM Second Vice President 

Fall is in the air in Texas and winter is right around the corner for many of our U.S. members.  It’s been a busy summer field season that keeps us all active outdoors.  Sometimes it’s hard to even find a day to be in the office and catch up on emails, writing, reports, correspondence and other things we are required to do.  But this really fits us.  #WeAreRangelands not because we like to sit in the office but because we like to be on the range.  We would much rather be out doing range evaluations or improvement activities than sitting in our offices punching computer keys.  But we know that is necessary with most of our jobs so reluctantly we sit at our desk, sigh and do our best to keep up with what’s going on in the cyber world. 

As a parallel, SRM also has activities and duties that take us out of the field and into a meeting room or in front of a computer.  Public policy, advocacy opportunities, working with other societies, project management, committee activities, annual meetings, financial work (yes, we have bills to pay) and many other things require us to come back to “civilization” to take care of business.  In the end, SRM is only as effective as the involvement level of our members.  It’s fun and easy to find members to help with a field day or anything involving getting out on the range; not so easy to get members to do the things that take more of a commitment in time at the computer or at meetings.  We’ve all heard the 80:20 rule, 80% of the work is done by 20% of our members.  Volunteer opportunities abound within SRM but do require added work on our part whether at the individual level, Section level or Parent Society level. 

Why am rambling on about this?  One of the first things I have noticed in my first year back on the Board is how much harder it is becoming to get involvement from our membership.  I don’t think that comes to any of us as a surprise as we all have much more demands for our time, or at least it seems that way.  It gets harder each year for our Nominations Committee to find willing members to run for office.  How many of you have turned down a chance to become an SRM Officer or Director?  The Awards Committee has a harder and harder time getting nominees for our awards.  Each year awards go ungiven because nobody was nominated for them.  Finding someone to take the responsibility of a Committee Chair or Chair-Elect position is like getting your child to go to the dentist.  Having Sections submit a bid for an Annual Meeting seems to get harder every year.  We have reached the critical level in getting SRM Annual Meetings booked out far enough in advance to lock in good rates at places we like to go.  The Officers and BOD are looking at ways we can make the annual meeting process more palatable to Sections so that more are willing to do it.  If you’ve ever been highly involved in planning an Annual Meeting in the past, you know how much work it’s been and probably don’t want to do it again.  We need to change that.  It shouldn’t be something we look back on as “fun, but I’ll never do it again.” 

Please don’t get me wrong, we have many members that are very active (the 20%) and I am very appreciative of what they do, now more than ever.  But what can we as SRM Officers and Directors do to get more people involved? 

To cut to the chase, here are three simple things I’m asking you to do: 

  1. As SRM members, let your Section officers know that you are willing to help and get active first at the Section level.  If our Sections are strong, the Parent Society will be strong. 
  1. Be willing to become a Director or Officer at the Section level and “do your part.”  Follow that by doing the same at the Parent Society level.  Give back to SRM. 
  1. Nominate deserving colleagues for Section and Parent Society awards.  You know of deserving people for these awards, take the time to show them you care. 

There are circumstances in our lives that dictate how much time we have.  I certainly understand and respect that.  But if you are able, please help keep SRM relevant and active for many years to come.  Be active and involved at a level that best fits you. 

After all, #WeAreRangelands, WE are SRM. 

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