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The Leadership Nature Podcast

The Leadership Nature Podcast features one-on-one interviews with diverse leaders from across the forestry and natural resources nation, and it is intended to spread the seeds of leadership insights, lessons learned and personal advice from experienced leaders to current and future generations of natural resource leaders. Each episode also includes a leadership tip of the week from the interviewer.
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Oct 21, 2019

Garth Fisher is the National Training Director of the Wildland Fire Management branch for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Garth also services as the Chair and BIA Representative on the National Wildfire Coordinating Group and he has over 15 years of wildland fire operations and wildland fire management. In this week’s episode, Garth explains a little bit about what the BIA agency does and how they pride themselves on being able to provide ongoing leadership training to their staff. If you’re looking to get started in wildland fire, this is an episode you don’t want to miss!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:10] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:50] A quick intro about Garth’s background.

[2:55] How did Garth first get introduced to this industry?

[7:10] What made Garth pick wildland firefighting?

[10:35] What types of responsibilities does Garth have as the director of fire training?

[12:35] What does the BIA agency do?

[16:45] Garth explains some common ways people get into wildland firefighting.

[17:45] It’s important to set the right expectations for yourself. This is extremely difficult work to do!

[20:25] Garth shares some of the memorable experiences he’s had on the job over the years. 

[22:35] What has Garth learned about people and teams?

[23:50] If you want to move forward, you need to make yourself uncomfortable.

[27:00] Has Garth run into any close calls before?

[30:05] What type of training opportunities are available at BIA?

[35:30] Garth shares some of the good surprises he’s had along the way.

[38:25] What types of mentors has Garth had over the years?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Bia.gov

Oct 9, 2019

Katie Lighthall is the Coordinator for the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy in the Western Region. She assists federal, state, local, and tribal agencies as well as non-governmental organizations so that they can be ready in case of a large fire disaster. When you’re coordinating for multiple agencies, it’s important that everybody is on the same page as quickly as possible. Katie shares her experiences on today’s show and showcases how she got into this field, in the first place!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:10] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:50] A quick intro about Katie’s background.

[3:35] How did Katie first get introduced to this industry?

[8:15] What kind of training do you need to get started in this work?

[11:0] When Katie had her first child, she still wanted to be involved with the fire department, but without taking calls in the middle of the night.

[14:05] Katie explains why we need a national cohesive wildland fire management strategy.

[20:50] Large fires are not handled by local firefighters. When big fires happen, they call state or even federal crews. This means there are multiple agencies coming in to tackle the fire.

[23:50] Everybody has a small part to play when it comes to wildland fire.

[27:25] What is the end-vision for the cohesive strategy?

[32:15] You need to evacuate your home earlier on red-flag warning day if you are caring for someone who has a disability and depends on you. Don’t wait till you receive an evacuation notice. The system is overwhelmed and by the time they get to you, it could be too late.

[36:25] What do leaders need to do better?

[41:15] What is Katie the proudest of about her career?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Fs.fed.us

“California fire forces senior living community evacuations”

Sep 25, 2019

John Miller is the State Wildland Fire Chief for the Virginia Department of Forestry. John is responsible for oversight and state-wide coordination of the agency’s wildfire control, emergency management, and prescribed burning programs. John shares some tips about how you can coordinate with multiple government agencies so that everyone is on the same page when a fire is happening and he shares some close calls he’s gotten while he was in the field.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:15] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:50] A quick intro about John’s background.

[3:15] How did John first get started in forestry?

[11:55] John explains why controlled burns are necessary for longleaf pine trees.

[17:10] How did John rise through the ranks and get the position he is in now?

[22:35] What does John enjoy the most about being in wildland fire?

[26:35] There’s a lot of coordination and collaborative work between agencies when it comes to wildland fire, how does it get all done?

[28:55] You’ve got to build connections between people and agencies long before the fire starts.

[29:20] What kinds of job opportunities are available for those that are interested in wildland fire?

[31:50] What types of qualifications do you need?

[34:30] What types of important leadership lessons has John learned along the way?

