James Garner, NC State Forester, 2002 address on threats to state forests

THANK YOU FOR THE RETURN INVITATION -- I DON'T GET MANY OF THOSE.

I VISITED WITH YOU IN OCTOBER 1995 -- SEVEN YEARS AGO.

SO, I WENT BACK TO MY REMARKS TO SEE WHAT I SAID.

FIRST, SEVERAL STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT 10% OF YOU WILL SLEEP; 50% WILL COME AND GO; 30% WILL NOT BELIEVE A THING; 10% WILL LISTEN-UNDERSTAND-ACT.

SECOND, I COMMENTED THAT THERE WAS AN EXCELLENT CHANCE NORTH CAROLINA DIVISION OF FOREST RESOURCES WOULD GO THROUGH THE SAME CHANGE WE WERE EXPERIENCING IN 1995. NOW YOU ARE!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE -- 47 STATES ARE UNDER SEVERE BUDGET CRISIS. STATE FORESTRY AGENCIES ARE NOT COMPETING WELL WITH EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND TRANSPORTATION.

THIRD, I TALKED ABOUT OUR TRADITIONAL SUPPORT BASE AND HOW IT IS AND HAS CHANGED:

MY REMARKS THIS MORNING WILL BE ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN VIRGINIA BUT OUR TWO STATES ARE VERY SIMILAR. I PREDICT THAT MUCH OF WHAT'S GOING ON IN MY STATE IS OR SOON WILL BE HAPPENING IN YOURS.

OUR METRO CENTERS ARE EXPANDING MORE RAPIDLY EVERY DAY. THE BIG DIFFERENCE IS THAT WE HAVE THE WASHINGTON INFLUENCE -- AND WASHINGTON MENTALITY.
THE RAPID EXODUS CONTINUES THE FARM AND FOREST FRAGMENTATION. EVERYONE WANTS THEIR OWN LITTLE PIECE OF VIRGINIA COUNTRYSIDE.

WITH THIS FRAGMENTATION WE ARE INHERITING A TOTALLY NEW BREED OF LANDOWNERS -- WITH A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THEIR FOREST. DON'T TALK TO THESE PEOPLE ABOUT CLEAR-CUT, BURN AND PLANT.

WE NOW KNOW THAT 86% OF VIRGINIA'S FORESTLAND OWNERS OWN LESS THAN 50 ACRES -- 385,000 OWNERS AND ALL POTENTIAL CLIENTS.

35% OF OUR OWNERS ARE RETIREES -- THE DEATH AGE. THIS LAND WILL SOON CHANGE HANDS TO THEIR HEIRS, SOLD AND BROKEN UP OR TIMBER HARVESTED TO PAY TAXES.

ONLY 4 1/2% OF OUR OWNERS OWN OVER 200 ACRES.

THERE ARE SOME REAL MESSAGES HERE. ESPECIALLY IF YOU LOOK AT THE STUDIES OF WHY THESE PEOPLE OWN FORESTLAND.

THIS FRAGMENTATION AND WOODLAND HOMES HAS ADDED A NEW DIMENSION TO OUR WILDFIRE RESPONSIBILITIES. I KNOW THE SAME CONCERN IS SEEN IN NORTH CAROLINA -- ESPECIALLY THE MOUNTAINS.

THE WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE HAS BECOME VERY REAL, VERY EXPENSIVE, AND VERY DANGEROUS.

WE ARE SEEING GROWING NUMBERS OF SMALLER, LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS. THEY ARE CHANGING THEIR TACTICS AS THEY MOVE TO THE SOUTHERN LANDSCAPE.

THESE GRASSROOTS GROUPS ARE EFFECTIVELY CHANGING LAND USE DECISIONS AT THE COUNTY LEVEL. MORE COUNTY ORDINANCES, MORE ZONING RESTRICTIONS, AND MORE TAXES. THEY ARE ATTACKING THE PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS FROM LEFT FIELD AT THE LOCAL LEVEL AND TO SOME DEGREE IN RICHMOND.

THEY ARE VERY CONVINCING IN THE WEEKLY AND MIDSIZE PAPERS. IN VIRGINIA, THEY HAVE CONVINCED A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT A PINE PLANTATION IS NOT A FOREST.

YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW FAST FOREST INDUSTRY HAS AND CONTINUES TO CHANGE. IT'S BEING SAID THAT IF YOU DON'T LIKE WORKING FOR A COMPANY TODAY JUST WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW, IT WILL LIKELY BE A NEW COMPANY.

SINCE I WAS WITH YOU IN 1995 -- REMEMBER ONLY 7 YEARS.
§ THERE IS NO CHESAPEAKE CORPORATION - 330,000 ACRES SOLD
§ BEAR ISLAND PAPER COMPANY - 150,000 ACRES SOLD
§ UNION CAMP NOW INTERNATIONAL PAPER
§ CHAMPION INTERNATIONAL NOW INTERNATIONAL PAPER -- SELLING LAND AS WE SPEAK
§ GEORGIA-PACIFIC CREATED NEW LANDHOLDING COMPANY CALLED THE TIMBER COMPANY WHICH SOLD TO PLUM CREEK
§ WESTVACO NOW MEADE-WESTVACO -- HAVE BEGUN TO SELL LAND

ALMOST ALL MAJOR LANDHOLDING INDUSTRY IS SELLING -- THE LAND IS GOING TO PENSION/ INVESTMENT COMPANIES (TIMO'S). THE LANDS ARE WELL MANAGED BUT THEY WILL BE SOLD IF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS DICTATE. THEY ARE IN BUSINESS TO PROVIDE RETURNS TO THEIR STOCKHOLDERS -- NOT TO MANAGE TIMBER.

OUR SAWMILL INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO CHANGE. IN 1989, WE HAD 412 SAWMILLS IN VIRGINIA, NOW WE HAVE 215. THEY ARE PRODUCTIVE AND EFFICIENT BUT UNLESS MARKETS CHANGE SOON, SOME WILL NOT MAKE IT.

I SEE NOTHING AHEAD THAT MAKES ME THINK WE WILL STILL HAVE ALL 7 OF OUR PULP AND PAPER PLANTS OPERATING 10 YEARS FROM NOW.

LIKE SAWMILLS, THE NUMBER AND SIZE OF VIRGINIA LOGGING FIRMS ARE GETTING SMALLER. THEY HAVE JUST FORMED THEIR OWN, INDEPENDENT LOGGER COUNCIL TO TAKE MORE CONTROL OF THEIR OWN DESTINY.

I SHARED WITH YOU IN 1995 WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH OUR DEPARTMENT. HERE THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

IN 1995 WE HAD FROZEN VACANCIES -- WE STILL DO.

WE HAD LOST 27% OF CENTRAL OFFICE STAFF -- WE JUST LOST MORE.

WE HAD ABOLISHED OUR INFORMATION/ EDUCATION UNIT -- MOVED PEOPLE TO OTHER POSITIONS -- STILL NO I & E UNIT AND WE HAVE LOST SOME OF THOSE WHO TRANSFERRED. I JUST ABOLISHED OUR CONSERVATION EDUCATION PROGRAM.

IN 1995, WE WERE GOING TO CLOSE SOME COUNTY OFFICES -- IT DIDN'T HAPPEN BUT NOW WE ARE GETTING READY TO CLOSE 10.

1995 -- I HAD JUST APPROVED A LAYOFF LIST -- IT DIDN'T HAPPEN, BUT LAST MONTH LAID OFF 9 PEOPLE, WITH 10 MORE TO GO.

WE OFFERED STEWARDSHIP PLANS TO CONSULTANTS WHICH DIDN'T WORK VERY WELL EXCEPT IN A FEW CASES. 
WITH CHANGES IN THE INDUSTRY, THE FLUCTUATIONS IN MARKETS AND NEW STYLE LANDOWNERS, OUR THREE NURSERIES ARE IN THE MIDST OF TRANSITION. OUR TRADITIONAL LOBLOLLY PINE SALES HAVE BEEN STEADILY DECLINING. LAST YEAR WAS A CLOSE CALL TO LOSING MONEY. WE MUST MAKE OUR OWN BUDGET -- NO TAX DOLLARS ALLOWED.

