Greetings from Clemson, South Carolina! I hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far and is enjoying the winter season and activities. For our northern members, that likely means all different kinds of winter sports; for us folks living in more southern latitudes, it means we can finally do things outside without sweating.
I’d like to introduce myself as the new President of our organization – it’s an honor to be able to serve NAISMA in this capacity. I’m extremely fortunate to be working with a great group of Board members and staff who keep this ship running smoothly.
NAISMA, as an organization, has grown significantly since I first joined the Board of Directors back in 2016. We’ve added staff, acquired the PlayCleanGo program, and grown our membership. The Weed & Pest Free Standards and Certification Program continues to be one of NAISMA’s flagship programs, and outgoing Board member Marsha Watland deserves much credit for getting that program where it currently stands. We have a MOU with the USDA Forest Service and, most recently, a MOU with Wildlife Forever, the National Park Service, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to increase the reach of national invasive species prevention campaigns.
Our annual conference this fall was held in Saratoga Springs, NY, jointly with the New York Invasive Species Research Institute. More than 400 people attended the conference, and the talks, workshops, and field tours highlighted the diverse work being done in invasive species management across the continent. Special thanks to Carrie Brown-Lima for all her work in helping to make this conference special.
Calendars fill up quickly, so be thinking ahead about attending the 2020 annual conference, which will be held on October 6-8 in Whitefish Bay, MT. More details will follow as we get things finalized, but please put these dates on your calendar.
As we move into 2020, look for some changes to our professional development capacities. We have a growing invasive species management webinar series, and we’re working diligently behind-the-scenes to revamp our professional education platform and material. One of NAISMA’s core goals is to serve our diverse membership and provide them with educational opportunities, and we’re confident that the changes we make will do this better in the future.
On the subject of diverse membership – this is one of the major strengths of NAISMA. We have members from all levels of government, academia, non-profits, industry, and others. We have members with a wide range of experience and expertise, all of whom are linked by their desire to manage invasive species and make our continent a better, healthier place. Regardless of your profession or experience, you have something to share. We can all learn from each other, and I hope that in 2020 we can increase communication among members so that we can all act as both teachers and students. I’m always happy to talk with NAISMA members about any concerns you may have. (I’m also interested in hearing about what’s going well!) Feel free to contact me at any time.
Happy Holidays, safe travels, and all the best to you and yours this winter season.