Normally I try not to mix Society of American Forester business with this blog, except for the fact that I learn things from that work I share here and vice versa. In this case, though, I’m interested in getting as broad a set of ideas and experiences and thoughts as possible, and I know that folks on this blog have such a variety.
So here it is. The SAF has a position statement that originated in the 90’s on “Professionalism in Public Natural Resource Management Agencies.” Here’s a link. It has a historic perspective that I think is out of date (like SES is here to stay). I’m wondering what folks think the issues around professionalism (and here I am thinking more broadly, planning, wildlife, hydrology) are in the natural resource agencies you all work for or deal with.
Since I retired, I have no idea what’s current. In the year before I left the Forest Service, I was told “work on the Committee on Forest Policy has nothing to do with your job” and “if you give a talk at a professional conference you must pay your own way, use leave, and even if you do that, you should really not go, because people don’t know who is funding you and might think you are violating USDA travel policy.” I was required to call the program folks at one conference and have them change my Forest Service affiliation on the program (yes, I was proud to give my affiliation instead as the administrator of this blog). Fortunately, the organizers were used to Dilbertian requests and didn’t bat an eye.
Hopefully, my experiences were a rare warp in the space-time professional continuum. I hope that FS folks are generally following the spirit of Chief Dombeck’s letter on professionalism, which has not been rescinded that I know of.
Anyway, I’m curious about what folks see the issues of today to be.