Please take the time to read the candidates’ nomination statements below before voting.
Polls will be open until 5:00 p.m. January 15, 2016.
Russell Stevens, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
I am a wildlife and range consultant and Strategic Consultation manager for the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. I have worked for the Foundation for over 26 years. During this time, I have helped many landowners learn about and implement management practices that are beneficial for native plant communities critical for wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services. I have also had the privilege to serve the OK Section Society for Range Management as President (two times), board member and various committee assignments as well as the OK Chapter of The Wildlife Society as President and on various committees. Additionally, I have served as an OkIPC board member for the past several years. Invasive plants in Oklahoma should be a concern to all landowners and professionals across the state. Awareness is the first step to prevention and I’d like to continue to help OkIPC with its efforts.
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.
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.
Chadwick Cox, Oklahoma Native Plant Society
I, Chadwick Cox, renominate myself to serve as the Treasurer. Keeping the accounts for this 501c3 corporation with limited financial transactions and amounts is the easiest treasury I have ever maintained. We do have our bank account here in Norman and both I and Priscilla are cosigners, so if there was a problem with the account, we would be readily available. Although moving the account would be easy, this banking is free and currently convenient.
At-Large Board Members
Lydia Calhoun, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University
Lydia is a Bachelor of Science graduate of the Natural Resource Ecology and Management program at Oklahoma State University. Since Graduating in 2012 Lydia spent 6 months interning with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an Environmental Technician at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Following her internship Lydia was employed with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission in Muskogee from October of 2012 to June 2014. While working with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission Lydia gained experience in habitat restoration along stream sides as well as controlling invasive species in Oklahoma. Since June of 2014 Lydia has been employed with Oklahoma State University under my direction in our roadside vegetation management program as an Extension Assistant in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Lydia helps to conduct herbicide research studies for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) as well as train ODOT employees in plant identification, vegetation management programs, weed control programs as well as herbicide selection, handling, safety and use.
Lisa M. Castle, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
I am a plant ecologist who teaches at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Since my doctoral work at the University of Kansas, my research focus has been plant population ecology with a focus on conservation of edible and medicinal plants and their habitats. Studies into habitat conservation and population dynamic have become investigations into invasive species in many cases. One of my teaching goals is to help undergraduate students (most of whom are not planning on careers in the environment) become curious observers of their botanical surroundings. I’ve found that because there are so many of them (alas) and because the populations change quickly, invasive species and other weedy plants are a great introduction to field work. During my five years at SWOSU, I’ve involved over 200 students in collecting data on local populations of Ailanthus altissima, Cyclanthera dissecta, and Sorghum halepense. Several students have completed follow-up projects and many have reported noticing invasive plants in their home communities that they had never before noticed.
I am also a gardener and daughter-in-law of Kansas ranchers, so I am well aware of some of the practical costs of dealing with invasive plants. I make no claims about knowing “the solution” to invasive plant issues, but I feel strongly that educating a broad audience as to the problems is an essential component of any successful strategy. I would look forward to working with others on the OkIPC as we try to combat invasion and protect habitats.
Clayton Hurst, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University
Clayton Hurst is a 2012 Bachelor of Science graduate of the Natural Resource Ecology and Management program at Oklahoma State University. His background experiences since graduating include 8 months of experience working for a construction damage abatement service performing site restoration and in some cases remediation to the land areas affected during the construction phases of wind farm and electrical transmission line projects. Since February of 2013 Clayton has been employed with Oklahoma State University under my direction in our roadside vegetation management program as an Extension Associate in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture where he supervises one staff member. Clayton leads and helps to conduct herbicide research studies for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) as well as train ODOT employees in plant identification, vegetation management programs, weed control programs as well as herbicide selection, handling, safety and use.
James Locke, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
I have Master of Science in Agronomy-Weed Science from Texas A&M University, where my thesis project was johnsongrass control in corn with an experimental herbicide and tillage. After graduate school, I managed a private, contract research company for 15 years. We conducted research on a wide variety of crops, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, plant growth regulators, regulated genetically modified crops and adjuvants. The bulk of our work was regulatory, although we also conducted numerous replicated, small-plot efficacy trials. I have been at the Noble Foundation for 11 years as a soils and crops consultant. In this capacity, I have worked with a large number of farmers and ranchers on weed and brush control issues. In working with producers, we do not approach the problem from an “invasive” viewpoint but rather from how they affect production of managed pasture, range or cropland. I am a certified crop advisor and a member of the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants, Weed Science Society of America and Southern Weed Science Society. What I feel that I would bring to the board is that production focused viewpoint and knowledge of weed science and integrated pest management principals.
Marla Peek, Oklahoma Farm Bureau
Oklahoma Farm Bureau has an ongoing interest in invasive plant species and what the costs are to agricultural producers. In particular we have concerns about the spread of eastern red cedar and the lack of fire to control it. I would like to continue to bring the production agriculture perspective to the OkIPC board.
Michael D. Porter, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
I work as a senior wildlife and fisheries consultant for the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. I have worked for the Foundation and in Oklahoma for 35 years. I worked in three natural resource positions in Texas for a few years prior to coming to the Foundation. Through the Foundation, I provide wildlife, fisheries, and range management technical assistance to land managers in south-central Oklahoma and north-central Texas. I have a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences and a Master’s degree in wildlife science. I am a certified wildlife biologist and certified professional in range management. My career has been devoted to helping people, especially land managers, better understand and conserve, wildlife, fisheries and range resources. I have considerable experience managing white-tailed deer, northern bobwhite, eastern bluebird, beaver, waterfowl, largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, grass carp, ponds, aquatic vegetation, prescribed fire, woody plantings, hunting leases, soil erosion as well as several other natural resource issues.
I am concerned about several invasive species interfering with wildlife and fish habitats and populations, and replacing native plant and animal communities on our rangelands and in our streams. I would like to help stem this unwelcome invasion.
Jay Pruett, Director of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy/Oklahoma
I would like to toss my hat back into the ring for consideration as a board member for the Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council (OkIPC). My role as past president is ending, but I am still very much interested in continuing to serve as a board member in the furtherance of successful management of invasive plant species that threaten our native ecological resources.
For the past 12 years, I have been the director of conservation for the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, overseeing the operation of our 10 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 an ‘audit’ of invasive species management in Oklahoma, the results of which led me to create the Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council 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 helped develop the strategies and implementation plans for accomplishing the organization’s goals. I have served on the board from the beginning 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 invasive plant species attacks on our native habitats and wildlife.
Mike Schnelle, Extension Specialist and Professor, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University
I believe I could make a contribution given that my specialty area is ornamentals which tends to be some of the more controversial plants. I continue to serve as the OSU rep for the Oklahoma Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA). My main goals would be to find common ground/compromise in the form of using more male plants, sterile selections or using related species less likely to escape cultivation, etc. I will be incoming chair (2016 or ’17) for the Invasives Working Group with the American Society of Horticultural Science. Perhaps my role at the national level would also be of value to the OkIpc?