13 Nov Reaching out at the Society of American Forester’s Conference
For my work on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act for State Private and Tribal Forestry, I traveled to sunny Sacramento for the Society of American Forester’s Conference. I drove down in my VW Jetta with a box of Smokey Bear swag, two 37-inch monitors, and two laptops to help set up on our booth. Our booth showcased the work of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act across the country both within National Forest System lands and in our partner projects typically under the jurisdiction of State, Private and Tribal Forestry. A story map I created, and a dashboard created by the National Forest System RAP interns, were on display for all to see.
Giving out goodies
The ‘booth’ was a cornerstone in the exhibit hall. It shared the corner with a USFS Forest Health Protection booth and the Wildfire Crisis Strategy booth as well. Placed in front, for all attendees to see, was a table chock-full of fun Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl swag. The fanny packs and bracelets flew like hotcakes. I noted that the whistles were popular with people who had nieces, nephews, and grandkids (though parents never picked up any for their own kids). Notably, Smokey Bear rain gauges were popular with those who had room in their luggage for them.
Forest Service in Full Force!
Around the corner, the USFS continued to represent with another booth highlighting “Region 05”. This is an administrative region of the forest service that consists of California, Hawaii, and other Pacific Island territories. On the other side of the hall, another USFS booth focused on recruitment. Upstairs in the conference hall, there was two whole rooms of USFS Regional representatives. They were doing a rush of hiring for Forestry Aid and Tech positions that had all opened at the start of the conference. The second room was full of laptops and HR representatives who were helping students apply for these jobs as well! The Forest Service was extremely well represented! The Chief was even on site on Friday to speak followed by a panel of BIL and IRA experts (my co-workers and supervisors!).
Last thoughts, see you next year!
Overall, it was fun to talk to people about wildlife, RAP, and forestry as they swung by the booth. My supervisor was happy to have a booth look so professional with monitors lit up by dashboards and story maps! Next year I’d like to see a line of three booths as the corner was taken up by the swag table. It really took a lot of the attention off from the tables behind it. A USFS hot spot will be useful too, as the WiFi was pretty bad. We were reloading our maps often, as they would freeze up when scrolling. This was such a great conference, and I am happy I was able to go. I even got to meet up with another RAP intern who is currently working in Shasta!