May 2017
Congratulations Class XVI!
Photo by Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS Communications.
Director's Corner
Jonathan Dain

This is the last NRLI Newsletter of the 2016-17 academic year. Please allow me to congratulate and welcome back Program Coordinator Jessica Ireland who returns from maternity leave - she was sorely missed!
NRLI celebrated the graduation of 21 Fellows on April 7th, bringing the total number of program alumni to nearly 300. Like all NRLI cohorts, Class XVI was organizationally diverse with representatives from seventeen organizations, including state and federal agencies, non-profits, academia, industry, agriculture, extension, water management districts, county government, and a soil and water conservation district. This diversity means that issues like port dredging, water quality and quantity, endangered species, and the Rodman dam were explored, discussed, and debated from a variety of informed perspectives. The 21 graduates of Class XVI are now part of a network that stretches from Miami in the southeast to Bagdad (Florida) in the northwest.
What does it mean to graduate from NRLI? The word graduate comes from the Latin "gradus" or "step", and the NRLI program could indeed be described as a series of steps. Like those before them, this year's class completed eight intensive three-day sessions. Each session built upon its predecessor and consisted of skills training, living case studies, and conversations with a multiplicity of stakeholders. Each Fellow also completed a ninth step, a practicum project where they applied what they learned to a real issue or project (see descriptions in this issue). The NRLI "steps" are designed to cultivate thoughtful, committed, and humble leaders who strive to listen and effectively engage others. The organizations they work for can expect from them a mindset of joint problem solving and an ability to work with a wide variety of people, situations, and interests.
The next challenge for Class XVI-and for all graduates of NRLI-might be called the tenth step: To maintain and share the mindset and skills they have developed; to continue learning.
Please allow me to share an excerpt of the University of Florida spring commencement address* given by President Dr. W. Kent Fuchs. He eloquently conveys the tenth step challenge.
Graduates, the knowledge and expertise you have honed here will serve you so well. But I want to stress that even though it will be important for you to have the answers, it will be equally important for you to understand when you do not have the answers. It will be important for you to recognize, and even to embrace, the moments when you have more to learn - or when you understand that your answers may be wrong or incomplete. We benefit from knowing what we do not know...For when we know that we know very little, it's easy to believe that others may add to our storehouse. When we're aware that we don't have it all worked out, it's easy to believe that they may have a point. This leads to conversation, learning, understanding and actual progress. For many of you, as you start this next stage, you are going to feel like you know very little...I have every faith that you will quickly get your bearings and realize you are prepared to overcome any challenge...For if you remain willing to embrace your intellectual humility, you will always continue to learn. You will always stay open to other ideas and perspectives - ready to pursue the truths and the triumphs that are only achievable when human beings choose
Humility over hubris ...
Inquiry over insistence ...
And listening over lecturing.
Congratulations Class XVI! And we look forward to meeting Class XVII in August!
In This Issue
Quick Links

NRLI Class XVI Graduation Banquet at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Photos by Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS Communications.

Class XVI Newsletters: Sessions 5-8
Below are links to the remaining Class XVI newsletters; sorry for the delay, and we hope you enjoy.
Class XVII (2017-2018) begins in August. Below is the complete schedule.
We have a full class and are no longer accepting applications; stay posted for a list of Fellows.
August 16-18, 2017
Water Quality & Estuary Health
Ft. Myers
September 13-15, 2017
Fisheries Management: Red Snapper
October 18-20, 2017
Impacts of Sea Level Rise: Threats to Urban Areas
November 15-17, 2017
Wildlife Management: The Florida Black Bear
January 17-19, 2018
Cattle Ranches & Land Easements
February 14-16, 2018
Everglades Restoration & Perspectives from Communities
Western Everglades
March 14-16, 2018
Endangered Springs
April 18-20, 2018
Graduation & Practicum Presentations
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.