Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Idaho Section Meeting

By Julia Workman, SRM Outreach Intern

The Idaho SRM Section’s 2010 winter meeting on November 10-12 featured several talented speakers at various symposia focused on “Alternative Management Strategies in Big Sagebrush Steppe: Perspectives, Opportunities, and Supporting Evidence.” The section co-hosting Spokane 2012 showed the 150 visitors to Idaho Falls a great learning experience and plenty of opportunity for Idaho section members to get to know each other and guest Aleta Rudeen, the national organization’s Director for Outreach and Leadership.
The meeting kicked off with the business meeting on Wednesday night. Karen Launchbaugh, a professor at the University of Idaho, talked about the new UI Rangeland Center. This program, the only one like it in the West, currently has a membership of 23 professors, agency workers, and other individuals interested in rangelands. It will focus on applied research and forming longterm relationships, as well as solidifying the importance of rangeland ecology and management through times of shifting values at the university. Meribeth Lomkin also took the spotlight as she received the Traveling Outhouse Award for the second year running (which was handy, since the outhouse had forgotten to travel to the meeting).
The Thursday and Friday seminars kicked off with “Sagebrush steppe ecosystems—musings of a long-term student,” followed by talks ranging in topic from “Understanding resistance to invasion and resilience to disturbance” to “Fire ecology of sagebrush systems: to burn or not to burn for wildlife habitat,” from “Remote sensing applications in the sagebrush steppe of Idaho” to “Inter-relationships of invasive and native plants and hydroclimate in sagebrush steppe: implications for management.” Needless to say, everyone’s understanding of the sagebrush ecosystem improved quite a bit during our time there.
Another highlight of the meeting was the student benefit silent auction, which featured fierce bidding for such items as a license plate clock, a juniper-stand lamp, canned produce, several books, and of course a number of gift baskets. Proceeds from this annual event go to the Brian Miller Scholarship fund and donations to other student groups. Winners were declared during the Friday lunchtime poster session.
I also had the opportunity to catch up with incoming section president Roger Blew, so be sure to keep posted for the next SRM Spotlight!
Overall, thanks to Idaho for a terrific experience. The meeting was a huge success with plenty of good fun, food, and friends to offset a great atmosphere for learning. We're well on track with planning for Spokane 2012... but first, I'll see you all in Billings!

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