[37:25] How does leadership change as you transition into different job roles and leadership positions?

[40:50] John shares some memorable stories and a tale of caution about what you need to be aware of when fighting fire.

[47:25] John shares some advice for those who are looking to get started in wildland fire.

[49:45] What is John most proud of in his career?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Sref.info

Sep 11, 2019

Kristel Johnson is the Support Services Program Leader for the USDA Forest Service. Kristel started her career in 1990 as a temporary firefighter and, later, she attended the Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Academy. Over her career, Kristel has worked in wildland firefighting, fire training, district management, employee relations, human resources, critical instant stress management, and more. In 2006, Kristel served as a family liaison for a fallen colleague and it opened her eyes to how the agency manages tragedy. Find out more in this week’s episode.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:15] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:00] A quick intro about Kristel’s background.

[3:25] How did Kristel first get interested in firefighting?

[5:15] What does Kristel currently do for the USDA?

[7:30] The agency has never really had a program to support colleagues and families of the fallen men and women in this field.

[9:50] Kristel shares how the loss of colleagues and tragedies have affected her over the years.

[12:10] Kristel realized that the agency had a lot more to do in terms of training and education and preparing for tragic incidents.

[17:25] Kristel developed the course, ‘You Will Not Stand Alone’ to help agency members feel more connected to one another and supportive during tragic events that have happened in their community.

[19:55] What’s it like being a wildland firefighter?

[21:25] How can someone get into wildland fire?

[24:00] How can someone specialize or find a specialty in this field?

[24:55] Kristel shares some of the mentors she’s had over the years.

[33:05] What advice does Kristel have for people who are just getting started in their career?

[35:15] What is Kristel most proud of?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Fs.fed.us

Srs.fs.usda.gov

Aug 28, 2019

Robyn Broyles is the Fire Communication and Education Specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the national interagency fire center in Boise, Idaho. In Robyn’s role, she focuses on the accomplishments of the Indian country’s wildland fire management and aviation programs.

Robyn is also a tribal member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Find out more about Robyn and her role with the BIA on this week’s episode!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:10] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:50] A quick intro about Robyn’s background.

[3:40] Robyn shares what she does for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

[8:15] Robyn gives an insightful overview of what the fire management team does.

[12:05] Everything is tightly woven together, you can’t have fire management without timber management, and you can’t have timber management without vegetation management.

[16:20] Has Robyn moved around a lot due to her job?

[20:00] Robyn had to overcome her fear of heights during training.

[24:55] What is the wildland fire community like?

[27:45] How can someone get started in wildland fire?

[31:15] Robyn shares how you can get experience in this field. You don’t have to start from the bottom. The fire community is always looking for mid-level experience!

[34:25] What kinds of challenges has Robyn faced so far in her career?

[38:15] What’s it like being part of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG)?

[41:45] Robyn shares the kinds of mentors she’s had over the years who have made an impact on her.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Bia.gov
Bia.gov/jobs

Nwcg.gov

Aug 14, 2019

Dan Smith is the Fire Director for the National Association of State Foresters. He is the Wildland Fire Representative for 50 states and 8 territories at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. In this role, Dan works collaboratively with the Federal Wildland Fire Directors and serves as a member of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, which provides wildland fire response on a national level. Dan shares leadership advice, some of the challenges the fire community is facing, and so much more!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:10] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:55] A quick intro about Dan’s background.

[3:25] How did Dan first get started in his fire career?

[7:35] Dan shares a little bit of history about NWCG.

[10:55] What are some of the best ways to get qualified in this field?

[14:35] What kind of work is Dan up to these days?

[17:40] Dan shares a little bit about his work history and some of the most memorable moments of his career.

[21:40] What are some of the rewards and challenges of being in wildland fire?

[29:00] Each fire has a lesson learned; how does Dan transfer those lessons into practical training for his team?

[31:45] Where is the direction that the fire community is going and what additional challenges has the community come across, over the years?

[35:00] Getting communities educated about forest health is an uphill climb.

