The OkIPC Nomination Committee has solicited nominations for 5 At-Large Board members, President Elect, Treasurer, and Secretary. Below is information about each nominee. Please familiarize yourself with the candidates before the elections which will begin with online voting on January 5th and concluding on January 19th.
At-Large Board Nominees:
Jerí Irby is the Forest Regeneration and Tree Improvement Area Forester for Oklahoma Forestry Services. Irby is responsible for the OFS Forest Regeneration Center, also known as the state nursery, where OFS grows trees and shrubs chosen for their adaptability to Oklahoma’s climate and environment. Seedlings are sold to landowners and others for reforestation, wildlife habitat development, erosion control, windbreaks, and a variety of other environmental purposes. The facility is located on 120 acres south of Norman in Goldsby. Irby is also overseeing the Tree Improvement Center which conducts research, breeds and propagates genetically improved seeds for the state nursery. Serving as Education Coordinator with Oklahoma Forestry Services since 2012, Irby coordinated the environmental education program Project Learning Tree; directed youth forestry camp; developed and implemented forestry curriculum and managed outreach events throughout the state. Irby has served as secretary/treasurer for the Oklahoma Division of the Ouachita Society of American Foresters and is the recipient of the Ouachita Society of American Foresters Young Leadership Award in 2016 and Ted Silker Award in 2015. Irby holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Resource Conservation from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science degree in Land Resources and Environmental Science from Montana State University.
David Gerken is the Turfgrass Product Manager for Johnston Seed of Enid, OK. David joined the Johnston Seed Company in March of this year after 19 years serving as an Assistant/Associate Professor in Horticulture at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City campus. David has a BS in Vocational Agriculture and MS in Horticulture/Turf Science. In addition to his faculty experience at OSU-OKC he was a high school instructor back in the 1980s in Kansas, and following his MS program he worked in the golf course management industry and for an environmental solutions company prior to taking the position at OSU-OKC in the late 1990s. On the side David and his wife Cara maintain a registered cattle herd and a commercial stocker operation, They have also produced and market some specialty crops such as high tunnel vegetables.
Background: Marla Peek is Director of Regulatory Affairs for Oklahoma Farm Bureau, where she has worked for almost 30 years. Marla works with state and federal agencies to achieve the goals of the Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agricultural organization. Farm Bureau’s mission is to improve the lives of rural Oklahomans.
Marla grew up on a farm in Custer County in western Oklahoma, where her family grew wheat and stocker cattle. She and her sisters raised registered Duroc hogs. Marla has a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communications from Oklahoma State University, and a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Marla works extensively on natural resources issues, including water quality and quantity, invasive plant species, and threatened and endangered species. She has served on the boards of or worked with various natural resources conservation initiatives including the:
- Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council
- American Farm Bureau Federation Water Quality Task Force
- Oklahoma Eastern Redcedar Task Force
- Oklahoma Grazinglands Management Association
Some of the proposed, candidate, threatened or endangered species issues she has worked with include the Arkansas River Shiner, Lesser Prairie Chicken and the Monarch Butterfly.
Michael D. Porter is a senior wildlife and fisheries consultant with the Noble Research Institute in Ardmore, Oklahoma where he has worked for 37 years. Mike provides wildlife and fisheries management technical assistance to land managers in south-central Oklahoma and north-central Texas. Prior to working with Noble, he was self-employed as an independent wildlife management consultant to ranchers in South Texas and as a range research technical assistant for Texas A&M Range Research Laboratory. His career has been devoted to helping people, especially land managers, better understand and conserve wildlife and fisheries resources.
Mike earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences and a Master of Agriculture Degree in wildlife science from Texas A&M University. Mike is a certified wildlife biologist and a certified professional in range management.
Mike has considerable experience managing white-tailed deer, northern bobwhite, eastern bluebird, beaver, waterfowl, largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, grass carp, ponds, hunting leases, prescribed fire, woody plantings, aquatic vegetation, soil erosion as well as other natural resource issues.
My career of 45+ years in environmental management has included work for a pollution control agency and as director of environmental affairs for an electric utility corporation in four states, along with work on conservation projects in Latin America.
