June 7, 1999
To whom it may concern,
In March of this year, the California Indian Forest & Fire Management Council hired Mr. Chris Maser to present a week-long training on ecosystem management. The training was attended by personnel from tribal forestry programs and the Bureau of Indian Affairs from throughout California.
While the training centered around the roles flora and fauna serve in the environment, it was presented in a fashion designed to make the recipients aware of the critical need to consider many thousands of values when ground-disturbing activities are being proposed. When one thinks about the relatively few values we were considering prior to Mr. Maser's presentation, it is obvious that as land managers responsible for the livelihood of present and future generations, we have to re-educate ourselves on what proper ecosystem management means to our people.
In addition, Mr. Maser stressed the need for all individuals, from forest managers to forest technicians, to be involved in the project design and implementation, a concept not fully appreciated by us prior to the training. The reasoning behind his thesis became apparent when the training moved from the classroom to the field and we began to see how our plans were being carried out by staff not fully aware of the overall goals.
Overall, Mr. Maser was masterful in his presentation. Not only did all individuals fully understand what he was saying, but we all learned that the ecosystem does not end at our land ownership boundaries; rather, it was evident that what we do on our land can have an adverse impact on those that live downstream and, ultimately, in the future.
In closing, I encourage other land managers and their staffs to take Mr. Maser's course. It will be a definite eye-opening experience.