Ketelle on 12-month stint with Nature Conservancy
GSPI Managing Editor
White River National Forest supervisor Martha Ketelle is temporarily working for The Nature Conservancy in Boulder as part of a federal leadership training program.
Filling in for Ketelle as acting supervisor in Glenwood Springs is Glenda Wilson, who is the director of engineering for the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Office in Lakewood.
The job swap started three weeks ago and will last a total of 12 weeks.
“The purpose of leaving the job you’re in is to look at leadership from a different perspective than your own agency. We can do that in another agency, or by going outside government and looking at agencies that work with us,” Ketelle said.
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Top level officials in the Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy signed an agreement in 2001 calling for a high level of cooperation between the two organizations, so the connection was already established, she said.
“Because partnering and collaboration is so important to us now in the Forest Service, going out and learning about an organization we have already entered into an agreement to work closely with has value,” she said.
Ketelle’s goal while she works with the conservation group, which devotes much of its efforts to buying lands for preservation, will be learning how The Nature Conservancy enhances biodiversity and protects habitat.
Biodiversity is the variety of living things and the ecosystems they inhabit.
The chief of the Forest Service, Dale Bosworth, included the need to protect open space for biodiversity as one of the four main issues for public lands. As such, it’s an important focus of work for the Forest Service.
The other issues are fuels buildup, invasive species and unmanaged recreation.
“What The Nature Conservancy does is identify critical habitat and protect it for a large range of species. They do it by ecoregion, while we do it one species at a time, forest by forest,” Ketelle said.
Ketelle said she will be working on a specific project, which hasn’t been determined.
But its purpose will be to understand how Nature Conservancy scientists view the long-term success of species by comparing the environmental group’s ecoregion approach and the Forest Service’s species-by-species approach.
Ketelle wants to use her job swap time to study whether The Nature Conservancy’s big-picture approach could work for the Forest Service as the government agency seeks to protect endangered species like lynx or sage grouse.
Ketelle’s sojourn is part of a nationwide management staff development program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service. She is one of 80 department leaders in the program, and one of two in Colorado to participate.
This program is not related to a job swap Ketelle did in the fall of 2002, when she spent three months working as the recreation director for the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region office.
Contact Heather McGregor: 945-8515, ext. 517
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