IN 1995 I COMMENTED " WE HAVE CHANGED -- RAPIDLY AND IT'S NOT OVER YET. EVERYONE'S SCARED -- SOME LEAVING -- LOTS OF ANGER AND ANXIETY". I CAN TELL YOU THE SAME THING THIS MORNING.

WHEN WE WENT THROUGH OUR DOWNSIZING IN 1995, WE WERE IN A REACTIVE MODE. DECISIONS WERE BEING MADE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS BY NINE PEOPLE. THERE WERE NO MONEY PROBLEMS. JUST FAST, POORLY THOUGHT OUT DECISIONS TO DOWNSIZE DOF.

THIS YEAR HAS BEEN DIFFERENT. WE DO HAVE MONEY PROBLEMS. WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN FEW MANDATES OTHER THAN THE BOTTOM LINE AND EVERY AGENCY IS SHARING THE PAIN.

I HAVE INVOLVED OUR FULL STAFF IN THE SITUATION AND IN THE SOLUTIONS. MOST DECISIONS HAVE BEEN REASONABLY WELL DISCUSSED AND THOUGHTFUL. WE HAVE REACHED OUR FIRST TARGETS. SO FAR WE STILL EXIST.

BUT, WE ALL KNOW MORE REDUCTIONS ARE ON THE WAY.

HAVING GIVEN YOU THE UPDATE WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

OUR DEPARTMENT CONTINUES TO CHANGE AND SO WILL YOURS.

IF YOU GO BACK TO MY FORMULA OF HOW GROUPS REACT TO MESSAGES OF CHANGE, THEN 10% OF YOU ARE SITTING THERE LOOKING FOR OPPORTUNITIES IN ALL OF THIS AND WHAT YOU NEED TO START DOING. BLESS YOUR HEARTS!

I THINK CHANGE ALWAYS COMES BEARING GIFTS. CONSIDERING THE SPEED OF CHANGE THESE DAYS, THERE WILL BE PRECIOUS GIFTS -- MANY PRICELESS OPPORTUNITIES -- BUT ONLY FOR THOSE OF US WHO PLAY BY THE NEW RULES, POSITION OURSELVES RIGHT AND TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OWN FUTURE.

GIVEN THE ECONOMIC DISRUPTION, I THINK THE STATE FORESTRY AGENCIES -- ESPECIALLY IN THE SOUTH -- HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY. WE HAVE THE CHANCE TO EMERGE FROM THIS RUBBLE AS A DIFFERENT BUT PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATION FOCUSED GROUP OF UNBIASED AND CREDITABLE PROFESSIONALS. IF WE DON'T MISS IT!

NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO STEP BACK AND TAKE STOCK IN WHAT'S GOING ON. WE NEED TO IGNORE THE "CHICKEN LITTLES" AND FORGET ALL OF THOSE WHO ARE RUNNING TO THE NEAREST FOXHOLE.

IT IS A GOOD TIME TO REFLECT ON THE PAST -- REFLECT ON IT BUT NOT LIVE IN IT. UNDERSTAND WHAT WE HAVE TRIED AND WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED. THEN LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE AND CREATE A NEW VISION OF WHERE WE WANT TO BE.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO SOMEONE LOOKED AT THE LANDSCAPE, ALMOST barren OF TREES AND DECIDED SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE. ANY STUDENT OF CONSERVATION HISTORY WOULD SURELY DECLARE WHAT WE HAVE NOW IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL SUCCESS STORY. "WE DONE GOOD".

THERE WOULD BE VERY FEW WHO COULD ARGUE THAT THIS SUCCESS WAS BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS, WILLING LANDOWNERS, AND DEDICATED EMPLOYEES.

BUT NOW THIS FOREST HAS CAUGHT THE ATTENTION OF A NEW URBAN SOCIETY WHO HAVE BEEN DISLOCATED FROM ANY UNDERSTANDING OF HOW WE GOT HERE, WHO OWNS IT, AND WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO OUR WAY OF LIFE.