[37:50] Dan offers some leadership advice, wisdom, and tips.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Nifc.gov

Nwcg.gov

Stateforesters.org

Jul 31, 2019

Brian Pisarek is the Advanced Wildlife Instructor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and he is also the Structured Fire Chief for the City of Aitkin, Minnesota. Brian has a B.S. in Forestry and has an extensive list of fire qualifications, too! In today’s episode, Brian shares a little bit about how to keep yourself safe during a wildland fire, how to best manage family expectations when you’ve got to abruptly cancel plans to fight a fire, and so much more!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:15] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:50] A quick intro about Brian’s background.

[3:30] How did Brian first get started in his fire career?

[7:15] Be hungry for new opportunities.

[8:00] Firefighting is dangerous work; how does Brian manage the expectations of his friends and family?

[10:00] Brian has had a few close calls when it comes to fighting fire. It’s important to stay up-to-date with safety information and listen closely to your safety officer.

[10:50] What kind of work does Brian do now?

[11:35] What’s unique about the firefighting community?

[12:55] How can young and aspiring professionals get started in this career?

[14:40] Communication is what clogs the system. A good leader needs to know how to communicate clearly and effectively.

[18:35] What’s the difference in the work environment when it comes to wildland fire vs. structured fire?

[20:35] What kinds of mentors has Brian had over the years?

[22:45] How does the fire community manage their work/life balance?

[26:20] What is Brian most proud of about his career?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Dnr.state.mn.us

Jul 24, 2019

Will Novy-Hildesley is the Executive Director of the North American Forest Partnership (NAFP), a diverse set of people and organizations who are passionate about the future of forests. NAFP is also the driver of #forestproud, where they collect stories from all over the world of what the forest means to individuals and natural resource professionals. Find out more about what NAFP is doing and how you can get involved in their amazing work in this week’s episode!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:00] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:40] A quick intro about Will’s background.

[3:40] How did Will first get into natural resources?

[7:15] There aren’t many sectors where people are so passionate about what they do that they stay with one company throughout their entire career.

[10:25] People are losing touch with their natural environment and there are consequences to that.

[11:00] Human beings are meant to spend time in nature.

[11:50] Will shares the differences he has noticed between the U.S. and the UK.

[17:25] How did the North American Forest Partnership (NAFP) first get started?

[24:50] How does the #forestproud platform connect with NAFP?

[30:15] Everyone has an answer when it comes to what makes them proud about being in forestry.

[35:25] Will explains how to develop content that works.

[42:55] Will is very proud of his team and shares a little bit more about what they are up to.

[45:15] How can people get involved with #forestproud?

[48:15] What makes Will #forestproud?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Forestproud.org

Usendowment.org

Will on LinkedIn

Jul 17, 2019

Buddy Huffaker is the Board President and Executive Director for Aldo Leopold Foundation, a non-profit conservation organization located in Wisconsin. Buddy is very proud to be part of the Aldo Leopold Foundation,  an organization he joined over 20 years ago as an intern. In today’s episode, Buddy shares a little bit about how the foundation got started, what exciting new things the foundation is working on right now, and how students can get involved in its exciting projects!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:00] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:40] A quick intro about Buddy’s background.

[3:10] What got Buddy interested in natural resources?

[6:40] How did Buddy get started with the Aldo Leopold Foundation?

[9:25] Buddy shares a bit about the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s history and what they do.

[11:25] The Aldo Leopold Foundation is celebrating their 70 year anniversary of the A Sand County Almanac book!

[14:25] What projects is the Aldo Leopold Foundation focused on right now?

[19:40] Are you mentoring young professionals? Let them know about the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s programs!

[24:00] What leadership advice does Buddy have for young professionals?

[29:30] What is Buddy’s team like?

[32:25] What advice does Buddy have about leadership when it comes to his team?

[35:35] Part of buddy’s job is to help teach his staff how to say no to things!

[40:15] Partnerships are critical for any NGO, but what makes a good partnership succeed?

