A Brief Look Back and a Longer Look Forward

Larry D. Howery, SRM President
As I write this we are a little over a month away from our Annual Meeting in Sparks, NV!  If you haven’t already, please register and make your travel plans.  You have only a few more days to take advantage of the early registration rate which ends December 29th so get registered!  Those of us who are among the more “seasoned” SRM members know that the Nevada Section always does a first-rate job with our Annual Meetings.  On our monthly Board call earlier this month we received every indication from the planning committee that the 2018 Annual Meeting will provide yet another great opportunity for SRM members to come together in Nevada to learn about the latest developments, innovations, and issues related to rangeland ecology and management.

While you are attending the Annual Meeting in Sparks, I urge you to attend the “Bridging the Gap” mentorship event that will be held on Tuesday, January 30th from 4-5:30pm.  The primary objective of this Young Professionals and Student Conclaves-sponsored event is to build more connections between SRM student members (the mentees) and the more seasoned SRMrs (the mentors).  This event is very important for our never-ending efforts to promote the value of becoming a life-long SRM member.  This is especially true for our younger members who will soon become the next generation of SRM leaders.  In fact, some of these fine young folks have stepped up to the plate and are ALREADY distinguishing themselves as leaders!  It is critical that we focus recruitment efforts on young professionals who are excited about the discovery, dissemination, and application of science-based rangeland management principles, and who have the desire and passion to enthusiastically communicate SRM’s Mission and Vision.  If we do this, SRM’s credibility and influence will continue to grow and expand; if we don’t, the reverse will be true.  I have challenged each Board member to participate in Bridging the Gap.  I issue the same challenge to each of you whether you consider yourself to be a mentee or a mentor.  Everyone is invited and the event is completely free.

Reminder!!  Please renew your membership before January 1, 2018 and help SRM complete the transition to a January 1 renewal date for all of our members.  Many thanks to 1st VP Irving, Chris Lapine from Allen Press, and to the SRM staff for making this transition as painless as humanly possible.  As with any new policy or procedure there are bound to be a few hiccups but, ultimately, this change will make SRM’s bookkeeping and budgetary projections easier.  Just as importantly, it should make your life a little easier knowing that you have the same renewal date as everyone else (i.e., January 1 each year).
During my year as President, I promised myself to follow Simon Sinek’s advice and “listen by speaking last.”  I have tried (not always successfully) to do this in the Board room and in our newsletters this year.  In St. George, I issued a challenge to the Advisory Council and to my fellow Board members to write newsletter articles.  They have not disappointed as there have been many great articles written throughout the year that I hope you have enjoyed as much as I have.  I am a firm believer in the phrase “lead from where you are” and think it is important for you to hear from the other officers and Board members, as well as your fellow SRM members.

Along these lines, I encourage you to read 1st VP Barry Irving’s article, “Strengths and Challenges” that appears in this newsletter.  While reading Barry’s article I thought about how one of SRM’s strengths is to address traditional values and concerns, as well as non-traditional societal values and demands.  Our science is what separates us from advocacy groups but sound science is not always available to unequivocally support every decision.  There will always be the need for rangeland managers to apply a healthy mix of science, professional judgment, and common sense when making decisions in the face of uncertainty.  SRM should support rangeland managers and scientists who effectively blend the art and science of our discipline when making land management decisions.  Indeed, SRM continues to be the professional home of choice to many exceptional managers and scientists who have demonstrated an ability to apply both art and science to tackle rangeland management issues germane to the 21st century.  Continuing to attract top-notch professionals is a tradition that must not be ignored or compromised if SRM is to persist as a legitimate player in “influencing policies and practices related to range management” as espoused by Mr. Frederic G. Renner nearly 7 decades ago.  Again, give Barry’s article a read for a deeper dive on this topic.
I’ll conclude by saying it has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as SRM President this past year.  I have the deepest appreciation and respect for all my fellow Officers and Board members, for the SRM staff, the SRM Advisory Council, our Committees, and, to all of my fellow SRM members for giving me the unique opportunity to serve as your President.  It is amazing how much can be accomplished when you have the good fortune to work with a team of individuals who are truly focused on and dedicated to SRM’s Vision and Mission, and who don’t care who gets the credit.

Let me encourage you to make plans to attend the Wednesday (January 31st) SRM Business Meeting in Sparks to hear more details about what SRM has accomplished this year (lunch is free!).  We are going to try a new way of delivering the “State of the Society” message – now you have to attend!  Until then, there is so much you can learn about SRM by going to our Website, our Facebook page, or our Twitter feed.  The latest RangeFlash is an amazing piece of work by our staff and contains a plethora of information.  Wishing each of you the very best for the Holiday Season and for the coming year!  See you all in Sparks!

Until then, keep ‘er steady!

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