October 16, 2002 | By: Haven Miller

A University of Kentucky leadership development program is improving the team building and problem solving skills of natural resources professionals.

The Kentucky Natural Resources Leadership Institute brings together participants from various government agencies and the private sector to explore timely issues and examine ways different viewpoints can be brought to the table to find mutually-beneficial solutions.

“My participation in KNRLI in 1997 was extremely helpful to me in my work for three county conservation districts,” said Mary Kathryn Dickerson, district coordinator for the Boone, Kenton and Campbell county conservation districts.  “The institute gave me a better understanding of why some of the conflicts we were seeing had occurred, and how to go about resolving them or at least making the situations workable and productive.”

Past participants in KNRLI include producers, foresters, regulators, environmental educators, conservation district employees, agriculture industry representatives, citizen activists, private landowners, Extension agents and other professionals who deal with issues of public concern.

The training specifically emphasized improved communication and conflict resolution skills.

“The Institute enabled us to look at issues where sides were being drawn from different entities and to see how those issues were playing out and how we could use them as examples of how to deal with our own situations in the future,” said Tom Hale, operations manager for the eastern Kentucky area of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We learned how to establish trust and mutual understanding among entities with different views, because once you do that it’s much easier to work something through that might involve some emotional issues.”

KNRLI has been producing graduates since 1996.  Participants in the next KNRLI will attend six multi-day workshops occurring between January and June, 2003, and additional activities until June, 2004.  During the final 12 months participants design a project using their KNRLI skills.

“We begin with an orientation on January 10, and one of our six workshops will be a five-day field trip to Washington, D.C.,” said Suzanne Webb, KNRLI program manager. “Persons interested should be reminded that our application deadline is this October 31, so they should not delay.”

The registration fee is $600, with participants responsible for meals, travel and lodging costs. Total expenses are estimated at $2000 for the 18-month program.  Financial assistance is available. More information is available on the web atwww.uky.edu/Agriculture/Forestry/NRLI/htm, or from Suzanne Webb at 859-257-2943, orswebb@uky.edu.


Suzanne Webb, 859-257-2943