[46:30] Buddy offers ways you can support the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

[48:30] What is Buddy most proud of, so far?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Aldoleopold.org

Future Leaders Program

Mywisconsinwoods.org

Dnr.wi.gov

Jul 3, 2019

Chris Joe is an NRCS District Conservationist and a landowner in Alabama. He is a Fourth-Generation African American landowner and he raises cattle on his land. However, through tapping into the NRCS resources, he’s found out how to maximize his land by providing bird and nature tours! The NRCS has a wide range of resources that not many people are aware of and on today’s episode, Chris shares some of these amazing and fantastic resources today.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:35] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about Chris’s background.

[4:40] How did Chris get into cattle farming?

[6:35] Chris explains the definition of ‘black belt’ and how it relates to the soil.

[9:30] What kind of work ethic did Chris learn while working on the farm?

[12:15] Chris shares a bit of his family history.

[15:25] How has Chris been able to diversify his land?

[21:20] NRCS has SO many resources for landowners!

[24:05] Chris has people from all over the states coming to his land to watch birds. He never knew that would be possible without the help of forestry professionals.

[25:55] Chris keeps a journal for his farm. It’s helped him tremendously keep track of the history of the farm!

[30:25] What’s next for Chris and his farm?

[35:55] Chris shares a bit about his educational journey on how he got into farming and conservation.

[42:40] You don’t want to go on to somebody’s farm and tell them what they have to change. It will rub them the wrong way. You’ve gotta do a bit of pre-work first to build trust.

[52:15] The NRCS has a lot of available resources and programs for landowners who might not be able to afford it, too.

[59:15] Chris loves being able to partner with the community and teach them practical lessons on how to efficiently use the land.

[1:03:25] Another resource that the NRCS teaches is about game hunting on your property; what’s legal and what’s not legal to do.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

High Tunnel System Initiative

Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours on Twitter

Jul 3, 2019

Elaine Snowberger kicks off this new season of Leadership Nature. In this season, Tom will be featuring up-and-coming forestry and natural resource students to share their educational experiences. Elaine shares some of the benefits of joining a forestry club, why she loves being part of the Clemson University family, and shares tips on how she scored her first forestry position!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:15] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:55] A quick intro about Elaine’s background.

[3:10] What got Elaine interested in forestry?

[6:55] Elaine shares what her experience at the Clemson forestry club was like.

[9:45] Elaine was elected treasurer of the club, then she went on to be vice president, and then president of the club.

[10:10] At the club, Elaine mainly did crosscut events.

[12:00] What are some of the benefits of being in the forestry club?

[16:20] Elaine loves being part of the Clemson family.

[20:35] Elaine shares how she found her first job in forestry.

[23:10] What advice does Elaine have for new students?

[24:50] Don’t be afraid to job shadow industry professionals!

[26:45] Elaine has made a good impression in being seen as a leader to her peers.

[29:45] What were some of the most memorable courses Elaine had in school?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Clemson University

Hardwoodweb.com

Eforester.org

Jun 26, 2019

John Littles is the Executive Director for Mcintosh Sustainable Environment Economic Development. He provides technical assistance to grassroots organizations and asset-based economic development, food systems, education systems, land preservation and retention, and so much more! In his role, John has generated over $8 million dollars in funding for the organization and works as an outreach provider for the United States Department of Agriculture for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. On the show, John shares his expertise and experience working with landowners in rural communities!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:35] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about John’s background.

[4:15] How did John get started in this field?

[9:50] John relies heavily on volunteers and partnerships to help keep these community projects going.

[10:35] What lessons has John learned about leading volunteers?

[12:15] How did John first find out about the SFLR program and how has it helped the community so far?

[14:45] By introducing diversity into the forestry industry, it has helped make an impact in the communities John and his team serve in.

[15:25] John shares an example of how he helps landowners with their property.

[17:30] How has John been able to build trust in the community?

[19:20] The landowner always comes first!

[19:45] What kind of partnerships has John been able to develop, so far?

[20:40] John is in the third year of phase one for the SFLR program. What will phase two look like?

