December 2016
Photo by Erika Zambello.
Director's Corner
Jonathan Dain

A critical mass?
There is something I would like to highlight regarding this year's NRLI sessions. It is not apparent without close examination, but it is exciting to consider. True, we hired a talented new project team member, Wendy-Lin Bartels, after the irreplaceable Bruce Delaney retired and, yes, we updated the curriculum a bit, but I refer to something else.  
As NRLI has grown, so has its ability to tap into the experiences of its alumni. Recent classes in particular have increasingly benefitted from alumni knowledge, connections, and support. If you are a Class XVI Fellow, you may notice that this year EVERY session involves NRLI alumni -- yes, every one. The session on expansion of Port Everglades was made possible by alumni. Airboats on Rodman Reservoir -- only because alumni arranged it. A custom tour of a Florida panhandle dairy -- it would not have happened without dedicated and connected alumni. And the November session's 3-hour visit (including an unforgettable swamp-buggy tour) to Picayune Strand, a restricted access Everglades restoration site -- yes, again, alumni made it possible. Each month, NRLI Fellows get in depth personalized tours and the inside stories behind places and issues. People speak to our group because they know and trust our alumni. And our alumni help out because they want to share a behind the scenes view of their important work.
Help from talented NRLI grads in organizing compelling sessions is not a new phenomenon, but perhaps we have arrived at a tipping point. To a certain extent, NRLI is starting to reach a critical mass; regardless of the issue, it seems an alumna/alumnus is either directly or tangentially involved. In January, we will be in Key West; in February, Crystal River; and in March, St. Augustine. We'll be looking at marine protected areas, the Florida manatee, and sea level rise, respectively, and all three sessions will involve alumni with intimate knowledge of the issues, places, and stakeholders. The Class XVII (2017-18) sessions will also be supported by alumni at every turn (see complete schedule at ). There are currently 276 NRLI graduates around the State of Florida, and when class XVI graduates in April 2017, there will be close to 300. Over the next three years, one of our top priorities is to better engage with alumni and to strengthen the network as encouraged by the NRLI Alumni Association. 
As the new year approaches, we want to sincerely thank all the alumni and supporters of NRLI. Thank you to those at the University of Florida who provide administrative support to our program. Thank you to those who help with sessions, who contribute to our vitally important endowments, who help with recruiting and work hard to manage and care for Florida's citizens, institutions, and natural resources. It is such important work. NRLI needs your continued generosity and dedication.
"The Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute seeks to impact decision making in Florida by creating a network of professionals with members in every county and across all natural resource sectors who can effectively address natural resource issues through collaborative leadership and conflict management."
We are not yet there, but we are making progress; YOU are making progress. Please keep in touch and let us know what you are up to.
Happy holiday season to all!

In This Issue
Quick Links

Picayune Strand Restoration Site. Photos by Erika Zambello.

Recruiting: Class XVII (2017-2018) 
 Alumni--please spread the word within your agencies/organizations/communities that NRLI is currently accepting applications for Class XVII (2017-2018).

We hope that you will nominate individuals who would benefit from and have an interest in NRLI. In addition to including a broad array of organizations in each cohort, one of our goals this year is to maximize diversity--across ages, genders, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds. Please keep this in mind as you suggest applicants.

For more information, including a complete schedule and application instructions, go to .
 Picayune Strand
In this issue...

Natural Resources Focus: Everglades Restoration in Progress

Curriculum Focus: Designing Effective Meetings & Group Decision-making Processes
Session 4 Fellows' Article
Katie Hallas & Courtney Davis
Class XVI Fellow Spotlight
Matthew Wegener, Courtney Davis, & Phillip Stokes

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.
Save the date: UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics Department presents the 2nd Annual Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference

Thursday, February 9, 2017, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Wimauma, Florida

Learn more at the conference website: