Leadership Note, January 9, 2018
--- As we embark on a New Year, I am challenging us all to improve our service
--- to each other within our Region/Area, with other agencies under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and with our partners and the communities we serve
--- so we can continue to provide the best customer service to the American people.
In a January 2, 2018, message, Secretary Perdue introduced a broad vision of OneUSDA, where all agencies under USDA act as a team working towards the same goals. It involves increased collaboration across USDA agencies in order to identify synergies and provide better services to the public. Customer service shapes everything we do under OneUSDA and it's a great goal that we can all support and get behind. (
Watch the Secretary's message on YouTube.
I will continue to expand on this vision for our Region and Area in the coming months, but I want to emphasize that this concept doesn't mean a change in the name of the Forest Service, signs, symbols, or mission. It does mean a change in how we view ourselves and talk about ourselves with the public. For example, when we are working within our offices or with our external partners, remember that we are supported by a larger USDA team and there is strength in what we can accomplish as a larger team.
This translates into working better together to manage all lands. One example that comes to mind is the
Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership
, where the Forest Service is working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet across the nation. I see the OneUSDA vision as building on efforts like the Joint Chiefs' and exploring others that help us leverage resources.
It is also an opportunity to increase internal collaboration between Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and the Eastern Region (Region 9). For example, the Northeastern Area has strong connections with agencies across the USDA, many of which Region 9 has not engaged with as frequently. The Northeastern Area and Region 9 should use and leverage each other's strengths and relationships when collaborating with other agencies in order to make meaningful connections between public and private lands.
We can also make a concerted effort to familiarize ourselves with the seven
USDA Strategic Goals
and begin to identify ways that we can contribute to them. I encourage all employees to continue to watch for and view the messages from the Secretary that outline Departmental initiatives we will all implement to embody the OneUSDA concept.
As we receive more detailed information on OneUSDA and related policy changes, we will share them with you and continue to discuss what they mean for us and next steps.
As always, we are on this journey together and I'm interested in hearing from you in terms of how we can move forward as OneUSDA. I invite you to share your thoughts via
Leadership Note, December 6, 2017
On October 31, I sent a message to all employees relaying Chief Tony Tooke's
five national priorities
for our work.
I wanted to touch on the third one
--- Promoting shared stewardship by increasing partnerships and volunteerism. This priority is about reaching out to people, from rural to urban communities and everything in between, to engage them in management practices that benefit all lands.
Once we've identified shared goals with our partners and created plans around those goals, we need to enlist involvement. We need to identify ways to inspire people to volunteer time and resources to bring these goals to life and find innovative ways to share successes. We believe that first-hand experience in restoring an area and seeing the benefits of that restoration can inspire lifelong stewardship.
In the East, with 40 percent of the nation's population and the highest concentration of urban interface in the country, we believe our most important asset is people. We excel at developing partnerships and collaborative relationships with local and urban communities, American Indian Tribes, universities, non-government organizations, and State agencies in support of developing more resilient landscapes.
In 2018, we will continue to focus on strategic coordination in programs, actions and partnerships that support restoration and resilience of all lands. Unit activities should advance engagement with new and existing partners and utilize authorities such as Stewardship Contracting, Good Neighbor, and State and Private Forestry Programs to facilitate cooperation whenever possible. Some additional avenues that will allows us to accomplish this are:
- Using the cohesive fire strategy
- Monitoring land use change and evaluating the relationship people have with public lands and other ownerships across the rural-urban continuum
- Capitalizing on and prioritizing strategic work using large landscape scale assessments
- Utilizing State and Private Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Grants
- Leveraging our partnerships with State Forestry Agencies to deliver our Cooperative Forestry Programs
Some of our most important, and lasting partnerships will continue to come from our neighboring States and private landowners. Northeastern Area works each day across 20 States and the District of Columbia to build on these relationships. Field representatives serve as the line officers managing partnerships and activities on the ground, each overseeing an area around one of the three field offices.
In addition, we will focus on capacity building with an emphasis on youth, veterans and other conservation corps through21st Century Conservation Service Corps and Youth Conservation Corps (YCC).
If you would like to learn more about partnership or volunteer programs or have ideas, please contact any of the following:
Region 9 Volunteer & Service Program Coordinator
We are all on this journey together and I'm interested in hearing from you in terms of how we can move forward in increasing shared stewardship on all lands with our partners and volunteers. I invite you to share your thoughts on how we can meet this and the Chief's other priorities via
Area Director, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, and Regional Forester, Eastern Region