[21:40] How have John and his team made the transition from serving people on a local front to a national front?

[24:25] John shares a story about a young landowner he was able to help.

[27:25] Trust takes time to build but once it’s built, you can really move mountains with it.

[31:10] Can John help people clean up their title and getting ahold of the property’s farm number?

[33:20] Why is this work so important to John?

[34:40] What kind of advice does John have for landowners?

[36:45] John shares his final thoughts about the importance of educating rural African American communities.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Danielle Atkins on Leadership Nature

Forestfoundation.org

Jun 19, 2019

Yvonne Knight-Carter and Eleanor Cooper-Brown are both sisters and the owners of Broadaxe Branch Partners. Their property goes back almost 150 years and they are proud to be connected to the land once again. Both successful in their respective careers, Yvonne and Eleanor are taking on the task to make their land sustainable and to help educate the community about the free land management resources that are available to them. Do not be afraid to go into the USDA’s office to ask for what you need!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about Yvonne’s and Eleanor’s background.

[6:00] Yvonne shares her journey and how she found her family land.

[13:45] Vconne and Eleanor’s family farm was visited by the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.

[17:15] Eleanor shares her journey and how she found her family land.

[24:05] Yvonne shares a bit more of the history of the land.

[35:35] The sisters have such an emotional tie to the land.

[37:00] When did Yvonne and Eleanor get their first forest management plan?

[38:25] Did the sisters have any challenges with transferring the title into their names?

[41:00] The Center of Heirs Property has free will-creation services for community members.

[45:00] What advice do Yvonne and Eleanor have for other landowners?

[55:50] How has their purpose in life changed since taking on this property?

[1:00:00] Eleanor is very proud to call this property home and wants to pass it down for their children.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Heirsproperty.org

Jun 12, 2019

Lillian “Ebonie” Alexander is the Executive Director of the Black Family Land Trust, one of the United States’ only conservation land trusts dedicated to the conversation, preservation, and protection of African American and other historically underserved landowner assets. Ebonie and her team host regular workshops in the community to educate and share the importance of keeping land within the family. Find out more about Ebonie’s important work on this week’s show!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about Ebonie’s background.

[3:35] How did the Black Family Land Trust first get started?

[5:35] What did Ebonie do before joining BFLT?

[9:55] What does the BFLT do and how do they help African American landowners?

[14:50] What is the definition of a land trust?

[16:15] Ebonie explains who typically needs and uses their services.

[19:50] What is “heirs’ property”?

[21:50] Why does Ebonie recommend against doing land petitions?

[25:45] Many next-generation landowners don’t want to own farmland due to its slavery ties.

[30:40] How does Ebonie educate the community on the benefits of owning land?

[33:10] Ebonie explains the important partnerships she has built over the years.

[39:15] Ebonie shares a client success story!

[46:45] Ebonie shares some final thoughts about the importance of keeping the land within the family.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Bflt.org

Ebonie on LinkedIn

Dof.virginia.gov

Vdacs.virginia.gov

Jun 5, 2019

Evette Browning is the Outreach Coordinator for the Department of Agriculture in Arkansas. She provides educational resources for African American landowners to help them get the support they need to take over their land and turn it into an asset, not a liability. On the show, Evette shares the types of barriers landowners have historically faced and how people in the community can help people just like her to get the word out.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:25] A quick intro about Evette’s background.

[3:40] How does Evette support the SFLR program?

[6:40] What are some of the things Evette can help landowners with?

[8:35] Evette shares some success stories about some people she’s worked with.

[11:15] What kinds of barriers have landowners faced?

[17:25] In the past, African American landowners would use their word as their formal document and would not use wills or estate plans.

[21;05] What advice does Evette have for landowners?

[23:30] How do landowners find Evette services?

[27:05] Where can people go to find SFLR resources?

[28:55] How can natural resource professionals help landowners?

[37:15] How can people help Evette make her job more effective?

[41:10] Landowners, take advantage of this opportunity while it’s still available!

