Natural resources institute comes to Staunton

The 2001-2011 class of Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute will hold a three day training session in Staunton March 16-18. The meeting is the fourth of six sessions held throughout the year, at locations across the state. Focus of discussion during the session will include sustainable agriculture, nutrient management planning, community food systems, concepts of servant-leadership, and approaches to negotiating consensus. Session field trips will include a visit to Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in Swoope. Mayor Lacy B. King, Jr. will open the VNRLI sessions with a welcome and introduction to Staunton at the First Presbyterian Church on East Fredrick Street.

The VNRLI year began in September at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria with topics of leadership and environmental justice. A panel discussion addressing the legislative and cultural climate of the forming of the Shenandoah National Park ended the three day session. The November session convened in Kilmarnock on Virginia’s Northern Neck. Following a visit to a small scale, family owned oyster shucking facility and a large, menhaden reduction factory, a panel discussion focused on the complex sets of factors comprising the cultural, scientific, and environmental considerations of the menhaden fishery industry. January found VNRLI fellows at our state capital, learning the ends and outs of establishing legislation at the state level and discussing the impacts of the Dillon Rule on land use and planning. During the final two sessions, the 2010-2011 class of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute will visit the coal fields of the southwest Virginia; a June wrap up sessions will be held in Charlottesville.

The class of 2010 – 2011 is the tenth class program held by the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute. The Institute works in partnership with the Center for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia. Institute faculty include: E. Franklin Dukes, Tanya L.K. Denckla Cobb, Michael J. Ellerbrock, J. Michael Foreman, Steve Talley, and Paul F. Revel. VNRLI Fellows, Class of 2011 consist of 31 professionals from both the private and public sectors including: a student from the College of William and Mary; state foresters, grant managers, resource analysts, stormwater specialists, legislative specialists, and environmental planners; a corporate responsibility strategist; educators engaged in teaching, program management, and conflict resolution; a community activist; engineers and resource managers from the private sector; a communications manager; as well as representatives from the U.S. military. City Planner, Amy Arnold, represents Staunton as a member of the VNRLI Fellows, Class of 2011.

The Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute strives to establish a leadership network of people drawn from all sectors of the community who will: earn each other’s trust while respecting each others different perspectives; call on each other over the years for assistance and ideas; posses the leadership skills needed to engage in collaborative problem solving around environmental issues, to move beyond conflict, and to find creative solutions; and are engaged in working with Virginia’s natural resources at all levels from science to community policy.

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