The Forestry Source - July 2011 - (Page 2)
Published monthly by the Society of American Foresters (SAF),The Forestry Source (ISSN 10845496) provides SAF members and other natural resource professionals with news regarding developments within the forestry profession as well as the activities and policies of SAF. The opinions expressed in articles, commentaries, and letters do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of SAF. Publisher, Michael T. Goergen Jr. Editor: Steve Wilent, email@example.com Society Affairs Editor, Joseph M. Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Joseph M. Smith
Staying Involved after Graduation Requires “Catching the Bug” in School
Editorial Offices and Advertising Sales 5400 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814-2198 Tel (301) 897-8720 • www.safnet.org Correspondence: Address all editorial correspondence to the Editor at the above address. Advertising inquiries should be directed to Scott Oser at (301) 897-8720, ext. 201. Subscription rates: $35 for individuals in the US and Canada ($65 in foreign countries); $65 for institutions in the US ($95 in foreign countries). Subscription price to members is included in annual dues. Contact Christopher Whited at the above phone number regarding subscriptions and address changes. Single issues may be purchased for $2.50 from the SAF sales office. Permission to reprint: Individuals, and nonprofit libraries acting for them, are permitted to make fair use of the material in this publication; for example, copying an article for personal or classroom use. For republication, or systematic or multiple reproduction of copyrighted material, permission must be obtained from SAF, with a fee for commercial use to be determined. To request permission to republish or reproduce material, contact the Editor at the address above. Proper notice of copyright and credit to The Forestry Source must appear on all copies made. Permission is granted to quote from The Forestry Source if the customary acknowledgment accompanies the quote. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Forestry Source, 5400 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814-2198, Attn.: C. Hughley Periodicals postage paid at Bethesda, Maryland, and at additional mailing offices. Printed in the USA. © 2010, Society of American Foresters. ISSN 1084-5496.
Society of American Foresters
The mission of the Society of American Foresters is to advance the science, education, technology, and practice of forestry; to enhance the competency of its members; to establish standards of professional excellence; and to use the knowledge, skills, and conservation ethic of the profession to ensure the continued health and use of forest ecosystems and the present and future availability of forest resources to benefit society. President: Roger A. Dziengeleski, CF email@example.com Vice-President: William H. “Bill” Rockwell, CF/FCA firstname.lastname@example.org Immediate Past-President: Michael B. Lester, CF email@example.com Executive Vice-President: Michael T. Goergen Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org Council: Robert L. Alverts, CF, Tigard, Oregon; Michael J. DeLasaux, Quincy, California; Mark Elliot, Mobile, Alabama; George Frame, CF, Bristol, New Hampshire; Ernie Houghton, Gladstone, Michigan; Ken Jolly, Annapolis, Maryland; Chuck Lorenz, Tumwater, Washington; IanMunn, CF, Mississippi State, Mississippi; Lynn Sprague, Garden City, Idaho; Thomas J. Straka, CF/FCA, Clemson, South Carolina; and William D. (David) Walters, CF, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Forest Science and Technology Board: H. William Rockwell Jr., CF, chair; Jeremy S. Fried, Resources Measurements; Matthew McBroom, Ecology And Biology; Lawrence Teeter, Decision Sciences; Philip Smartt, Social And Related Sciences; Kurt W. Gottschalk, CF, Management and Utilization; Bill F. Elmendorf, Forest Systems; Guy Pinjuv, Western Regional Science Representative; Donald I. Dickmann, CF, Northern Regional Science Representative; David B. South, Southern Regional Science Representative National Office Department Directors: Louise Murgia, director, field services; Matthew Walls, director, publications; Carol Redelshiemer, CF, director, science and education; Carlton Gleed, director, conferences and meetings; Christopher Whited, senior director, marketing and membership.
uring my recent conversation with Mike Powell, SAF faculty representative at Penn State University (you can read the transcript of that conversation on page 8), I asked him a question I’ve been asking SAF leaders for many years: What can the Society do to better engage its student members? Powell had read my other interviews with SAF faculty representatives, so he knew the question was coming (he even said so). Still, after I asked him, he confessed that he didn’t know. There are “no easy answers” he said. I interview people quite a bit, and in my experience a response like, “I don’t know” can often ruin a conversation by impeding the back-and-forth flow between interviewer and interviewee, especially when the interviewee is being elusive. At other times, though, a response of “I don’t know” can amount to unbridled honesty and speak to a larger truth. Powell’s use of the phrase exemplified the latter. He’s right: when it comes to engaging SAF’s student members, there are no easy answers, largely because SAF’s student members are not a monolithic block and thinking of them as such is to do them a disservice. Like every member of SAF, the students who belong to this organization are individuals, and each will have his or her own reason for staying involved or leaving during the “membership danger zone”— the first five years after graduation. This view also does a disservice to SAF, for thinking too narrowly about why people leave the Society could result in misguided policies designed to address the issue and, subsequently, a waste of time and resources. Of course, to say that there are no easy answers does not mean that there are no answers when it comes to keeping students and young professionals involved and engaged. There are things that SAF can do, and Powell tips us off to them when he says he “caught the [SAF] bug” when he went to his first Allegheny SAF meeting and that, as a faculty adviser, he “tries to give his students the exposure to SAF that he received.” During the more than 10 years I’ve been
Student members at the 2010 SAF National Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