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Arkforests.org

Evette on LinkedIn

Arwomeninag.org

May 29, 2019

Fahamisha Amkajinaki grew up in New Jersey but has returned back to her grandfather’s land in North Carolina to better understand and honor the tough efforts he went through to keep it. Fahamisha has leveraged resources in her community like the SFLR program to better understand the land and use it to its full potential. Find out what legacy Fahamisha wishes to build on the family land on this week’s episode.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:25] A quick intro about Fahamisha’s background.

[3:55] How did Fahamisha get reconnected to her grandfather’s land?

[7:35] What was the transition first like from going to a cement jungle to an actual jungle?

[11:35] Fahamisha didn’t realize how divorced she was from mother nature until she came to the family farm.

[13:05] Fahamisha shares a bit of the land’s history.

[16:15] What are Fahamisha’s goals for the property?

[24:35] Fahamisha wonders why schools in her rural community are not teaching children about nature-related topics like forestry and the environment that they’re constantly exposed to.

[28:45] How did Fahamisha first discover/get started in the SFLR program?

[39:35] Fahamisha completely understands why so many African Americans landowners are cautious to work with outsiders.

[44:00] How does Fahamisha educate her siblings and family members about the land?

[55:30] Fahamisha is so happy she came back to the land and was able to use the free resources and wisdom from experts in her community.

[57:15] What advice does Fahamisha have for other landowners?

[1:00:55] Don’t understand something at a workshop? Go again. There’s no shame in taking it all in once, twice, three times, or more.

[1:04:15] Your ancestors went through A LOT to keep that land, so honor them by understanding why and getting back in touch with it.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Owpg-inc.com

Roanokeelectric.com

May 22, 2019

Ann English is a State Conservationist for the NRCS in South Carolina. She first began her career as an agronomist and soil conservationist. With over 26 years of experience as a conservationist, she is proud to work on the SFLR program and to help landowners navigate this sometimes confusing and very new industry. On the show, Ann shares the important work NRCS is doing to help guide landowners down the right path so that their land never becomes a burden to them.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:25] A quick intro about Ann’s background.

[4:00] How did Ann first get started in agronomy?

[8:10] Ann shares how she first got introduced to SFLR.

[14:00] What other services does the NRCS provide to landowners?

[21:55] Ann shares a story of how the NRCS was able to help a landowner who recently inherited some heirs property.

[22:55] What stops a landowner from reaching out for help?

[27:35] The fourth generation doesn’t have the same connection to the land as we do because they didn’t grow up near the land. They do not have the same fond memories as we do.

[29:25] The land should never be a burden to you.

[30:00] What is Ann most proud of about the SFLR program?

[32:15] Ann shares her top three pieces of advice for landowners!

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Nrcs.usda.gov — Ann English

May 15, 2019

Marshall Cherry is the Chief Operating Officer at Roanoke Electric Cooperative, a utility company located in northeastern North Carolina that helped launch the SFLR program and still remains as an active partner and leader of the initiative. Marshall shares his story as well as the company’s story of how they got involved in the program, the landowners they’ve worked with, and how he was able to build trust in the community.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:45] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:25] A quick intro about Marshall’s background.

[3:50] How did Marshall first get started in his career field?

[8:00] Why did the Roanoke Electric Cooperative pick and focus on the SFLR initiative?

[13:00] How does Marshall work and help landowners?

[19:45] Marshall has worked hard to build trust with a network of landowners.

[24:35] There was a learning curve for Marshall in the beginning because he didn’t quite understand all the industry jargon.

[29:15] Marshall shares some of his favorite stories about the people he’s worked with.

[34:25] What advice does Marshall have for landowners?

[37:10] What do natural resources professionals need to know to better assist and help landowners?

[37:45] The world is much bigger than us, but we have a lot going on in our industry and good partners help you stand up taller.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Roanokeelectric.com

Marshall on LinkedIn

May 8, 2019

Darryl Shelton is a trustee with a family farm that’s owned by himself and three other forest landowners in Macon County, Alabama. He has a background as a design engineer, but he’s determined to turn his father’s property into a family legacy. He’s a self-educated forest land manager, but his journey to get there wasn’t always easy. Find out more on this week’s show.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:00] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:40] A quick intro about Darryl’s background.

