October 2016
Class XVI Fellows on an airboat tour of Rodman Reservoir. Photo by Wendy-Lin Bartels.
Director's Corner
Jonathan Dain

We all have "our Rodman"
In comparison to Port Everglades (the focus of our first session in Ft. Lauderdale), the Rodman Reservoir controversy, at first glance, seems easily digestible. There is a reservoir created by a dam that has altered the course of a river. Some people want to remove the dam and restore the natural flow of the river; others want to retain the dam and preserve the reservoir. This is not by any means a small decision, but a person can walk across the dam structure in less than a minute, and airboats, bass boats, and canoes ply the waters rather than supertankers and cruise ships.

That being said, one set of stakeholders sees a vibrant and stable lake ecosystem teeming with energy and promise. Bald Eagles soar above, while below, the gleaming water teems with bass. The reservoir is an integral part of the community, the economy, and their lives and identities. On the other side, a different set of stakeholders sees a terrible wrong that needs righting. They don't see vibrancy; they see the scars of "crushers" that flattened swaths of forests and the ghost of a river channel hidden beneath a stump-choked pool. Restoring the hidden river and its energy and promise is an integral part of their identity; a different vision of something special.

We chose to learn about the Rodman issue because the size of the dam belies the seriousness of the conflict; it is the kind of conflict often referred to as "intractable." This divisive battle has been alive for decades, complete with charismatic champions, impassioned pleas, secret (and not-so-secret) power plays, and back and forth battles over what will be gained, what will be lost, and whose rights and opinions carry more weight. Missing from the story is a history of constructive dialogue, of opponents seeing each other as people.

There are no simple answers to intractable conflicts which are about more than competing interests; these conflicts involve deep-rooted values, complex relationships, differing interpretations of data, and intense emotion. NRLI Fellows and Project Team members learned about the issues surrounding Rodman Reservoir over the course of three days after which we drove away with lessons learned written in our notebooks. Soon it will seem a distant memory. Yet, as Project Team member Paul Monaghan noted, "We all have our Rodman." As interested parties in the management of Florida's natural resources, each of us has issues that we feel passionately about, that are linked to our values, perceptions, and livelihoods. This can make it difficult to relate to those who see things differently.

What can we do to avoid the trap of intractability in "our own Rodmans"? How can we navigate our emotions, assumptions, biases, and beliefs? As a first step, we at NRLI stress the importance of listening, "seeking first to understand before seeking to be understood*". What do people want and why? What are they feeling and why? When we make the effort to really listen, to first confirm that we "get it," we can build trust, opening the door to dialogue.

What is "your Rodman," and are you seeking first to understand?
*Attributed to Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and to the Prayer of St. Francis: "Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand".
In This Issue
Quick Links

Rodman Reservoir (top) and Kirpatrick Dam (bottom). Photos by Wendy-Lin Bartels.

In this issue...

Natural Resources Focus: Rodman Reservoir

Curriculum Focus: Understanding Natural Resource Disputes
Session 2 Fellows' Article
Margaret Guyette
Class XVI Fellow Spotlight
Walter Cheatham & Audrey Kuipers

  Click here to download a PDF.
Class XVI Fellows
Savanna Barry
Regional Specialized Sea Grant Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Nature Coast Biological Station
Tyler Beck
Snail Kite Conservation Coordinator, Species Conservation Planning Section, Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Amy Castaneda
Water Quality Technician, Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Walter Cheatham
Wildlife Biologist, Ostego Bay Environmental, Inc.
Houston Cypress
President & Artistic Director, Otter Vision, Inc.; Co-Founder, Love the Everglades Movement
Courtney Davis
Florida Vegetable Sales Representative, Speedling, Inc.
Sarah Funck
Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program Coordinator, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Margaret Guyette
Water Resource Data Manager, St. Johns River Water Management District
Katie Hallas
Environmental Administrator, Office of Agricultural Water Policy, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Basil Iannone
Assistant Professor, University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation/Program for Resource Efficient Communities/Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology
Scott Kihei
Law Enforcement Captain, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Audrey Kuipers
Program Manager, Okeechobee Soil and Water Conservation District
Jason Mathis
County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) Program Coordinator, Florida Farm Bureau Federation
Meredith Moreno
Archaeologist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Maddie Southard
Program Manager, Legacy Institute for Nature and Culture (DBA Florida Wildlife Corridor)
Jessica Stempien
Environmental Administrator, Office of Agricultural Water Policy, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Phillip Stokes
Education Specialist, UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education
Donald Voss
Founder/Long-term Strategies, One Florida Foundation, Inc.
Patrick Walsh
Law Enforcement Academy Captain, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Matthew Wegener
Biological Scientist II, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Erika Zambello
Marine Economic and Tourism Development Resource Coordinator, Okaloosa County Tourism and Development Department

Giving Back to NRLI
The NRLI Project Team would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Bruce Delaney on his retirement, June 30, 2016. Bruce is an alumnus of NRLI Class II, the former Executive Director of NRLI, and has been a Project Team member for more than 11 years. Bruce is a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and in his earlier career, he taught high school history, worked on the oil fields in Alaska, owned a fish camp in Cross Creek, Florida, and served terms as Mayor and Commissioner for the City of Gainesville. Bruce has also served on numerous community advisory committees, received community service awards, and chaired over 100 public meetings. A certified mediator, Bruce has mediated over 200 cases and is also the former Director of the USDA Florida Agricultural Mediation Program. He has been a mentor to all of us on the Project Team and we are incredibly thankful to have had him as a colleague and to call him a friend. We cannot express in words our immense gratitude to Bruce for all that he has done to support and nourish NRLI. He has played a central role in bringing the Institute to where it is today--an institute that has trained 276 individuals from 102 organizations and across the state of Florida. In honor of Bruce's many contributions to NRLI, we are extremely pleased to announce the establishment of the NRLI Scholarship Fund. Thanks to early donations, the initial fund amount is $10,000 with the goal of reaching $30,000 in order to establish it as a permanent endowment at the University of Florida. Once the fund reaches endowment status, it will be used to provide scholarship funds to individuals from disadvantaged communities or organizations that would not otherwise be able to financially support their participation in NRLI. Please click here if you would like to contribute to the NRLI Scholarship Fund in Honor of Bruce Delaney.

Recently, Dr. Joe Joyce retired after more than 20 years as the UF/IFAS Senior Associate Vice President. Dr. Joyce is continuing his leadership by creating an endowment to support the NRLI. This endowment will provide partial scholarship support to NRLI participants as well as offer general support to the program. Please click here if you would like to contribute to the General Joe Joyce Family Endowment for Natural Resources Leadership.

  Farm Credit of Florida Agricultural and Natural Resources Leadership Endowment
The Farm Credit of Florida Agricultural and Natural Resources Leadership Endowment was made possible through a generous donation by Farm Credit of Florida and will be used to support scholarships for young farmers (35 years old or younger) participating in the UF/IFAS Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute. Those working in Florida agricultural are an important constituency for the NRLI program and NRLI is proud to have a role in training future leaders of the Agricultural community. The average age for a full-time farmer in the United States is almost 60 years old and young farmers pursuing full- and part-time farming are crucial to the future of the agricultural sector in the State of Florida. Our heartfelt thanks to Farm Credit of Florida as we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership. Please click here If you would like to contribute to the Farm Credit of Florida Agricultural and Natural Resources Leadership Endowment.