November 2016
Brad Austin (NRLI Class XV) and Meghan Austin led Class XVI Fellows on a tour of their dairy, Cindale Farms, in Marianna, Florida. Photo by Jon Dain.
Director's Corner
Jonathan Dain

Reaching Out
I was out of state traveling last week. It was an interesting trip, particularly in terms of post-election timing. In airports and on campuses, at hotels and in communities, people were clearly wary as they mingled in hotel breakfast rooms, airport terminals, and other public spaces. There were furtive glances and downcast eyes as if people were thinking, "I wonder who he voted for?" "Is she a good person or a bad person?" "Is it o.k. to be openly happy?" "Is it be openly upset?". Signs and posted comments in three different states depicted despair or elation, pain or joy. Division. There was nothing in between.

I have now voted in 10 presidential elections and recognize that all have been preceded and followed by a certain level of polarization; this year is different. In places where nobody knew me, I felt an undercurrent of tension and exhaustion. As I read assignments from graduate students in a class I teach on communication and leadership, I was met with tormented postings about upcoming Thanksgiving dinners and family gatherings. "I don't know what to do." Us vs. them; them vs. us. We have forgotten what we have in common.

NRLI is about engaging diverse perspectives in managing and protecting natural resources for the benefit of all, now and in the future. Important decisions will be made in the coming years that will have a significant impact on our natural environment and, by extension, economic and cultural resources. Our children and grandchildren will soon be among 9 billion others on the planet, all requiring fresh water, sufficient food, clean air, and a safe place to live. Few of these needs will be fulfilled if we do not make the effort to "work across the aisle" and to engage a broad array of citizens, businesses, and institutions. We cannot and will not meet our responsibility to "tend to the garden" if we do not consider the needs of rural and urban, old and young, rich and poor, black, white, brown, and everything in between; the entire spectrum of our population. Behind these terms that divide us are regular people like you and me, individuals and groups making decisions and doing the best they can. We all want to feel safe; we all want to be respected; we all want to feel that things are fair.

The exaggerated schisms being experienced right now are pulling us apart like two sides of a suddenly active fault. History tells us that extreme division does not lead to wise decisions. That is why we need to engage the ideas of as many as possible in decision-making as we fight passionately for what we believe and to seek common ground, even with those we may dislike. Our country's founders recognized the need to encourage negotiation and balance power. They passionately argued and together created a system of checks and balances that would help us weave together a plan for the many.

So what does this have to do with NRLI? With you? Here in Florida, NRLI alumni are uniquely poised to help thaw the chilling climate of polarization. We come from many different communities and many different points of view. But we all know that those whose ideas and lives are different from ours have much to offer that can make our own ideas and communities better. We know because we spent 8 intense months getting to know people we might have ordinarily ignored or mistrusted. We learned how to build relationships and bridge differences, to uncover the common interests; rarely has there been a greater need for such skills.

This is a call to step up, to use your positions, skills, and contacts to push for and practice inclusive decision-making regardless of ideology. Fight for what you believe in by reaching out. It is more effective to shake a hand than to push one away.
In This Issue
Quick Links

Fellows tour Cindale Farms (top) and J&G Farms (bottom) Photos by Jon Dain.

 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 .
In this issue...

Natural Resources Focus: Agriculture & water quality: Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) in Jackson Blue Springs and Suwannee River Basins

Curriculum Focus: Values, perceptions, and applying principled negotiation practices
Session 3 Fellows' Article
Meredith Moreno & Jason Mathis
Class XVI Fellow Spotlight
Patrick Walsh & Amy Castaneda

  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.