Focus on range SRM meeting in CaliforniaWritten by Saige Albert
Sacramento, Calif. – On Jan. 31, members of the Society for Range Management (SRM) gathered in Sacramento to celebrate “Managing Diversity,” the theme of their 2015 annual meeting.
During the meeting, range scientists, students, agency officials and more gathered to discuss the latest research related to range management and recognize their counterparts for their achievements over the past several years.
“It was a pretty good meeting overall,” says Brian Mealor, immediate past president of the Wyoming Chapter of SRM. “There were close to 1,200 people there, which was up from last year.”
Of those 1,200, approximately 30 percent of attendees were students presenting their work and competing in various contests.
Additionally, Mealor notes that the focus on the event, managing for diversity in rangelands, was a topic on the forefront of range management that was exemplified with the California setting.
“The focus was on managing for diversity in rangelands and understanding the diverse systems, goods and services that rangeland ecosystems provide, which fit well with California,” he says. “They are probably one of the most ecologically diverse states in the country. It was a good meeting.”
As with most national meetings, attendees had the chance to learn about the up-and-coming issues in the industry, as well as to hear the latest research being conducted around the country.
“It seems like there was a continued emphasis on the issues that we have focused on over the last few years,” Mealor says. “We looked at sage grouse, wild horses and invasive species.”
Mealor also mentions that a growing emphasis on energy development was seen through the organization.
“The organization is beginning to recognize the importance of energy development,” he explains. “We have known about it for a while, but as an organization, we are starting to actively engage in that process.”
Also at the meeting, SRM presented Terry Booth, a retired rangeland scientist who worked at the Agricultural Research Service in Cheyenne for many years, with their Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award.
Booth was also presented the Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award by the Wyoming Section of SRM at their November meeting, as well.
“The Sustained Lifetime Achievement Award is one of the highest honors the SRM presents,” Mealor comments, “and Terry really deserves the award. He has done a little bit of everything.”
In his nomination letter, Mealor wrote, “Terry embodies the spirit of the Society for Range Management.”
Booth became involved with SRM as a student and continued his service since the early 1970s.
“I have known Terry since my career in range science began in 2001 and have found his insightful leadership, precise approach to science and thoughtful advising of young range scientists and managers reflective of his outstanding character as a person,” Mealor continues. “His pioneering work on reclamation of disturbed rangelands, rangeland monitoring methodology and general rangeland ecology have furthered our understanding of how rangelands function and has informed us on how we can better manage the products and service they provide to the world.”
“Dr. Booth’s service at both the section and parent society levels of SRM are well-documented,” he added. “Terry has proven time and again that he is dedicated and committed to his profession and his professional society.”
“The mission of the Society for Range Management is made successful through efforts of people like Terry Booth,” adds nominators John Likins and Charles Fifield. “We both believe Terry’s efforts in advancing the use of this new technology will help advance the art and science of rangeland management.”
The University of Wyoming also sent 12 undergraduate students to the event to compete in a handful of contests. Five graduate students also presented their research during the event.
University of Wyoming students took third place in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam (URME) and fourth place with their student chapter display.
Additionally, Jessica Windh, BJ Bender and Kelsey Welter received third place in the Rangeland Cup event.
“We had good representation at all levels,” Mealor notes.