In August, members of the NRI policy team attended the 2018 Sustaining Military Readiness Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The conference, sponsored by the Department of Defense and held for the first time since 2011, was designed to provide a forum to encourage beneficial discussions and connections with thought-provoking panel sessions and workshops to support the future of military readiness through partnerships and planning.
Multiple members of the NRI staff played key roles in the planning and execution of this conference. Mike Brennan moderated a panel discussion about conservation without conflict between national security and the Endangered Species Act, and Mike Marshall spoke during a session focusing on innovative ESA solutions about his recent experience with Species Status Assessments (SSAs). Bruce Beard, Addie Thornton, and Tiffany McFarland developed and conducted an orientation workshop for new Sentinel Landscape Coordinators and planned two additional sessions: one exploring unconventional partnerships within Sentinel Landscapes and one about engaging Sentinel Landscapes and the surrounding communities.
Jaime Simon who, through her work with the OSD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program office, expertly served a leading role in the logistical planning and implementation of the conference for more than 850 attendees. Jaime also managed to find the time to moderate a workshop, “A Commanders Guide to Working with Communities: Building Relationships for Mission Success.”
Stephanie Hertz, Hannah Sodolak, and Addie Thornton made sure that NRI had a visible presence throughout the entire week by organizing and staffing exhibit booths for NRI and partner initiatives such as the America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative and Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS). Additionally, the collective NRI group provided overall conference support and coordination of separate working group meetings with key counterparts from federal, state, and local partners.
Thanks to the work of Jaime Simon and her NRI team, the 2018 conference was successful beyond expectations. As always, we are proud to support an important collection of interests that further our goal to solve for natural resource conservation and military readiness challenges.