January 2016 President's Stump
Every New Year we all look back on the previous year and look forward to
what we want to be different for the year ahead, I’m talking about
New Year resolutions. I took a moment away from thinking of myself and
turned my attention on what I would want different for CLFA in the coming
year. In short, my answer is “not much”.
At roughly 500 voting members, a steady decline in membership seems to
have leveled off and has been mostly stable for the last couple of years.
This is encouraging given the number of valid licensed foresters statewide
continues to decline. CLFA’s voting membership accounts for 40%
of RPFs, while this may appear small, when compared to other professional
associations, we sit pretty well. I did a quick inquiry of other professional
organizations and found their membership as a percentage is generally
much lower than ours. Still I am not satisfied, this is why we initiated,
for the first time, a membership referral program available to current
members. Current members can receive $50 off their 2016 membership by
recruiting fellow RPF’s to CLFA. The specifics and details were
included with membership renewal notices, if there’s any questions
don’t hesitate to contact Kathleen or any board member.
We continue to be well represented and effective on legislative and regulatory
fronts thanks to a core group of active members attending the BOF and
various other meetings. CLFA’s Government Affairs Specialist continues
to serve us well and yours truly has become a regular fixture at the Board
of Forestry. Our education, scholarship, and licensing programs continue
to be strong.
Membership benefits continue to be regular topic of discussion at our board
meetings. I continue to hold that the key to maintaining and building
the strength and relevance of CLFA lies in a large part, to benefits of
membership. I’m often asked “what do I get out of being a
member?” Currently, in my mind at least, the answer comes down to
three categories; protection of practice, professional development, and
professional networking. Professional networking and professional development
continue to be provided by way of workshops, newsletters, our Facebook
page and breakfast group meetings. Late in 2015 board members Jack Harvey
and Robert Galliano resurrected the Auburn/Grass Valley breakfast group
with wonderful success. They’re only three months into it and routinely
have a dozen or so members in attendance, many of which have had valuable
comments, questions and concerns that have been brought to the board for
considerations. Way to go Jack, Robert and Auburn/Grass Valley!!! My heartfelt
thanks go out to all the Breakfast Group Leaders, your time and commitment
is what keeps these groups alive, thank you! Future and ongoing efforts
in improving member benefits include revamping and reimagining CLFA’s
website, developing forestry informational videos to be made available
online, and resurrecting the Chico Breakfast Group.
Protection of practice is a more nebulous membership benefit that is not
easily felt. Laws and regulations are written by those who are present.
Without our constant message of the need for responsible forest management
and a vibrant forest products market, there are pressures that would see
an end to active forest management. I am constantly amazed at the weight
CLFA carries; due entirely to the efforts of past boards and past presidents.
Their tireless efforts and successes brought us the many years of muted
turmoil we’ve enjoyed for many years now. The must be recognized,
and I will do it now…THANK YOU!
The glue that has held CLFA together for so many years is weathering and
getting dry. The scale of turmoil over forestry in the 1980’s presented
a clear and necessary need for solidarity. That turmoil is still there,
only instead of facing sweeping changes; the changes we have been facing
are more incremental. CLFA’s ability to respond to incremental changes
with little fanfare makes it hard for anyone to truly feel the benefit
CLFA provides eroding a clear and necessary need for solidarity making
me wonder if there is need to redefine what CLFA is about. Don’t
get me wrong, CLFA representation in political and regulatory arenas is
and should continue to be a cornerstone of CLFA’s charter, but without
clear saliency among the membership is it enough to keep CLFA vibrant
So while I may not have clear New Year resolutions for CLFA, retaining
current members and welcoming new members is constant challenge telling
me that maybe there is something that needs to be changed? I just can’t
put my finger on what it is.