June 2018
In this June issue of NRLI News, we are highlighting some of our new program activities and audiences.

NRLI Class XVIII begins in August, and we thought it important to share some of the other ways in which NRLI is working to promote and model collaborative approaches to addressing natural resource issues in the State of Florida.   

NRLI Four-Module Training Programs
In May, NRLI completed two "short course" trainings consisting of four two-day modules conducted over a 5-month period. Twenty-four staff members from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) completed the Effectively Engaging DEP Stakeholders training program, and 16 staff members from the Suwannee River Water Management District and 1 staff member from UF/IFAS Global completed the Leadership, Communication, and Conflict Management training program (see complete participant lists below).
These four-module training programs are a new offering; an opportunity for NRLI to reach additional constituents and provide a shorter, condensed alternative to the 8-month program. The curriculum focus for these modules is:
  • Module 1 - understanding conflict and stakeholders;
  • Module 2 - effective meeting design, facilitation, and challenging group dynamics;
  • Module 3 - gathering information, framing, and field experience; and
  • Module 4 - negotiation, power, and lessons learned.
The 4-module trainings focus on the conceptual and skill-building aspects of the NRLI approach. A natural resource issue focus (including a guest speaker, field trip, and stakeholder interactions) was incorporated into the third session of each training.
For the Effectively Engaging DEP Stakeholders training, we worked with NRLI alumni Carol Lippincott, Leslie Sturmer, Sue Colson, Charles Barrett, Hugh Thomas, and Stacie Greco on a "Mollusks to Melons" watershed tour designed to highlight differing water uses and needs in the region. The tour began in Cedar Key with an overview of the Suwannee River watershed by Carol Lippincott and clam aquaculture by Leslie Sturmer. The group went on a boat tour of the clam leases with Leslie and learned about the Cedar Key Community from Sue Colson. The next day, we drove up-river and toured Jody Land's watermelon farm in O'Brien, learning about Best Management Practices (BMPs) from Charles Barrett and Hugh Thomas. The tour concluded at Fanning Springs where the group met with Stacie Greco and learned about stakeholder engagement in the Santa Fe Springs Protection Forum.
For the Leadership, Communication, and Conflict Management training, Carol Lippincott also helped organize the water quality field experience focused on the Paynes Prairie Sheetflow Restoration Project. Carol provided an overview, highlighting efforts to promote collaboration and manage competing interests as the facilitator of the project. Alice Rankeillor, Stormwater Services Supervising Engineer, City of Gainesville Public Works (formerly with Gainesville Regional Utilities), led the group on a tour of the Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville, a 225-acre constructed treatment wetland, and a major component of the project. Following the tour, the group interacted with stakeholders who were involved in the project via a panel discussion and small group interviews. Stakeholders who participated were:
  • Rick Hutton, Senior Engineer, Gainesville Regional Utilities;
  • Geoff Parks, Nature Operations Supervisor, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, City of Gainesville;
  • Jim Weimer, Biologist (retired), Paynes Prairie State Park;
  • Casey Fitzgerald, Director, Springs Protection Initiative, St. Johns River Water Management District;
  • Chris Bird, Director, Alachua County Environmental Protection Department; and
  • Debbie Segal, President, Alachua Audubon Society
By the end of both programs, we had expanded the NRLI network to include 41 additional natural resource professionals who have learned and practiced skills, including:
  • How to identify the stakeholders and interests in a given situation or conflict;
  • Strategies for constructively engaging internal/external stakeholders and/or team members in problem solving;
  • Listening skills for understanding needs and interests;
  • Tools for designing effective and efficient meetings;
  • Techniques for addressing challenging group and interpersonal dynamics;
  • Principled negotiation; and
  • Issue framing and re-framing.
The NRLI Project Team is evaluating both of the 4-module training programs and considering options for future such offerings. Stay tuned!
In This Issue
Quick Links

Participants: Effectively Engaging DEP Stakeholders Training 

Jennifer Adams,  Operations Review Specialist, Office of Water Policy
Daniel Alsentzer Park Planner, Division of Recreation and Parks
Jason Andreotta,  Assistant Director, Southeast District
Timothy Barr,  Assistant Director, Division of Waste Management
Kelley Boatwright,  Assistant Director, Soutwest District
Jennifer Carpenter,  Assistant Director, South District
Elyssa Finkelstein,  Communications Coordinator, Florida Coastal Office
Emily Forinash,  Nonpoint Source Grant Coordinator, Division of Water Restoration Assistance
Ezell Givens,  Assistant Bureau Chief, District 4, Division of Recreation and Parks
Duncan Graham,  Partnerships Specialist, Office of Operations