WE -- STATE, PRIVATE, AND INDUSTRY FORESTERS -- ARE FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THE PUBLIC'S VIEW AND VALUE -- AND INFLUENCE -- THAT THEY ARE IMPOSING ON PRIVATE FORESTS.

THE "SMALL GOVERNMENT -- NO MORE TAXES" BATTLE CRY IS RAPIDLY DRYING UP OUR RESOURCES BECAUSE FORESTRY DOESN'T COMPETE WELL. WE SUCCEEDED IN CREATING THE FOREST, NOW WE ARE BEING TOLD -- "PROTECT IT BUT DON'T CUT IT". OUR OLD MESSAGES ARE NOT SELLING.

THE URBAN POPULATION VIEW THESE FORESTS AS "THEIRS". THEY FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THE BIOLOGY, THE DYNAMICS AND THE BENEFITS. THEY DON'T OWN THESE FORESTS BUT THEY SURE DO TRY TO CONTROL THEM.

THESE PEOPLE ARE PICKING UP ON BUZZWORDS FORCE FED BY THE MEDIA AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS. AND SADLY, WE, TOO, ARE TRYING TO CAPTURE THE PUBLIC'S ATTENTION WITH THE SAME WORDS JUST TO TRY TO STAY IN THE CONVERSATION.

THAT'S A SHAME THAT WE -- STATE FORESTRY PROFESSIONALS -- ARE GETTING TRAPPED IN UPHOLDING TERMS LIKE "ECOSYSTEMS" AND "SUSTAINABILITY" WHEN WE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN -- OR AT LEAST THEY MEAN SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO EVERYONE WHO USES THEM. WE MUST GET BEYOND THIS.

WITH ALL THAT'S HAPPENING, I HAVE TAKEN SOME TIME TO STEP BACK AND TRIED TO LOOK AHEAD. I MADE A DISCOVERY AND I MADE A DECISION.

THE DISCOVERY WAS THAT I THINK AMERICA IS TODAY WHERE IT WAS 100 YEARS AGO WITH THE CONSERVATION MOVEMENT. THAT MAY SOUND A LITTLE STRANGE -- WE ARE JUST ABOUT BACK TO WHERE WE WERE 100 YEARS AGO WITH CONSERVATION.

WE ARE SEEING PUBLIC CONCERNS AND SOME RECOGNITION OF EARLY WARNINGS ABOUT OUR ENVIRONMENT.

WE ARE SEEING A GROWING AWARENESS OF THE NEED TO CHANGE OUR LIFE STYLES, ENLARGE OUR VIEW OF CONSERVATION TO A GLOBAL SCALE AND THE FACT THAT SMALL, GRASSROOTS INVOLVEMENT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. THAT'S THE WAY IT BEGAN IN THE EARLY 1900'S.

WE ARE SEEING A SHIFT IN SUPPORT AWAY FROM THE RADICAL ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS TO THE MORE REALISTIC, PROFESSIONAL AND PRACTICAL ORGANIZATIONS THOSE WHO FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS INSTEAD OF FUNDING.

WE ARE SEEING POLITICAL ACTIONS -- SOME AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL, BUT MOSTLY AT THE STATE HOUSE AND THE COURTHOUSE.

§ URBAN SPRAWL, FOREST/FARM FRAGMENTATION
§ OPEN SPACE CONSERVATION/PRESERVATION -- ALL IN CAMPAIGN PROMISES
§ THE LOCALITIES BEGINNING TO TAKE COMPREHENSIVE PLANS SERIOUSLY AND INCLUDE SERIOUS DISCUSSIONS OF FARMS AND FOREST PROTECTION

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA -- ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING COUNTIES IN THE NATION -- HOME OF DULLES AIRPORT -- VOTED OUT THE ENTIRE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND REPLACED THEM WITH SLOW GROWTH ADVOCATES.

THIS SAME SEQUENCE OF EVENTS OCCURRED 100 YEARS AGO.

THERE ARE BIG DIFFERENCES TODAY, BUT THE DYNAMICS ARE ALL THERE. IT IS ONE OF THOSE PRECIOUS GIFTS - OPPORTUNITIES - THAT COME WITH CHANGE. WE ARE IN A NEW CONSERVATION MOVEMENT.

