Working with partners – whether they be science collaborators, management stakeholders or science users – is not just the ‘way we do’ business at the Station but IS our business. Our collaborators are critical to delivering science results and findings, and helping us identify the relevant and emerging conservation issues moving forward. As our vision states - 'we invite you to join us.'
- Jan Engert, Assistant Station Director, Science Application & Communication
Partnerships at RMRS take many forms - official and unofficial. We collaborate across the region, nation, and globe on scientific research. We partner with other agencies, institutions, universities and colleges, non-profits and more to ensure our scientists are innovating for tomorrow's issues as well as addressing current land management needs.
In FY 2014, RMRS engaged in over 575 grants and agreements. The total amount of funding we provided externally to partners and collaborators in FY 2014 was $12,826,114. Many of our collaborations were official partnership agreements, which means our partners also contributed funding to the project. The estimated partner (non-FS) funding that supported RMRS (and cooperator/collaborator) research efforts in FY 2014 was $23,984,591. We expect a similar level of grants and agreements engagements in 2015.
RMRS also engages in informal and non-official ways with a variety of collaboratives, partners, and cooperators. Our scientists and professionals participate in multi-stakeholder restoration efforts, they speak to classrooms of children and deliver scientific talks to a variety of professional organizations, work closely with tribes, serve as co-authors on papers and share investigator duties for research projects, and they participate in many other efforts.
RMRS relies heavily on our partners to help us both develop and deliver science. In turn, we also pride ourselves on being a good partner. We encourage our employees to collaborate with underserved groups and promote inclusion of diverse perspectives in scientific dialogues, to contribute funding to new and innovative research efforts, to deliver quality and relevant products on time, and to ensure the science being conducted has the rigor and relevance that the American public expects and deserves.
Many of the project, tools, and related research pages highlight individual partnerships and robust collaborative efforts. Our Conservation Education page reports on our efforts to partner with schools, non-profits and others to get kids in the woods, and children exposed to science. Below we would like to highlight a few other unique efforts we are engaged in.
Tribes and indigenous groups have centuries of locally relevant experience in managing natural resources. This knowledge is vital to the Forest Service R&D mission of utilizing science to improve the health and sustainable use of our Nation’s diverse forests and grasslands. RMRS works with tribes across the Interior West, including the White Mountain Apache on timber harvesting and vegetation recovery after fire and the Inter-Tribal Fish Commission on fish genetics. Projects include white-pine restoration on the Flathead National Forest in Montana and native plant and tribal nursery management across the west and beyond. RMRS scientists mentor and consult with tribal youth, students, colleges, and councils.
In addition, the "FireWorks for the Pikunii Nation" is an educational program in partnership with the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab that combines information on the way of life of the Pikunii (Blackfeet) people with information on the science of wildland fire. This project includes learning activities unique to the Pikunii people and also materials from the original FireWorks program, supplemented and enhanced by Pikunii knowledge and traditions.
The new Planning Rule for the Forest Service requires the best available science be considered in all land management activities. RMRS has been at the table, working with land managers to help them establish their scientific documentation on various resource issues. We have partnered closely with the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region (Region 2) and Intermountain Region (Region 4) on their forest plan revision, specifically with their assessment process. While this opportunity allows RMRS to deliver our research to managers in this meaningful way, it also provides a pathway for conversations about what research land managers need that does not yet exist or that is underinvested.
Many RMRS scientists collaborate on issues of global importance, including wildfire, invasive species, wildlife, and more, through relationships with organizations like the International Union of Forest Research Organizations and other professional societies. RMRS is known for hosting international scientists on sabbatical and international post-doctoral students. Our scientists also travel to other countries to provide expertise, for example, in Australia on wildfire and in Brazil on silviculture and ecology. While we serve site-based, local, and regional interests, we also serve and cooperate with a global community of scientists.
Partnerships at RMRS happen at all levels. For questions about grants and agreements, please contact Cindy Gordon. For questions about science delivery partnership opportunities, please contact Nehalem Clark. For all other partnership questions, please contact Jennifer Hayes.