Collaboration leads to effective decision-making

VERMONT — Employees from across the Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests met earlier this month in Rutland, Vermont, to begin a forest-wide conversation to identify ways the forests can reduce the time and cost of completing environmental analysis and making project decisions.

This meeting is part of the Forest Service-wide environmental analysis and decision-making change effort aimed at improving the agency’s ability to accomplish its mission in the best interest of the American public.

Any successful endeavor of this magnitude requires everyone to be on board. In the Eastern Region that has led to the formation of regional- and forest-level cadres to engage employees in this important effort.

The Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests’ Cadre organized a Jan. 10 town hall that was attended by 56 employees. During the meeting, participants heard from local and national leadership to gain insights on the national effort. Participants engaged in small group discussions to explore various ways of completing work on the forest and the impact of existing regulations and policies. They used the opportunity to share their experiences and to discuss new and innovative ideas.

Photo: Man in Forest Service uniform stands in the center of a room. People are seated at tables around him and a presentation is on a projector screen.
Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests’ Supervisor John Sinclair provides opening remarks to employees to set the stage for discussion around ways the forests can reduce the time and cost of completing environmental analysis and making project decisions.

Employees identified several key points, efficiencies, hurdles, strategies and suggestions that were recorded for potential future action. The next steps will be sharing key findings with all forest employees and discussing how to capitalize on the energy generated by the meeting.