By Blake Podhajsky, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Four years ago, that simple phrase was officially voted in as the slogan of ACI. Nevertheless, we have been connecting since 1938 when the Association for Conservation Information officially began. Attending our recent conference at Lake Tahoe, I was reminded why this slogan perfectly encapsulates who we are as an organization.
Spending several days with like-minded colleagues from all over the country, from Hawaii to Maine, from Alaska to Florida, I was able to connect with people who share the same experiences I have as a communicator. We gathered to share success stories, to express frustrations, brainstorm ideas and collaborate to further our mission of natural resource conservation.
However, attending the annual conference is not the only way we can collaborate. ACI is so much more than a three-day event. ACI provides a web of contacts, resources and craft-improvement opportunities for us, and it closes the gap between state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and supporting groups. Seriously, how awesome is this opportunity we have to be a part of this organization!
Personally, ACI has provided opportunities that have made me a better person and has given me access to a network of professionals I can lean on for help and advice. ACI has also afforded me lifelong friendships with some of the brightest and most interesting people I have ever known. When I attended my first conference in 2012, I looked around the room and thought to myself “these are my people,” and I strived to be as involved as possible.
What we do as communicators for the greater good of conservation is vital, and working alongside extremely talented people like you is inspiring. I hope you also recognize this, and I encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities ACI provides for us to connect and work together.
Reach out to any of our board members and officers if you are interested in serving on a committee. Take advantage of several multistate grants ACI facilitates. Stay engaged by reading The Balance Wheel newsletter and following ACI on Facebook and joining the ACI Group Facebook page for two-way interaction with other members.
Do you have an idea you would like to share to benefit ACI and our members? Feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com anytime! These are only a few examples of the resources we have at our disposal, and I can’t wait to announce more soon as we have some great things in the works for our members.
As your new ACI president, I am excited to work alongside truly amazing, passionate and dedicated people like you! What we do as communicators plays a massive role in furthering our outdoor heritage, and the role we play as the Association for Conservation Information is significant to that mission. To lead this organization is an opportunity I don’t take for granted, and I look forward to connecting with you all.