April 2016
NRLI Project Team Members and Class XV Fellows at Roland Martin's Marina & Resort in Clewiston.
Director's Corner
Jonathan Dain

Clewiston lies on the southern edge of Florida's Lake Okeechobee. It owes its survival to a dike built around the lake that holds back the water. The area is home to some of the best freshwater fishing in the world. It is also home to highly productive agricultural enterprises that support the local economy and provide fresh vegetables and other agricultural commodities year-round. It is part of the Everglades system, a natural wonder whose existence depends on timely flows of fresh water and whose beauty has enchanted the world for decades. The water needs of the Everglades and the interests of multiple human stakeholders collide in and around Lake Okeechobee. It is a seemingly intractable conflict that has persisted for decades and flares up on a regular basis, each crisis hardening the positions and statements of the stakeholders it affects. Manage the "Lake O" system one way and the berm and all it protects are threatened; manage it another way and estuaries on east and west coasts are threatened as occurred recently. Trust among stakeholders seems minimal, and the Everglades system as a whole continues to show signs of collapse. There is no resolution in sight.

A short time after returning from Clewiston, I attended a talk by the Reverend Gary Mason of East Belfast, Ireland, a key figure in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that established a lasting peace between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. Belfast is certainly not the Everglades, but I hoped to gain some insight into intractable conflicts from someone who had lived one. At the end of the talk, a student asked him about lessons learned that could be applied to other situations. He paused for a moment and said, "words are powerful things; be careful how you disagree with each other." He then talked about healthy disagreement and how they differ from name calling and the framing of issues in inflammatory ways. He concluded by saying "As a first step, criticize the ills of your own community and suggest better alternatives; it builds trust". I thought about this as I walked home. The Everglades is a problem born of human engineering and management that has forced interest groups into conflict with one another. I have no idea how to resolve it. Perhaps Reverend Mason's suggestion could be a start. 

In This Issue
Quick Links

Class XV Session 7 Newsletter

Clewiston: Agriculture South of Lake Okeechobee


In this issue...

Natural Resources Focus: Agriculture South of Lake Okeechobee

Curriculum Focus: Applying Mediation Strategies to Intervene in Disputes
Fellows' Articles
Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch & Ivan Vicente
Class XV Fellow Spotlight
  • Marta Reczko, Technical Assistance Specialist, Office of Environmental Resource Management, United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc.
  • Samantha Danchuk, Assistant Director, Broward County Environmental Planning and Community Resilience Division

NRLI Alumni Spotlight

  • Gene McAvoy, County Extension Director, Regional Vegetable Agent IV, UF/IFAS Hendry County Extension
Click here to download a PDF. 
Class XV Session 8 will be held April 7-8 in Gainesville. During this final session, Fellows will present results of their practicum projects, receive their certificate of completion, and become NRLI alumni.

Congratulations, Class XV!
Announcing a newly established NRLI endowment!
 Farm Credit of Florida Agricultural and Natural Resources
Leadership Endowment
We are thrilled to announce the establishment of the
Farm Credit of Florida Agricultural and Natural Resources Leadership Endowment. The endowment was made possible through a generous donation by Farm Credit of Florida and will be used to support scholarships for young farmers (35 years old or younger)participating in the UF/IFAS Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute. Those working in Florida agricultural are an important constituency for the NRLI program and NRLI is proud to have a role in training future leaders of the Agricultural community. The average age for a fll-time farmer in the United States is almost 60 years old and young farmers pursuing full and part time farming are crucial to the future of the agricultural sector in the State of Florida. Our heartfelt thanks to Farm Credit of Florida as we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

General Joe Joyce Family Endowment
for Natural Resources Leadership
Upon his retirement from UF/IFAS, Dr. Joe Joyce established an endowment to support the Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute. The General Joe Joyce Family Endowment for Natural Resources Leadership will provide scholarship support for NRLI Fellows and also provides general program support.