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Discourse is the language in which certain subjects within a particular field of study are spoken and written about. The communication used by each discourse community is familiar to all who work within each particular field of study. The professional discourse of the professional community of natural resources is scientific discourse. Scientific discourse requires fundamental knowledge of the natural sciences and the ability to apply scientific terms and ideas. Communication with others in a professional community is important for teaching and learning within natural resources. Being able to apply scientific discourse in one's career is needed to maintain credibility and to continue the learning process. Part of scientific discourse is communication with the public and making research and other information available to those who want to access it. There are guidelines for publication of writing that need to be followed. These standards of writing allow information to be uniform in appearance and maintain professional accuracy. In order to be a respected member of a professional society the proper discourse becomes an important part of language and is practiced and applied. The discourse is taught throughout a professional career and is constantly being added to throughout educational and field experiences.

Research Project


Discourse can be simply defined as communication of ideas and information, but discourse should also be considered the study of how language is used to share thoughts, influence others, and to define specific ideas to create meaning. Many people understand discourse as the “unit of language organized around a particular subject matter and meaning” (The University of Chicago 2006). There are many discourses that are used by many different groups of people, and each discourse is specific to the message that needs to be conveyed. The discourse used depends on the subjects being discussed and the language, both written and spoken, that is being used. The discourse one uses in a professional community consists of the rules of language used to effectively communicate with and understand one another in each particular field of study. In order to be taken seriously as a knowledgeable person of a specific subject, the correct discourse must be learned and applied.

To be able to communicate with the people that a person needs and wants to associate with, certain rules need to be followed for effective understanding of the language. There are discourse communities that have common goals, share an understanding, and have expectations of the language that should be used by all who are a part of the community. When one is a member of a discourse community, the language used should follow the structured ideas that have previously been used for ease of communication of ideas. Writing should not take place until the proper techniques for word usage, conventions, and context are understood and practiced (RiceOWL 2005). In addition, certain topics are expected to be discussed in individual discourse communities, while other topics that are considered irrelevant or inappropriate should not be considered. A discourse community shares similar thoughts and ideas that are often comparable to other discourse communities, but knowledge of a particular discourse is key in becoming part of the community.


Different subjects require different discourses and within the natural resources profession, scientific discourse is used to communicate ideas. To write using scientific discourse, one must write and speak to fit the standards that have been set and understand the expectations required by them. To use scientific discourse, knowledge of natural sciences such as biology are essential to build familiarity of the correct terminology that should be used in order to communicate precisely. For example, understanding the classification of taxonomic terms and the correct way to use them is important to communicating within the natural sciences. Scientific names are used worldwide and are part of the discourse of every professional studying natural sciences. Scientific discourse is notable for having “discursive space, and for such things as using more nouns than verbs, using a high level of abstraction, employing technical jargons, and minimizing self-reference” (Mizrach 2008). Using the proper discourse becomes the way in which all members of the scientific discourse community learn to write and speak to one another, and this language is reflected in their work.

Through a college education, the foundation for effective professional communication is established. In the natural resources profession, the educational opportunities that are available serve as the basis for communicating throughout one's entire career. As one becomes more familiar with subjects related to ones' particular educational and personal interests, the ability to express ideas becomes easier and customary. Through employment in a natural resources related field vital knowledge is gained through experience. Much learning comes as a result from having performed many duties, and the more experiences that someone has will lead to becoming a beneficial member of society. Those with the most experience lead the way in research and conservation and provide guidance to other professionals through their actions. As a member of a professional community, the need to continue learning and keep up with current events is essential to staying knowledgeable in order to gain and maintain credibility. To stay current about policies and research, various publications related to natural resources should be read and understood, meetings and conventions of professional societies within natural resources should be attended, and associations with other professionals in the field should be made to gain experience and knowledge.

An important part of communication in science related fields is understanding the practice of scientific naming. “Taxonomy is the science and process of naming living organisms” and through this process every recognized species on earth has a scientific name that consists of two parts, the genus and species (University of Michigan 2006). The names that are assigned to each specific organism are in Latin, which is considered the international language of science. The scientific names, although confusing to the general public, are meaningful to the science professionals who study them. Often the scientific names that are given to an organism are descriptive and give clues to relationships with other related species. Fluency in scientific naming aids in effective communication around the world. The common names of organisms are often misleading and numerous and can also vary from one area of the world to another and for that reason a complete understanding of scientific naming is essential for learning and teaching others within the natural sciences.


In natural resources, professional societies work to serve their members and inform the public about the importance of their work. Members of these societies strive to accomplish goals and live by the mission statement of the group. These professionals actively attend conventions, workshops, and meetings to interact with other professionals who share the same interests. These members come together to discuss, analyze, and learn more about their common goals. Making the effort to attend and be proactive at these functions shows dedication and garners respect. Groups such as the Soil and Water Conservation Society, the Society of American Foresters, The Wildlife Society, and the National Park and Recreation Association have websites that make information about them very accessible to those who want to learn more. Links to publications and other educational material are provided to anyone who wants access to it.

The publication of journal articles, reports, and books is regulated by peer-review, “which ensures the quality and accuracy of these professional, researched materials” (Washington State University 2006). Through the peer-review process, written work is judged by standards already set in research, methods, presentation, and quality. In natural resources, the format for writing that should be followed by all professionals is the Council of Biology Editors style guide. This guide sets the standards for writings and provides the basis for which reviewing and editing can take place. Along with format, the style guide also shows the proper way to use tables, numbers and units, times and dates, mathematical equations, abbreviations and acronyms, and punctuation (Chamberlain 2007). Those editing the work have control over what gets published and also have the ability to maintain standards.

