Strategic Plan 2010-2019
By Lane Green, Executive Director
A Strategic Planning Committee comprised of Trustees and key staff recently completed our next 10 year plan which was approved by the Board of Trustees at its September 22, 2009 meeting. The Plan reconfirms the purpose for the establishment of Tall Timbers as set forth in Henry Beadel’s Will in 1958:
- “..to conduct research on the effects of fire on quail, turkey and other wildlife, as well as on vegetation of value as cover and food for wildlife, and experiments on controlled burning for said objectives.”
- “..to manage and conduct ecological research…”
- “..to publish and distribute to the public generally any knowledge or information acquired as a result of such research, experiments and studies…”
- The Plan also reconfirms our mission…to foster exemplary land stewardship through research and education.
Goals are the pathways to success for an organization. Collectively they represent the policy level of planning for enterprise, answering the question-What should we do? The six goals of this Strategic Plan point the way to the future of the organization for the upcoming decade, consistent with the mission.
Those six goals include:
- Ensure the sustainability and conservation of natural and cultural resources and rural land use traditions of the Red Hills Region and in other strategic focus areas of the Southeast Coastal Plain that promote Tall Timbers’ mission.
- Provide scientific leadership for management and conservation by application of rigorous and applied research on indigenous floral and faunal species of fire dependent ecosystems of the Southeast Coastal Plain.
- Solidify Tall Timbers’ position as the preeminent institution for research, conservation and management for bobwhites by strengthening and integrating research on this species in the Southeast.
- Maintain leadership and a global reputation in the promotion and use of prescribed fire in fire-dependent ecosystems, with a focus on the Southeastern Coastal Plain.
- Increase the financial support base and long-term financial stability of Tall Timbers.
- Develop effective outreach, education and communication programs that include all of Tall Timbers’ mission.
A collective fifty years of lives associated with Tall Timbers have been invested in efforts to understand how to be good stewards of precious natural resources. During this time there have been numerous scientific and practical revelations, resulting in significant satisfaction among those of us who have been a part of the collective effort. When some of us were young, Mr. Beadel, Mr. Stoddard, the Komarkes and Leon Neel were household names associated with the Red Hills. There has been a generational change, and now the Red Hills belong to a new generation. It’s fascinating to see how much we still care about prescribed fire, bobwhite quail and conservation of all components of the Southeast Coastal Plain Ecosystem. The early pioneers saw the challenges involved in conserving these resources, and it was their vision that set us on the path to assuring their long-term survival, and to helping Red Hills landowners realize how important their lands and management practices are in achieving the vision.
After 50 years we are still talking about the best ways to manage open piney woods and the understory, wildlife habitats and the need for frequent fire. There are challenges in our path and they are significant:
- The right to burn is threatened;
- Quail and other grassland bird species continue to decline across their range;
- Urban sprawl in our area has grown 1,500% in 50 years;
- Environmental threats to clean water, air and threats to traditional land uses continue to increase;
- Current staffing units struggle to keep pace with research, conservation, outreach and advocacy demands.
Together, and following our Strategic Plan, we can overcome these challenges. The Tall Timbers Team is a family, and we are up to the task.
Whoever “owns” this Plan must be stewardship-conscious. As we learn more about what exemplary stewardship means, we will begin to better understand how our work fits into the valiant quest for ecological understanding begun by those who came before us.