HAVING REALIZED THAT THIS COMPARISON MAY BE REAL, I MADE A DECISION -- NOTHING MONUMENTAL, JUST A FAIRLY SIMPLE DECISION.

WE HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO DO A SO-CALLED STRATEGIC PLAN FOR EVERY BUDGET SUBMISSION -- EVERY TWO YEARS. IT IS AT BEST A SHORT-TERM PLAN OF WORK AND AT WORSE A BUREAUCRATIC EXERCISE NEEDED TO GET THE BUDGET PROPOSAL SUBMITTED.

OTHER THAN IT BEING A SHORT-TERM, REQUIRED DOCUMENT, IT IS SADLY FLAWED. IT IS ISSUE DRIVEN. IN OTHER WORDS, WE SELECT THE CRITICAL ISSUES FACING US AND DEVELOP OUR GOALS AND STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS THEM. I DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU -- ISSUES IN NATURAL RESOURCES CHANGE AS OFTEN AS THE SPECIALS AT JOE'S DINER.

WHEN YOU OPERATE FROM AN ISSUE DRIVEN PROCESS YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY IN A REACTIVE THOUGHT MODE. I HAVE STOPPED OUR DEPARTMENT FROM USING OUR LAST SO-CALLED STRATEGIC PLAN.
WHAT I DECIDED WAS THAT WE WOULD DEVELOP A STRATEGIC PLAN. I TOLD YOU IT WASN'T A MONUMENTAL DECISION.

WE ARE BEGINNING A STRATEGIC PLAN THAT WILL NOT BE ISSUE DRIVEN. I WANT TO CONTROL OUR FUTURE.

SOME WOULD SAY WITH THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND URBANIZATION OF ELECTED OFFICIALS YOU CAN'T CONTROL YOUR FUTURE. I DON'T ACCEPT THAT.

THAT THINKING IS SHORTSIGHTED -- IT IS SURRENDER -- IT LACKS LEADERSHIP.

I WOULD LIKE THE PLAN TO BE REAL. A MEANINGFUL DOCUMENT -- AT LEAST A 10-YEAR VIEW. A DOCUMENT THAT WILL PROVIDE GUIDANCE FOR OUR FOLKS AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHY WE MUST DO WHAT WE DO.

I WOULD LIKE FOR IT TO CAPTURE THE ATTENTION OF THE PUBLIC, LANDOWNERS, AND DECISION-MAKERS.

NOT JUST FOR POLITICAL SUPPORT, BUT FOR THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF A HEALTHY FOREST BASE. I THINK EVERYONE WANTS THAT BUT DOESN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO HAVE IT.

OUR FIRST PROCESS IS TO REACH A CONSENSUS OF A VISION. A VISION OF WHAT VIRGINIA'S FOREST WILL LOOK LIKE AND BE LIKE IF THE DEPARTMENT SUCCESSFULLY DOES ITS JOB. THIS VISION WILL HAVE NO MENTION OF THE AGENCY OR ANY ENTITY OR INDIVIDUAL -- IT WILL FOCUS ON OUR FOREST RESOURCES -- ALL OF THEM.

BASED ON THAT VISION AND FOCUSING ONLY ON IT, WE WILL DESCRIBE SOME DESIRED PREFERRED FUTURE MILESTONES. THESE DESIRED FUTURES MAY HAVE SOME DATES OUT THERE IN THE FUTURE.

THEN WE WILL DECIDE OUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES ALWAYS LOOKING AT OUR VISION, NOT THE EVENTS GOING ON AROUND US.

AT THIS POINT I AM NOT SURE HOW OR EVEN IF WE WILL DEVELOP STRATEGIES. THESE COULD BOG US DOWN AND TEMPT US TO CONTINUE TO DO THE SAME THING WE HAVE DONE FOR YEARS.

I AM NOT SAYING WE WILL IMMEDIATELY STOP FIRE FIGHTING, PLANTING TREES, INSPECTING LOGGING JOBS, BUT IF WE DON'T STAY FOCUSED IN THE FUTURE WE WILL BE CONSUMED BY THE PAST. THE OLD WAYS, THE OLD MESSAGES, THE OLD CONSTITUENCY WILL NOT HELP US SEE OUR VISION COME TRUE.