[3:10] How did Darryl first get introduced to his forest land?

[4:40] Darryl explains a bit about his family history.

[13:50] How did Darryl find the resources he needed to maintain his forest land?

[23:15] Darryl credits Alex Harvey for helping him through the process!

[29:30] What were the steps Darryl took to start putting the forest land to work?

[37:15] What has been the most rewarding part about taking on these new responsibilities?

[46:10] What’s next for Darryl?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Alex’s website: Legacylandmanagement.org

Alex on LinkedIn

May 1, 2019

Chris Brown is the Community Relations Manager for the Mid-Atlantic Region at Enviva Biomass. Enviva produces over three million metric tons of wood pellets annually and they export these pellets primarily to power plants in the UK and Europe, which were previously fueled by coal. Prior to this, Chris was the Senior Director of Communications for the North Carolina Forestry Association. Find out more about the work he and Enviva are doing with SFLR!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about Chris’s background.

[3:50] How did Chris get involved with the SFLR program?

[8:50] What has been the biggest barriers for heirs and landowners?

[14:15] Enviva directly supports SFLR through sponsorship and they’ve been doing that for the last two years.

[16:15] Chris shares a little bit of background about Enviva and where they operate.

[22:45] What advice does Chris have for professional foresters and other natural resource professionals about SFLR?

[27:45] If you’re going to sell timber, talk to your county ranger or a forestry consultant.

[33:35] Chris explains what ‘certified wood’ means.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Envivabiomass.com

Chris on LinkedIn

Apr 24, 2019

Sequoyah Browning is a scientist and humanitarian and a creative forest landowner near Camden, Arkansas. Sequoyah has degrees in both Biology and English. Sequoyah takes a proactive approach with his forest land and has made some unique choices that best suit his needs and interest, all the while generating an income. Find out more about Sequoyah and why he decided to incorporate a silvopasture design into his property.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about Sequoyah’s background.

[3:30] Sequoyah shares a little bit of history about himself and his forest land.

[8:10] What is a ‘silvopasture design’?

[14:15] By incorporating cattle onto Sequoyah’s land, he is able to make an income yearly, as opposed to waiting 15 years for his trees to grow and get harvested.

[17:30] How does Sequoyah space out his land?

[19:50] Sequoyah really leveraged the knowledge and the resources from his local foresters.

[25:50] It’s not about having a cookie-cutter plan. It’s important to develop a custom plan that works for you and makes you feel good.

[31:20] What does Sequoyah like the most about being in touch with his land?

[32:55] Sequoyah shares some advice he has for fellow landowners.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Apr 17, 2019

Danielle Atkins is a Forester and Wildlife Professional who currently works for Mcintosh Seed. In her role, she works on the SFLR program for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities where she educates and directly helps landowners with their needs. Danielle also has a blog, Life + Land, where she focuses on women’s outreach and land management topics. Find out more about Danielle and the important work she does on today’s episode!

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about Danielle’s background.

[4:10] How did Danielle get involved in forestry?

[7:55] How did the grant at Mcintosh Seed get started?

[12:15] How does Danielle find landowners to help?

[15:50] Danielle shares her process and how she helps landowners.

[20:45] What kinds of challenges do landowners face when it comes to taking the next step with a forester and/or consultant?

[27:00] Danielle is in the process of documenting a model so that other landowners can use it as a template for their best practices.

[28:00] Danielle shares a couple of stories and case studies of landowners who have benefited from her service.

[34:50] Danielle stresses the importance of gender diversity in the forestry field.

[40:40] What should landowners look for when they realize they need some land management help?

[42:45] How can forestry professionals get involved?