Stephanie Gudeman,  Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Division of Water Resource Management
Kevin Jones,  Park Manager, Sebastian Inlet State Park, Division of Recreation and Parks
James Maher,  Assistant Director, Northeast District
Stephen McKeough,  Acquisition Agent, Division of State Lands
Preston McLane,  Deputy Director, Division of Air Management

Anita Nash, 
Environmental Consultant, Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration
Elizabeth Orr,  Assistant Director, Northwest District
Rhapsodie Osborne,  Senior Permit Lead, Office of Ecosystem Restoration
Amy C Phillips,  Senior Acquisition Agent, Division of State Lands
Parks Small,  Assistant Director, Division of Recreation and Parks
Aaron Watkins,  Assistant Director, Central District
Nia Wellendorf,  Environmental Administrator, Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration
Christopher Weller,  Field Compliance Coordinator, Office of Ecosystem Restoration
Aubree Zenone,  Environmental Consultant, Florida Coastal Office
Participants: Leadership, Communication, and Conflict Management Training 

Suwannee River Water Management District

Mary Diaz , Engineer II, Water Use Permitting/Water Well Construction Program
Stefani Weeks, Engineer
Christina Carr, Environmental Scientist IV
Darlene Velez, Water Resource Program Manager
Tim Beach, Environmental Scientist I
Paul Buchanan, GIS Program Manager
Joel Carnow, Solutions and Planning Coordinator
William Irby, Land Management and Operations Technician
Amy Brown, Water Supply Program Manager
David Christian, Professional Engineer
Greg Trotter, Engineer II
Justin Garland, Engineer II
Patrick Webster, Chief Professional Engineer
A. Keith Rowell P.S.M., Land Acquisition/Local Government
Lisa Cheshire, Human Resource Administrator   
UF/IFAS Global

Caroline Staub , Climate information services development, US-based coordinator Feed the Future Haiti - AREA project
As part of the graduation session for both short courses, participants were asked to give a brief, 5-minute presentation on "how you have applied and how you plan to apply the NRLI skills and tools." The presentations were extremely well-thought out and insightful. We'd like to share the thoughts of William (Wri) Irby, Suwannee River Water Management District.

The Takeaway from NRLI
By: W.W. Irby

I love to read and there was once a point in my life when I had time for reading. That time has passed, but I remember thinking after I finished a book, if I learned one thing and retained that knowledge, my time with the book was worthwhile. I feel experiences, like books, can be categorized in the same way. Experiences roll by like words on a page, pages in a chapter, and chapters in a book. The preface, the body, the appendix. What did you learn? Can you retain it? Like reading, experiences are only worthwhile if you learn something and can retain that knowledge. My time at NRLI was a worthwhile experience indeed.

I'm not good at remembering catch phrases, slogans, or acronyms; every one used in this class was torn from the pages of my mind despite the efforts of the binder--"in one ear and out the other," as they say. The technical aspects of how to plan a successful meeting are as scratchy to me as an old wool sweater and as drab and confining as "Roberts Rules of Order." I feel more at home with meetings held under the shade of an old oak, maps stretched out on the hood of a pickup and a tailgate for a conference table. A meeting with a contractor, co-worker, or member of the public. A conversation had; a handshake or nod to confirm sincerity. That is my perspective, but what I learned in NRLI; what I retained in NRLI; the light that switched on in my head at NRLI; the "aha moment" and my take away from NRLI is that others have perspectives too. Perspectives of co-workers, contractors, members of the public, and stakeholders. Why do people feel the way they do? How can I be sympathetic to their needs while still looking out for the needs and interests of the district?

