Thursday, December 9, 2010

Colorado Section Meeting

By Julia Workman, SRM Outreach Intern
I recently received a heartfelt Colorado welcome during my first trip to the Western Slope portion of the state for the Colorado Section SRM’s Winter Meeting in Grand Junction. Held jointly with the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program (HPP) on November 30-December 2, this event was a great opportunity to meet many of the active members from another section.

The same section that organized a great international Annual Meeting last February didn’t disappoint this winter. The organizers pulled a great set of speakers together to support their theme, Wildlife Habitat Management.

Officer installation occurred at the business meeting early Wednesday morning, as well as updates on this involved section’s various happenings, the Billings meeting latest, and outreach news. After Director of Outreach and Leadership Development Aleta Rudeen brought members up-to-date on the current changes in SRM, I gave a talk on what I have learned throughout the course of my Outreach Internship position with SRM and the interviews I have conducted as part of that program. Stay tuned later this month for a summary blog post focusing on my internship experience and what I have learned from talking with SRM members this semester.

After the business meeting, CSSRM and HPP reconvened together for the day’s symposia. Talks during the meeting covered a broad range of topics, from defining habitat to the effects of pine beetles on Colorado’s forests, and from riparian area habitat management to the effects of CRP on wildlife habitat.
One of my favorite talks was “The Wisdom Body: Nutrition, Health, and Nature’s Pharmacoepia.” Dr. Fred Provenza focused on the ways that animals—and people, too—learn to eat various foods based on their culture and the primary and secondary compounds found in them. It was an interesting and unique talk in defense of his assertion that natural landscapes serve as nutrition centers and pharmacies for both herbivores and those who eat them.

Another great talk, "Ranching for Wildlife, or What's Good for Livestock is Good for Wildlife" was given by rancher Kelley Bater. In it, he focused on the livestock improvements he has made on his own ranch and how developing for livestock helps wildlife, as well. It was an interesting perspective on an important topic!

The award presentations at the Wednesday night banquet recognized some outstanding people such as the recipients of the Excellence in Rangeland Conservation award, the LeValley family of Hotchkiss. See some of the management practices being implemented on LeValley ranch here.

The highlight of the evening for many was John Fielder’s visually striking presentation of his new photography book, Ranches of Colorado. For the book, John traveled all over the state of Colorado, photographing fifty ranches in order to capture the open space and habitat that ranches provide.

Overall, the Colorado Section helped host an excellent section meeting. I gained a great deal from both the meeting content and the chance to speak with many of the section members. Thank you, Colorado Section, for this introduction to another portion of your beautiful state! I can’t wait to visit again soon!

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