Sustainability and Succession in SRM

Directors Karen Hickman and Jeff Goodwin

Dear SRM Members,
The end of summer and beginning of fall has brought many new challenges:  Hurricanes, earthquakes, and of course, the wildfires throughout the west.  Many of our fellow Rangeland Managers have been significantly affected by these events.  Our heart goes out to them for their safety and their speedy recovery.  While these events are greater in magnitude than the one’s we usually deal with, one thing Range Managers have in common is our ability to adapt.  As we work through these current natural disasters, it has prompted us to consider our understanding of adaptive management, sustainability, as well as the concept of succession.  We (Jeff Goodwin and Karen Hickman), your newest SRM Board Members have been discussing all of this and, given our inability to provide immediate results for those experiencing these disasters, we have attempted to apply our understanding of these concepts to not only to rangeland management, but also the Society for Range Management.

While the SRM is highly effective at promoting high school and college student activities, we need to get better at how to manage succession.  The succession of students from high school to our university range programs (and SRM Student Conclave members) and from there to active Young Professional Conclave (YPC) SRM members—with the climax SRM community being long-term (life-time) SRM members.  Not only is this successional strategy necessary for the short term success of SRM, it is also absolutely necessary for the sustainability of SRM.  However, succession in and of itself is not the complete answer.  As we know, if we are to maintain a climax plant community or reference state it takes active adaptive management.  Managing a truly diverse rangeland landscape with multiple cycling resources takes planning, adjustment, and patience.  From the SRM perspective the planning piece is having clearly defined goals and working towards those outcomes.  President Howery has done an excellent job this year leading the board of directors and officers in a coordinated direction toward measurable outcomes.  The planning and work doesn’t stop there, the real work of any society comes through the committees and the collaboration among those committees. As we know the best made plans often go awry.  The committee work within the society is where adjustments are made and outcomes are realized.  One specific recent outcome is the formation of the Associate Certified Professional in Rangeland Management designation.  Recently the SRM board was presented with an opportunity for adjustment and adaptation, The YPC and CPRM Committees worked together to develop a new opportunity for young professionals to have a certification out of college, if all current requirements are met with the exception of the 5 years of experience.  This provides a framework and opportunity for succession.  We are happy to report the Associate CPRM designation was fully approved.  Patience is often a virtue many of us have to work on daily. We understand that just like rangeland landscapes weren’t degraded overnight they will not be fixed overnight.  The same sentiment can be said for our society.  As we work toward our goals we know we must be patient, however that doesn’t mean we rest on our laurels.  The work continues and active adaptive management doesn’t stop.

We (Jeff and Karen) have gotten to a point in our discussion where we start asking ourselves some pointed questions. How do we, as SRM members, go about promoting and encouraging this succession?  Have we had conversations with high school students about the range profession?  How about mentoring current university students?  When we interact with a range manager, does the SRM ever enter into a conversation?  Can we provide information to “potential recruits” about what SRM can provide?  We can all adapt and we can all adjust.  We just need to ensure we are all working toward common outcomes.  We encourage you, as a member, to consider your own direction.  Who will replace you?  Have you inspired the next generation of rangeland managers, educators and scientists?  Opportunity knocks.

Thank you all for your continued support and passion for our rangeland resource.

Karen Hickman and Jeff Goodwin
SRM Directors 2017-2019

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