Just the other day, I had a conversation with a man, a resident of our district. Our conversation was about a management activity I was overseeing. The man was sincere, and his voice was thick with concern. We had just completed a timber harvest on one of our tracts of land and I was preparing to rehab our legal easement. No big deal; we do it all the time. We have a right to cut and haul our timber. We have a right to use our easement when and how we want! But, in this case, what we call a legal easement this man calls it by another name; he calls it his driveway. This is his home, a home he loves and tries to protect. For us, a way to extract timber; for him, a cherished route leading to his family's home. Perspective! One man's logging road is another man's driveway. Most of us have heard the saying "There are two sides to every story." But the truth is there are as many sides to the story as there are chapters in a book. NRLI opened my mind and softened my heart to the interests and perspectives of others. I most definitely still "ride for the brand." The district's interests are still my "first priority"; but in carrying out my mission, I now take into account the interests and thoughts of others who may be involved. The NRLI training did this for me, and as a result, made me a better public servant. NRLI helped me realize our district is not comprised of 15 counties. It is not the ownership of over 160,000 acres of land. It is not made up of rivers, lakes, forests, fields, and swamp. No, none of this! The Suwannee River Water Management District is comprised of its people. The people I serve.

Other NRLI 2017-2018 Activities


In addition to the trainings described above, NRLI engaged in numerous other activities of note during the 2017-2018 academic year, many of which involved partnerships with NRLI alumni. Selected examples include:
  • Facilitating the Florida Conservation Partner Summit, convened by the Florida Wildlife Corridor (with Alumna Lindsay Cross);
  • Providing training in facilitation skills to Extension professionals engaged in the new UF IFAS/Extension CIVIC (Community Voices, Informed Choices) initiative (with Alumni Martha Monroe, Jennison Kipp Searcy, Lara Milligan, Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Shannon Carnevale, and Carrie Stevenson); 
  • Facilitating a series of community stakeholder meetings in Cedar Key focused on decisions regarding shoreline erosion control in Daughtry Bay (with Alumna Savanna Barry); and
  • Providing training in tools for effective collaboration at the American Fisheries Society 147th Annual Meeting (with Alumni Chelsea Crandall, Jynessa Dutka-Gianelli, Allen Martin, and Nick Trippel).
Class XVIII (2018-2019)


Welcome Class XVIII Fellows!
We are pleased to announce the Fellows of NRLI Class XVIII (2018-2019). We look forward to meeting you in August in Cedar Key!
Katherine Allen,  County Extension Director; Extension Agent IV-Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension       
Ethan Basore,  Harvest Operations, TKM Bengard Farms LLC
Vanessa Bessey,  Environmental Administrator, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Agricultural Water Policy
Rena Borkhataria,  Research Assistant Professor, Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, Everglades Research and Education Center, University of Florida/IFAS
Hannah Brown,  Communications Manager, PhD Student, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida
Amy Copeland,  Land Management Specialist, St. Johns River Water Management District
Yesenia Escribano,  Environmental Consultant, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Agricultural Water Policy
Cyndi Fernandez,  Assistant Director, Conservation Trust for Florida
Ashleigh Fountain,  Biologist-Planning Technical Lead, Coastal Navigation Section, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
Jay Garcia,  Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Forest Service
Derrell Jones,  Captain, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Catherine Kennedy,  Senior Wildlife Assistance Biologist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
William McKinstry,  Land Management Program Manager, Suwannee River Water Management District
Benjamin Melnick,  Deputy Director, Division of Water Resource Management, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Lourdes Mena,  Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Chad Roberts,  Associate Director of Marketing, Florida Farm Bureau Federation
Brian Scheick,  Assistant Research Scientist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Karen Schlatter,  Associate Director, Colorado River Delta Program, Sonoran Institute
Wesley Seitz,  Public Hunting Areas Biologist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Stacey Simmons,  Environmental Specialist III, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Agricultural Water Policy   
Jessica Sutt,  Wildlife Refuge Specialist, Southwest Florida Gulf Coast Refuge Complex, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lily Swanbrow Becker,  Adaptation Coordinator, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Erica Waller,  Assistant Teacher, Woodland Nature Montessori School
Ashley Williams,  Assistant, Wetland Preserve LLC          
Dates Topic Location
August 22-24, 2018 Coastal Erosion & Resilience Cedar Key
September 26-28, 2018 Endangered Species: The Future of the Florida Panther Immokalee
October 17-19, 2018 Fisheries Management: Red Snapper Destin
November 14-16, 2018 Impacts of Sea Level Rise: Threats to Urban Areas Miami
January 23-25, 2019 Water Quality: Springs & Agriculture Live Oak
February 20-22, 2019 Changing Dynamics in Agriculture & Rural Communities Clewiston
March 20-22, 2019 Wildlife Corridors Keystone Heights
April 10-12, 2019 Graduation & Practicum Presentations Gainesville