OUR BEST APPROACH MAY BE TO DEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN THAT WILL DESCRIBE THE ACTIONS WE NEED TO TAKE, TELL WHY, WHEN AND HOW MUCH THEY COST. IF DONE WELL, IT COULD HELP US DEFINE AND GET THE RESOURCES WE NEED.

IF THIS EFFORT SUCCEEDS, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS I THINK WE SHOULD ADDRESS?

FIRST, WE MUST HIRE, TRAIN, AND ALLOW FORESTERS TO BE FORESTERS. LET THEM WRITE PRESCRIPTIONS TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT THOSE NEW OWNERS WANT BUT DO SO WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE OF SILVICULTURE, BIOLOGY, AND THE OTHER SCIENCES. THESE FIELD FORESTERS WILL NEED DATA AND INFORMATION TO WORK WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS ON LAND-USE PLANNING. THEY WILL NEED CONVINCING MESSAGES FOR THE DECISION-MAKERS, CIVIC GROUPS, AND GENERAL PUBLIC. THEY WILL NEED TO BE LITERATE IN SOCIAL ISSUES AND GLOBAL CONCERNS, GOOD COMMUNICATORS AND UNBIASED SCIENTIFIC PROFESSIONALS.

WE HAVE ALREADY ADJUSTED OUR THINKING ABOUT THE EXPERTISE WE NEED IN THE DEPARTMENT. RIGHT NOW I NEED A FULL-TIME ATTORNEY, A PROFESSIONAL MARKETING SPECIALIST, AND AN EXPERIENCED TRAINING DIRECTOR.

I THINK WE NEED TO BECOME FACILITATORS INSTEAD OF DOERS.

WE NEED TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT THE "17-ACRE WOODLOT" IS OUR FUTURE AND THE LARGER TRACTS BELONG TO THE CONSULTING FORESTERS.

WE NEED TO DISCOVER THOSE FORWARD THINKING FAMILY OWNED SAWMILLS AND LOGGERS AND HELP THEM DEVELOP NICHE MARKETS.

WE NEED TO EXPAND OR DEVELOP NEW PROGRAMS SUCH AS PLT, PROJECT WILD AND PROJECT WET TO TEACH THE TEACHERS THE CORRECT THINGS TO TEACH THE CHILDREN.

WE NEED TO BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR URBAN FORESTRY AND DEMONSTRATE OUR PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE THAT CAN CREATE A LIVING COMMUNITY FROM THESE NEGLECTED "BROWNFIELDS".

WE NEED TO CONVINCE STATE GOVERNMENT TO LEAD THE WAY THAT BIO-ENERGY IS A GOOD THING.


WE NEED TO ADDRESS -- VIGOROUSLY -- THE HIGH GRADING IN OUR HARDWOOD STANDS.

WE NEED TO ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY -- NO, THE OBLIGATION -- TO MAINTAIN BIODIVERSITY, PROTECT RARE AND SENSITIVE AREAS AND TO RESTORE NATIVE SPECIES THAT ARE VANISHING FROM THE FOREST LANDSCAPE.

WE THINK OUR NURSERIES CAN BE VITAL TO VIRGINIA'S FUTURE FOREST, BUT NOT DOING WHAT WE HAVE BEEN FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS. I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES.

WE NEED TO BECOME STEWARDS OF OUR FOREST RESOURCES AND LET PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT OUR ROLE IS TO INFLUENCE THE CREATION OF A BETTER NATURAL WORLD THAT WILL PRESERVE ITSELF AND SERVE THE CITIZENS.

I AM CONVINCED THAT EVERY STATE FORESTRY ORGANIZATION NEEDS A SKILLED, WELL-TRAINED, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER.

I AM ALSO CONVINCED THE ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF FORESTRY IN VIRGINIA NO LONGER SELLS -- TO THE PRESS, THE LEGISLATORS OR THE MAN ON THE STREET.

OUR MESSAGES MUST CHANGE!

