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Closing Remarks - In Verse - by Bill Botti   
Forestry in the 21st Century: Does it have a Future?
Fall Conference, 22 October 2008, MSU Kellogg Center, East Lansing


Mike Moore called some months ago,
he said he'd really like to know
that in the fall I'd plan to go
to th' SAF fall ditty.
I said I would - it sounds like fun
It's been awhile since I went to one
and before our little talk was done,
I was part of his committee.

My part in the play would be quite small,
it wouldn't take much time at all
and special needs, as I recall,
might be in the timing.
I'd have the job of closing out,
the last hurrah; the final shout,
but one part gave me a bit of doubt:
my wrap-up must be rhyming.

The theme of this - that brought us here,
our future isn't very clear;
the very things that we hold dear
may fall away unheeded.
With a cast of speakers long and deep,
each with a special role to keep,
toward future times we took a peep,
and saw we'll still be needed.

The day began with business meets,
with coffee and assorted treats.
Discussions kept us in our seats.
We need to seek new members.
The students want to be involved
and if this problem's to be solved,
we'll have to sharpen our resolve
and see that we remember.

Mike Moore called us to gather 'round,
and spent some time adjusting sound,
then covered much historic ground
just to "set the table".
He cited his father and our late friend, Vic,
and pioneers like Bitterlich,
and charged us to continue to kick
as long as we are able.

Kent Connaughton then gave us pause,
saying forestry is an important cause,
as shown when we faced the open maws
of fires in the West.
The benefits that will accrue
are to communities and people, too;
the challenge that he posed to you:
"Go out and do your best".

After lunch the show began
with Larry, Peggy; also Dan.
It might work better if we can
restructure education.
New courses in and throw some out,
"recruit and market" some folks shout,
all in all, the effective route
may not be accreditation.

Michael Goergen spoke of how
the SAF is doing now.
Through all the turmoil, he'd avow
we're really fairly stable.
"All these things", he said, "are signs,
that we're living in improving times"
A good example along these lines:
we're discussed at the dinner table.

Are we to sense that we should fear
being labeled as "in mid-career"?
But we don't think the end is near -
the forests are still standing.
The midlife folks said with a smile
they're confident in this job "life-style"
and plan to continue quite a while
and watch uses keep expanding.

David Glenn showed us he's found
a way to bring young students 'round,
and show them science on the ground,
and treat the trees with prudence.
He and Dickmann wrote a book -
it sounds as if it's worth a look;
it may turn out to be the hook
to attract young promising students.

This morning first was elder kids,
Ned and Ron told of things they did
and how things tend to change amid
the pressures of the work.
Our kids today don't play outside;
recreational interests override;
though our int'rests oft' don't coincide,
be nice; don't be a jerk!

And then the students took a turn.
It's clear that they expect to learn
throughout the years that they will earn
their wages as they lead.
Lee Mueller said there is a danger
folks will see him as a ranger.
Sustainability's remainder:
healthy forests and trees.

As we listened to the students here
it quickly has become quite clear
that there's no need that we should fear
the future of our lands.
They've shown they already know a bunch,
and when life's pressures come to crunch,
we'll look to them, I have a hunch;
we'll see we're in good hands.

Doug Pearsall told us we're a part
of nature - told us from the heart:
conserve diversity, which, in part,
is trees and squirrels and tanagers.
Jon Fosgit told of their regime
for managing on a sustainable scheme;
from his description, it would seem
he's the Conservancy's kind of manager.

From stands of poles to stands of sap's
through judicious use of canopy gaps,
and, given years of time to elapse,
he'll soon see more diversity.
Protect the water; leave coarse debris,
no new roads; all streams flow free;
many research opportunities
for local universities.

Bernie Hubbard clued us in
to where the society's work has been.
(He's worked a lot of new things in
this morning's presentation.)
Membership, it seems, is key -
just who our members ought to be,
we've not reached unanimity -
still needs deliberation.

Exotic species threaten us;
ash borer creating quite a fuss;
the longhorn beetle could be much worse;
it's really pretty scary.
Somehow, we should take heart, he taught,
new borer sites are older than thought,
we can't afford a new onslaught
on our maple, oaks or cherry.

"But are we relevant," he asks
What are the needed research tasks?
Our science basis often masks
the social-related lessons.
Our regional structure's not the same -
in different places - different names;
these are some of the factors in the game
of dynamics in our profession.

So now we've looked at where we're from;
we've sat until our butts were numb,
and talked about the times to come
at this important session.
Our forebears set us quite a pace,
but still there are many paths to trace,
and challenges we still must face,
in pursuing our profession.

So let's set out with new resolve
to get new members and involve
the students 'round whom we'll revolve
in seasons yet to be.
We'll serve communities with cheer
and to our ethics we'll adhere
and all the while it's very clear,
it's more than a job, you see.

Our thanks to Mike and thanks to Don
for putting this fall meeting on,
may all the headaches now be gone
from putting this together.
To all the others, thank you much,
we must strive to keep in touch.
Keep working on the trees and such.
Now go enjoy this weather!


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Last update of this page was 13 November, 2008