Renewable Natural 

Resources Foundation

Conference on Agency Personnel Trends,  Budget Stringencies, Challenges to Higher Education, and

Evolving Roles of Natural Resources Agencies

In association with

American Association for the Advancement of Science

October 28-29, 2003
AAAS Headquarters
Washington, D.C.

With support from

U.s. Geological Survey

National oceanic and atmospheric administration

USDA Forest Service

Introduction        Program        Program committee        figures

As increasing numbers of employees become eligible to retire, federal and state agencies are losing institutional memory and having difficulties in maintaining core scientific competencies. Some changes in government's role are occurring by default and omission—without discussion and deliberation about agency missions and priorities. Other changes are deliberate and reflect the view that less government is better, even when it comes to managing and conserving the nation's natural resources and sustaining its environmental integrity. These challenges to government's role are occurring as the number of stakeholders is increasing, management is becoming more complex, resource use is rising, and science knowledge grows. An energetic and sustained outreach program to the public is desperately needed. "Resource national security" is at risk.

Compounding these demographic shifts and challenges to government's role, new fiscal stringencies are seriously threatening natural resources and science programs. Universities and professional and scientific societies must respond by aggressively supporting essential natural resources programs, and by assuring that newly educated professionals and scientists will be available. Partnerships engaging all parties are essential in assuring that natural resources conservation and management remains a priority.

A Clearinghouse of Reactions and Activities has been established. Informational items from RNRF member organizations and other professional, scientific, and educational organizations are highlighted. Organizations and individuals are invited to utilize these items to support a vigorous role for the federal government in natural resources stewardship, science and research, and to raise public and policymaker awareness of critical issues facing the nation's natural resources.

Click here to download the congress report.

Robert Robinson
General Accounting Office
Shere Abbott
Max Stier
Partnership for Public Service
John Gordon
Yale University and Interforest LLC
Robert Ridky
U.S. Geological Survey
John Kusano
USDA Forest Service
Marlene Kaplan
Thomas Casadevall
U.S. Geological Survey

Panel: How Should Educational Institutions Respond?

Pictured (left - right):
Margaret Davidson (NOAA),
Michael Orbach (Duke Univ.),
 Margaret Cavanaugh (National Science Foundation),
Michael DeLuca (Rutgers Univ.), and
Jo Ellen Force (Univ. of Idaho)


October 28, 2003

8:00 am - 8:45 am    
Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:45 am - 8:55 am    
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Albert A. Grant, RNRF Chairman & Conference Program Committee Co-Chair
Sherburne B. Abbott, Chief International Officer and Director, Center on Science & Technology and Sustainable Development, American Association for the Advancement of Science
8:55 am - 9:00 am    
Conference Context, Structure and Process
Robert D. Day, RNRF Executive Director

Introduction of Speakers
Margaret A. Davidson, RNRF Board Member, Conference Program Committee Co-Chair, and Director, Coastal Service Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
9:00 am - 9:25 am    
Federal & State Agencies Workforce Demographics: Emerging Trends
Robert Robinson, Managing Director, Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. General Accounting Office
[PowerPoint Presentation]

9:25 am - 9:45 am    
9:45 am - 10:05 am    
Conservation Sciences in Federal & State Agencies
Sherburne B. Abbott, Director, AAAS Center on Science & Technology and Sustainable Development
[PowerPoint Presentation]

10:05 am - 10:25 am    
10:25 am - 10:45 am    
10:45 am - 11:05 am    
Reflection on the Causes of These Trends
Max Stier, President, Partnership for Public Service
[PowerPoint Presentation]
11:05 am - 11:25 am    
11:25 am - 11:55 am    
What is the Role of Government in Conservation and Management of Natural Resources?
John C. Gordon, Pinchot Professor Emeritus and former Dean, School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, Yale University, and Chairman, Interforest LLC
[PowerPoint Presentation]

11:55 am - 12:35 pm    
12:35 pm - 1:35 pm    
1:35 pm - 2:35 pm    
Case Studies: How Are Federal Agencies Responding to These Trends?
Robert Ridky, Education Program Coordinator, Office of the Director, U.S. Geological Survey
[PowerPoint Presentation]
John Kusano
, Assistant Director of Human Resources Management, USDA Forest Service
[PowerPoint Presentation]
Marlene Kaplan
, Director, Office of Education and Sustainable Development, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
[PowerPoint Presentation]
2:35 pm - 3:05 pm    
3:05 pm - 3:25 pm    
3:25 pm - 3:55 pm    
How Should Educational Institutions Respond? (In order from left to right)
Moderator: Margaret A. Davidson, Director, NOAA Coastal Service Center
Michael Orbach
, Director, Marine Laboratory, Nichols School of the Environment, Duke University
Margaret Cavanaugh
, Office of the Director, National Science Foundation
[PowerPoint Presentation]
Michael DeLuca
, Institute of Marine and Coastal Science, Rutgers University
[PowerPoint Presentation]
Jo Ellen Force
, Head, Department of Forest Resources, University of Idaho
3:55 pm - 4:25 pm    

October 29, 2003:   

8:30 am - 9:00 am    
Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:30 am    
What Skill Sets are Agencies Looking for in Their Employees?
Thomas J. Casadevall, Central Region Director, U.S. Geological Survey
[PowerPoint Presentation]   

9:30 am - 10:00 am    
10:00 am - 10:05 am    
Explanation of Working Group Procedures
Ryan M. Colker, RNRF Director of Programs
10:05 am - 10:25 am    
10:25 am - 11:35 am    
Working Group Session I
Working Group Chairs:
    Joyce Berry, Colorado State University
    John Gordon
, Interforest LLC
    Robert Ridky
, U.S. Geological Survey
    David Trauger
, Virginia Tech

Working Group Recorders:
    Bruk Burhane, George Washington University
    Ayala Peled
, RNRF Intern
    Margaret Sealey
, University of Maryland
    Elvin Yuzugullu
, George Washington University
11:40 am - 12:40 pm    
Working Group Session II
12:40 pm - 1:40 pm    
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm    
Working Group Session III
2:45 pm - 3:05 pm    
3:05 pm - 4:05 pm    
Working Group Session IV
4:05 pm - 4:35 pm    
Overview and Summary


Program committee

Margaret Davidson, RNRF Public Interest Board Member
Albert Grant, RNRF Public Interest Board Member

Sherburne Abbott, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Deen Boe, Society for Range Management
Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Soil and Water Conservation Society
Ryan Colker, RNRF Director of Programs
Robert Day
, RNRF Executive Director
Luke Forrest, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
John Kusano, USDA Forest Service
Kenneth Lanfear, American Water Resources Association
Kirk Maconaughey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Robert Ridky, U.S. Geological Survey
David Trauger, Virginia Tech
Cara Woodson Welch, American Society of Landscape Architects


From presentation of Robert Robinson, Managing Director, Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. General Accounting Office.

Compiled by Terry Sharik and Kathy Earley, Department of Environment and Society, College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, October 22, 2003.
[National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges; Includes degree programs in natural resources, forestry and wildlife, environmental studies, and applied ecology.]

Introduction        Program        Program Committee        Figures