Author: Randy Mandel
Contributed by Randy Mandel, Senior Restoration Ecologist, Golder Associates; President, Society for Ecological Restoration, Central Rockies Chapter; Vice President, High Altitude Revegetation Committee; Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, Colorado Riparian Association.
The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) is a non-profit organization composed of individuals and partner organizations from around the world who are actively engaged in the repair and recovery of degraded ecosystems utilizing a broad array of experiences, knowledge, and cultural perspectives. SER members include scientists, planners, administrators, consultants, indigenous peoples, landscape architects, teachers, artists, engineers, natural resource managers, farmers/growers, community leaders, and volunteers. Founded in 1987, SER now has members and partners in more than 60 nations with chapters and networks serving states, provinces, and regions of North America, Europe, Latin America, and Australia. SER is also working actively to expand its presence in Asia and Africa. Additionally, through the University of Wisconsin Press, SER authors the well-regarded scientific journal Ecological Restoration.
SER’s mission is to promote ecological restoration as a means of sustaining the diversity of life on Earth and reestablishing an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture. SER’s primary focus is to advance the science and practice of ecological restoration as a tool for recovering biodiversity and ecosystem services, thereby addressing some of the most pressing environmental challenges facing humanity and the biosphere: namely desertification, land and water degradation, and the associated loss of sustainable livelihoods. In addition, ecological restoration plays an important role in ameliorating the drivers and effects of climate change by increasing carbon storage capacity and ecosystem resilience.
Established in 1996, the Central Rockies Chapter of SER (CeRSER) serves the states of Colorado and Wyoming. The objectives of CeRSER are:
- To generate ongoing community-based volunteer ecological restoration activities and projects on public and private lands in order to foster a growing sense of connection for participants with indigenous ecosystems;
- To develop ecological restoration as a science, art, and conservation strategy through research and activities related to all areas of restoration, creation, and management of ecological communities;
- To promote the exchange of information related to ecological restoration through newsletters, society publications, and meetings, and to educate the general public, public agencies, private groups, and institutions through events, public programs, workshops, publications and guidelines on restoration, creation, and management of ecological communities; and
- To advise and consult with public agencies regarding improvement of standards and criteria for restoration, creation, or management of ecological communities.
Over the past two years, CeRSER has been instrumental in facilitating various conferences, field trips, and pub talks through internal outreach and collaborative ventures with various kindred groups such as the Colorado Riparian Association, the High Altitude Revegetation Committee, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Society for Range Management, the Mountain Studies Institute, and the Wyoming Center for Reclamation and Restoration. Activities to date have included:
- In January of 2014, Jonas Feinstein (USDA-NRCS) and Steven Yochum (former USDA-NRCS) presented CeRSER’s inaugural pub talk on “Ecology and hydrology of fires and floods: Applied science in a changing landscape” at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado.
- In March 2014, a pub talk at the Lazy Dog Tavern in Boulder, Colorado featured Meredith Gartner from University of Colorado, Boulder. Meredith presented on “Wildfire in the Colorado Front Range: Using tree rings to reconstruct fire history and lessons learned from the Fourmile Canyon Fire.”
- In November of 2014, “The Douglas Core Area Restoration Team: Who we are and what we do” was presented by Dr. Peter Stahl, Director of the Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center at Altitude Chophouse and Brewery in Laramie, Wyoming.
- In January of 2015, a pub talk by Dr. Dave Buckner, President of ESCO Associates Inc., titled “Evaluation of plant species diversity in reconstructed ecosystems: Ecology and metrics” was presented at the Irish Snug in Denver, Colorado. This pub talk was co-sponsored by the Denver Botanic Gardens.
- In March of 2015, in collaboration with the High Altitude Revegetation Committee, CeRSER held an International Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado that attracted 265 registrants and featured 40 oral presentations and 28 poster presentations. Keynote presentations by Dr. Jim Harris (Cranfield University), Dr. Pete Fule (Northern Arizona University), Dr. Susan Meyer (US Forest Service), and Dr. David Cooper (Colorado State University) provided the insightful context to novel ecosystems, forest restoration in changing climates, exotic species, and wetland restoration opportunities.
- In March of 2015, in collaboration with the Colorado Riparian Association and New Belgium Brewery, a sold-out pub talk and book-signing was held in Fort Collins, Colorado by best-selling author Kevin Fedarko featuring his book “The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon.”
- In May of 2015, in collaboration with the Mountain Studies Institute, Dr. Anthony Chang, Director of the Colorado Fire Restoration Institute and Professor in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship at Colorado State University, presented a pub talk on “Fires, beetles, floods – oh my! Lessons learned from the work of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute.”
- In July of 2015, in collaboration with the High Altitude Revegetation Workshop and the Wyoming Center for Reclamation and Restoration, CeRSER held a field tour of Pinedale reclamation projects, including a wide variety of oil and gas pad projects.
Future activities include collaborations with the Southern Rockies Seed Network and other partners. Further information about CeRSER can be found on their website at: http://chapter.ser.org/centralrockies/.