NIACS is innovative by nature, which means that every year is different as the organization grows and matures. But this year has brought unexpected and exciting changes to our team, and NIACS staffing has been more dynamic than ever before. Chris Swanston is working in a well-deserved role leading the USDA Forest Service’s national response to climate change, and I have taken on the leadership of the Institute. Two talented adaptation specialists joined NIACS this year, and students from Michigan Tech brought additional capacity to the team. Some of our Forest Service staff took temporary assignments to share and learn skills in other units, creating opportunities for us to invite others to temporarily join our team while filling in behind them. Our programs also continue to develop, and this year the Radiocarbon Collaborative reached a level of stability and impact that is enabling it to move out of NIACS and into its own program.
Where do we go from here? There’s a line from the movie Escanaba in Da Moonlight (which may not be known widely outside of Michigan’s U.P.!) that comes to mind:
For NIACS, that means that we will emphasize what we do best: working with people to support their efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change, and creating spaces for professionals to discuss and explore complex challenges for sustaining ecosystems in a changing world. Importantly, this focus on fundamentals is not a step backwards. Rather, it is a restatement of our organizational values and the value that we bring to climate response. As the USDA and the Forest Service—and the entire natural resources community—increase their efforts in this arena, we at NIACS are ensuring that we will meet sharply increased demand and continue providing leadership.
With kind regards,
NIACS Program Director