[46:00] What is Danielle most proud of so far?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

Mcintosh-Sustainable-Environment-Economic-Development

Life + Land

Danielle on LinkedIn

Apr 10, 2019

Charlie “Strike Force” Williams is a veteran soil scientist and recently retired from the NRCS after more than 44 years of service! Despite being retired, there’s still a lot of work ahead that keeps Charlie going. On today’s show, Charlie talks about the Keep It In The Family program to help African American landowners retain their land and utilize it so that it is not a burden, but an amazing blessing that generates an income. Charlie provides some excellent resources today for natural resource professionals looking to help out in this field.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:25] A quick intro about Charlie’s background.

[4:40] How did Charlie get started in natural resources?

[8:10] How does Arkansas’s terrain differ from other states?

[11:45] What were some of Charlie’s first jobs like?

[13:45] How did the Keep It In The Family program get started?

[20:30] Research showed that owning land was more of a burden than a blessing for African American landowners due to having pay taxes on the land they didn’t know how to use.

[22:30] How do African Americans lose their land?

[26:15] Charlie shares what he has learned so far about developing trust with landowners.

[32:20] How do landowners find Charlie and use his services?

[35:55] Charlie offers advice to other professionals in the forest and natural resources community on how they can help.

[40:00] Where can landowners go for resources and to get help?

[43:40] How has the situation improved for African American landowners?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS: Nrcs.usda.gov

More information on the Alabama Forestry Association: alaforestry.org

Apr 3, 2019

Charles Lowry is a forest landowner and heir that grew up in the city! He is currently engaging in forest management for the first time in his life as an absentee landowner. He is based in Washington, D.C. and his property is in Alabama! Charles shares his story on how he found out about this land, how he manages it from afar, and some things he wished he’d known before about the value of his land. Find someone you can trust locally in the area to help you make the right decisions.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:35] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:15] A quick intro about Charles’s background.

[4:05] Charles shares a little bit about the history of the land he inherited.

[9:15] Charles was lucky because his grandfather did have a will before he died.

[13:15] With the property being in Alabama and Charles being in Washington, D.C., How did Charles get re-connected with his land?

[24:30] With the wide geographical location of the heirs, every single one of them has a varying interest in the land.

[25:45] What are some of the challenges of being an absentee landowner?

[27:50] Prior podcast guest Alex Harvey has helped Charles with his land. What kind of things did he help Charles with?

[31:30] What kinds of goals does Charles have for the property?

[41:45] You really need someone on your side to help you through this process, whether it be through the NRCS, the government, or a consultant.

[45:45] Charles is excited to know more people in this industry to get a better idea of what his land can do.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Charles on LinkedIn

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS services: Nrcs.usda.gov

More information on the Alabama Forestry Association: alaforestry.org

Mar 27, 2019

Alex Harvey is a consulting Forester and a Registered Professional Forester in Mississippi and Alabama. Alex has helped with the development and pilot of the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR) and will be diving into some of the work he has done to help educate landowners about the value of their land.

On today’s episode, Alex lists some challenges he has had in his line of work and some of the reasons why a landowner would benefit from working with a consulting forester. There’s a lot of bad apples that spoil it for the rest of us and it takes time to build up the trust that you’re one of the good guys.

 

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] A message from Leadership Nature.

[2:20] A quick intro about Alex’s background.

[4:30] How did Alex come up with the name ‘Legacy Land Management’ for his company?

[7:40] Alex gives a quick recap on what is Heirs property.

[12:55] How did Alex first get into this line of work?

[21:50] What are some of the reasons why a landowner would want to work with Alex?

[24:55] Alex shares a horror story about what happened to an elderly lady’s land and timber.

[32:15] It took Alex about three years to help landowners make small steps towards the proper use of their land.

[34:45] What resources can landowners tap into to get the help that they need?

[38:25] What kinds of challenges does Alex run into and why does he love his job?

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Alex’s website: Legacylandmanagement.org

Alex’s first interview on the show: June 2018

Alex on LinkedIn

Website for the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities: Usendowment.org

More information on the SFLR Program: Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR)

More information on USDA NRCS services: Nrcs.usda.gov

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