SOME WILL TELL ME WE CANNOT CONTROL THE FUTURE OF OUR DEPARTMENT. I BELIEVE WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN. BUT WE HAVE TO MAKE CHOICES. NOT ONLY AGENCY CHOICES BUT INDIVIDUAL CHOICES. I'M LOOKING FOR THAT 10% WHO LISTEN - UNDERSTAND AND ARE WILLING TO DEDICATE THEMSELVES TO ACTION. 
BUT AS WE MAKE THESE CHOICES, TWO THINGS WILL BE CRITICAL.

FIRST, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR -- YOU MIGHT GET IT. AS WE DOWNSIZE AND ADJUST WE MUST BE SURE WHAT WE OFFER IS THE RIGHT THING. IF WE GIVE IT UP, WE MAY NEVER GET IT BACK.

SECOND, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, BEWARE OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

THERE ARE AGENCY CHOICES AND INDIVIDUAL CHOICES BOTH EQUALLY IMPORTANT.

FAILURE TO MAKE THESE INDIVIDUAL CHOICES COULD WELL LEAD TO THE FAILURE OF THE AGENCY AND ULTIMATELY YOUR OWN CAREER.

WHEN I WAS WITH YOU IN 1995, I WENT THROUGH 13 POINTS TO MANAGE YOUR CAREER IN A CHANGING WORLD. THESE POINTS ARE AS RELEVANT TODAY AS THEY WERE SEVEN YEARS AGO -- MORE SO IF YOU ARE DEDICATED TO IMPROVING YOURSELF AND THE NORTH CAROLINA DIVISION OF FOREST RESOURCES.

I WILL NOT GO THROUGH THE ENTIRE PRESENTATION, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO MENTION A FEW THAT I THINK ARE CRITICAL DURING OUR ECONOMIC CRISIS, AND AT A TIME WHEN STAN NEEDS YOUR HELP.

1. BE A QUICK CHANGE ARTIST BECAUSE YOUR ORGANIZATION WILL RESHAPE. RESISTANCE TO THIS CHANGE WILL BE A DEAD END STREET.

2. SPEED-UP. SLOW KILLS AN ORGANIZATION AND IT KILLS CAREERS. WE NEED TO FAIL FAST -- FIX IT AND MOVE ON.

3. STAY IN SCHOOL. OUR PROFESSION IS CHANGING SO COME OUT OF THE WOODS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

4. YOUR ABILITY TO TOLERATE UNCERTAINTY WILL BE A CRITICAL SKILL.

5. BEHAVE LIKE YOU OWN THE BUSINESS. GET CLOSE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS, WHOEVER THEY ARE.

6. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE FOR RESULTS.

7. ADD VALUE. CONTRIBUTE MORE THAN YOU COST.

8. MANAGE YOUR OWN MORALE. TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ATTITUDE -- NO ONE ELSE CAN OR SHOULD.

9. AND FINALLY, BE A FIXER, NOT A FINGER POINTER. STAN AND I KNOW THE PROBLEMS, BRING US SOLUTIONS.

TRUST ME, IN TIMES LIKE THIS, WE ALL WILL CARRY BATTLE SCARS FOR YEARS.

AT THE END OF THE DAY THE BEST WE CAN DO IS BURY OUR CASUALTIES, TREAT THE WOUNDED, AND RECOGNIZE AND REWARD THE SURVIVORS.

LET ME CLOSE WITH A QUOTE FROM A 1994 BOOK BY PRICE PRITCHETT.

"CAREERS HAVE ALREADY QUIT WORKING LIKE THEY USED TO. THAT'S NOT REALLY ANYBODY'S FAULT. BUT EMPLOYEES AND ORGANIZATIONS ARE VERY MUCH AT FAULT IF THEY, TOO, DON'T CHANGE IN ORDER TO ADAPT.

IT DOES US NO GOOD WHATSOEVER TO COMPLAIN OR BE BITTER ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING.

THE WORLD REWARDS ONLY THOSE OF US WHO CATCH ON TO WHAT'S HAPPENING, AND WHO INVEST OUR ENERGY IN FINDING AND SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITIES BROUGHT ABOUT BY CHANGE".

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.