For the past 14 years, I have been the director of conservation for the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, overseeing the operation of our 12 nature preserves, new acquisitions, conservation program development and implementation, and partnerships with other conservation entities, organizations, and agencies. It was in this role that I arranged for and oversaw an ‘audit’ of invasive species management in Oklahoma in 2009. The results of that audit led me to create the Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council (OkIPC), to fill a need for coordination and facilitation among a number of stakeholder entities involved in one way or another with invasive plant species in the state. I designed the organization and guided development of the strategies and implementation plans for accomplishing the organization’s goals. I have been on the board since its inception and served as president for several years.
My years of overseeing operation of The Conservancy’s preserves, including their invasive species management programs, as well as working with a multitude of agencies and organizations, along with my creation and leading of the Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council, have all given me experience that is directly relevant to the work of OkIPC. I would love to continue to work with the OkIPC board to build on the board’s past successes and make further strides in managing the negative impacts of invasive plant species on our native habitats and wildlife in Oklahoma.
Background: Gregory has been practicing as a soil scientist for over 40 years, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service from 1976-2013; and currently, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission since 2013 following his retirement from the USDA-NRCS in 2013 as the State Soil Scientist for Oklahoma. His field experience includes Oklahoma, Alaska, North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas.
He earned his B.S. degree in Agronomy-soils in 1976. He earned his M.S. in Environmental Science-Geology in 1999. His thesis examined the interplay between fluvial and aeolian processes along the terraces of the Cimarron River in Major County, Oklahoma.
Greg serves on the board of directors for No-till on the Plains, an educational NGO in Kansas, and is a Director for the Lincoln County, Oklahoma Conservation District. He is a published author, including Soil Surveys, peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and popular publications. He represents Green Cover Seed, (Bladen, Nebraska) in Oklahoma. Green Cover Seed specializes in seed mixes for cover and forage crops, concentrating in soil health and plant diversity.
Greg lives with his wife Becky on a small cattle operation in Lincoln County, Oklahoma. They have a cow-calf operation, and experiment with forage and grazing systems.
Amy Buthod, Oklahoma Biological Survey
I have served as the Botanical Specialist at the Oklahoma Biological Survey since 2000. In this position, I am charged with overseeing the collections (approximately 275,000 specimens) of the Robert Bebb Herbarium and with participating in botanical surveys throughout the state of Oklahoma. During my tenure, I have collected approximately 18,000 specimens of vascular plants, both native and exotic. I am familiar with all of Oklahoma’s invasive plants taxa and, because of my ongoing, extensive field duties, am on the “front lines” when it comes to identifying new invaders to the state. For instance, in 2013, Bruce Hoagland and I discovered the presence of marsh dayflower (Murdannia keisak; Commelinaceae; Buthod and Hoagland 2013) in southeastern Oklahoma. Marsh dayflower is a fast grower and forms a thick mat of vegetation, reducing water flow and allowing it to outcompete native species. It is considered a noxious weed in Washington, and is on the “watch” lists of many other states. I believe my work could provide valuable knowledge to the Oklahoma Invasive Plants Council, and I would look forward to serving on the board as treasurer or in any other capacity.
Tonya Dunn, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Tonya has served as secretary already and her attention to detail in her minutes of the board meetings has been very valuable in recording the often fast-paced and complex discussions of the board members in a very readable style. Her representation of USCOE is also a value to us on the board, especially now that she is working in the aquatic invasives arena.
Karen Hickman, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University
I am currently Assistant Dean of Academic Programs in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Range Management and the Ecology of Invasive Species, and advise quite a few undergraduate and graduate students. My research program has focused on the ecological interactions of invasive plant species with native communities and the effects of management on plant population and community dynamics in the Great Plains. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Society for Range Management, president of the Enid, OK Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and previously served as president of the Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council, the Oklahoma Section of the Society for Range Management, and the Range Science Education Council. As a founding member of the OkIPC, I am confident that we can continue to influence how Oklahoma deals with invasive plant species. I am eager to continue to serve OkIPC again as President..