with SAF, there have been countless discussions about the most effective ways to keep students and new professional involved, and in every one, the focus has been on finding out why people leave the organization. However, after speaking with Powell and the other faculty representatives nice enough to give me their time, I believe we ought to be asking a different question: Why do people stay? On the surface, it may seem that the reasons people leave SAF are inextricably linked to their reasons for staying and that, regardless of which one we investigate, we’ll arrive at the same answer. Yet, after thinking about it for awhile, I’m no longer sure that’s the case. For example, when former members say they’ve left the organization because they “can’t find a job in forestry,” SAF chalks their departure up to a tough economy and, typically, the conversation ends there. Yet, if people stay involved in SAF despite their difficulty finding a forestry-related job, SAF never finds out why they’ve decided to hang on. Having such information about why people decide not to call it quits could be vital. During our interview, Powell discussed the “difficulty” he experienced when he “didn’t have a forestry job, but still had to pay his SAF dues,” and he admitted “questioning” whether should maintain his membership. He did, of course, and his reason for doing so was that he “knew [main-
taining his membership] was important.” Why did he think this? We didn’t talk about this directly in our interview, so I called him a few days later to find out. “I was hopeful that, eventually, I would be working in forestry, and I wanted to keep up with what was going on in the profession,” he said. Since Powell admits to catching the SAF bug as a student, it makes sense that he would stay connected to the organization after graduation, even while he was working outside the profession. If SAF could figure out what catching the SAF bug entails—and do its best to ensure that all SAF members get exposed to the same degree that Powell did—we’d spend a lot less time and energy worrying about what will happen to SAF’s student members after they graduate. But, hey, don’t take my word for it. Consider the following from an earlier interview I did with Tom Kuzmic, faculty representative to the SAF Student Chapter at Oklahoma State University. “If SAF is looking for opportunities to enhance leadership development among students and cultivate the desire to stay involved in SAF after graduation, we have to get them involved as leaders and get them to the national convention. Our students that go to the convention come back fired up. They love the experience, and there are a lot of good things happening at convention that are focused on students. They see them and they take advantage of them.” Granted, Kuzmic said this after acknowledging the need to help students cover the costs of traveling to the convention, but regardless of the context in which it was said, one thing is clear: the key to keeping students from leaving SAF after graduation is giving them a reason to stay while they’re in school. Smith is society affairs editor of The Forestry Source. To read his series of interviews with SAF faculty representatives, visit the “education” page of the SAF website at www.efor ester.org/fp/education.cfm.
ForestEthics vs. SFI I am tired of the ongoing false and misleading statements made by ForestEthics in its effort to perpetuate the “forest certification war” (“Amidst Charges of Greenwashing, Report Compares FSC, SFI,” May). ForestEthics ought to conduct an internal review of its own ethical behavior. After conducting more than 120 audits and leading an effort for a certification body in gaining accreditation to these systems, I have personally witnessed the Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and American Tree Farm System standards as having made significant improvements in how we manage forests in North America. Each standard has become better because of the existence of the others. Forest certification standards exist, in part, to provide buyers internationally with a means for making decisions about the source of purchased wood and paper. If ForestEthics was honest about what motivates them, they would look at where FCS has been implemented around the world and the variability by which the FSC standard is implemented and audited. In the developing world, the FSC standard has brought much-needed economic developThe Forestry Source
ment dollars to the owners of forestland that, without FSC certification, would not have been managed as forests. We need to recognize this as a good thing. However, I have also witnessed an FCS-certified forest in South America that is a plantation of exotic species (Southern Yellow Pine and Eucalyptus). There is no certification system that I know of in North America that would allow this. I wish ForestEthics would tone down its rhetoric and stop perpetuating the forest certification wars. Steve Ruddell Durango, Colorado I just completed reading the front page article in the May edition that deals with the continued efforts of ForestEthics to mislead readers concerning the integrity of the SFI. In a forestry career spanning more than 38 years, I have been intimately involved as a wood procurement manager in SFI and American Tree Farm certification. Now, as Alabama’s state forester, I work with all three certification programs, including FSC. During this time, I have had the unique opportunity to have input into both the SFI and Tree Farm certification programs. Over the years these programs have been strengthened, resulting in national and global recognition of industry and private
forest landowners’ commitment to outstanding management of their forestland. In Alabama, we take great pride in the overall management of our 22.7 million acres of forestland. Close to 2.4 million acres of Alabama’s forests are certified to the SFI Standard, and I see the benefits almost every day. And SFI’s reach goes far beyond certified lands: it addresses the reality that 80 percent of the 22.7 million acres of Alabama’s forests are owned by more than 440,000 non-industrial private landowners. Our implementation rate for voluntary best management practices (BMPs) stands at 97 percent. A recent review by the Southern Group of State Foresters Water Resources Committee said that “Alabama’s level of commitment to its BMP program can serve as an example for other states.” Much of this success can be traced to SFI and Tree Farm third-party certification and the programs’ commitment to improving practices, building knowledge, and training logging professionals. This commitment means a lot to me as a state forester and to people in communities across Alabama. These facts are in sharp contrast to the misinformation disseminated by groups
(“Letters” continues on page 6)
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Forestry Source - July 2011
The Forestry Source - July 2011
The Issue of SAF Membership
SAF Faculty Representatives: An In-Depth Look
University of Idaho SAF Student Chapter Holds Seminar Series on Current Natural Resources Issues
Government Subsidies: Coming Soon to a Forest Near You?
Blight-Resistant American Chestnut Planted on Hoosier National Forest
Science & Tech
Continuing Ed. Calendar
The Forestry Source - July 2011