Another important aspect of writing and speaking in natural resources is using language in effective ways to obtain grants and other forms of funding for research, facilities, and reaching goals. Speaking and writing well reflect on one's self and one's professional community in great ways and can lead to a more productive future. Without funding further developments cannot be made and current research cannot continue to the full extent and as a result interest in the subject may be lost. Reports also need to be written to give evidence that the appropriate research took place and the results need to be clearly stated. The language used needs to be professional and clear for those in charge of distributing funds to be able to understand.

Knowing the specific discourse of a particular profession is essential to a successful career. Not being able to communicate properly and not having an understanding of the appropriate subjects does not allow for advancement in any professional community. The scientific discourse used in natural resources provides a worldwide understanding for all who practice it. It is expected that professionals have a firm grasp of the language that defines their work and they must be able to effectively use it in verbal and written communication. The need for this common understanding leads to the accomplishment of common goals for the professional community. The use of language provides a way to show others the importance of one's work and without the ability to do so, significant breakthroughs in all career fields would not receive the recognition that is deserved. THE HISTORY OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Natural resources have always been a part of the earth, but proper management of them did not occur until the 1800s. Prior to that, settlers saw the resources of the open country stretching out in front of them as limitless. Trees in forests were cut down and prairies were made in to farmland. Wetlands were drained and roads were built to create access to the ever-changing landscape. The hard work and determination of several key individuals caused a change in environmental awareness that keeps increasing as time goes on. The need to conserve the natural resources of this country is an important issue that has had many significant events occur as a result. Human interaction with the environment takes place daily, and to conserve nature for future generations the proper understanding between man and nature must be met.


One of the most influential conservationists of the nineteenth century was John Muir. Among his greatest accomplishments was his devotion to the conservation and preservation of forested lands in the western United States. Muir was born in Scotland in 1838 and immigrated to the United States at the age of eleven. He spent his adolescent years in Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin, but he did not graduate. Instead, he observed nature and recorded his findings of plant and animal life. In 1867, he walked from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico to observe the country's plant and animal life and physical features. The following year, Muir traveled to California's Yosemite Valley where he studied the area for several years. During the 1880s, he became a horticulturalist and found interest in the study of trees and the great need for the preservation of natural, forested lands. He believed that land of unique beauty needed protection from exploitation of timber, grazing, and mining interests. For this reason, Muir became the driving force behind the establishment of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in order to preserve the great sequoia trees. The establishment of federally owned lands allowed for preservation and protection, as well as public enjoyment and economic value (Ryan 2000). In 1892, Muir founded the Sierra Club, which remains dedicated to his goals of preservation and exploration of America's wildlife and wilderness areas to this day. Muir played an important role in the establishment of national monuments, national forest reserves, and other national parks, such as Yellowstone National Park. In 1914, Muir died but his love for the American wilderness would forever live on in his writings. Throughout his life, he kept journals to record his observations and wrote books and articles that influenced many to follow his naturalist path.

Gifford Pinchot is often called the “father” of conservation because he was a firm believer in the wise use of resources to provide for future generations. He was born in Connecticut in 1865 and graduated from Yale University in 1889. After graduation, Pinchot went to France to study forestry. While overseas, he learned “the value of selective rather than unrestrained harvesting of forests” and applied what he learned in his position as chief of the Division of Forestry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which later became known as the U.S. Forest Service (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission 2008). He served as chief forester with this agency from 1898 to 1910 where he introduced scientific principles to forest management. Throughout his career with the Forest Service, Pinchot restructured the management and increased the number of national forest lands. He had a utilitarian based approach to resource management that provided the “greatest good for the greatest number in the long run”. In 1905, there were 60 forest reserves in the United States that covered 56 million acres; five years later, there were 150 national forests that covered 172 million acres (Forest History Society 2005). The large increase in national forest land in this short amount of time can be credited to Pinchot's concern for the conservation of American forests and his diligence in effective management of natural resources. Pinchot's leadership allowed him to accomplish many things not only within the federal government, but also within professional societies. He founded the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He also became the leader of the Society of American Foresters and worked to provide leadership and motivation for the management and protection of forests and resources.

Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States in 1901, but his love for nature was evident long before he was sworn into office. Before his presidency, Roosevelt spent time in the Badlands of North Dakota where he went to heal himself after the deaths of his mother and wife. The time he spent there made him aware of the damage that was being done to the land and the wildlife. He noticed that populations of some big game species were rapidly decreasing, grasslands were being overgrazed, and the habitats of birds and small mammals were being destroyed. When he became President, he took action and made significant contributions to the preservation of the country's natural resources. Roosevelt urged Congress to form the Forest Service to manage the nations' forest reserves, and also appointed Gifford Pinchot to lead the agency. During his time in office, Roosevelt set aside over 100 million acres of land to be protected from exploitation by commercial profit. This land included 150 National Forests, 51 Bird Reserves, 4 Game Reserves, and 5 National Parks (National Park Service 2008). In 1906, Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, which gave control of historic landmarks, structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest to the government. The first 18 National Monuments in the United States were established through this act. Theodore Roosevelt contributed more to the preservation of natural resources than any other president before him. To pay tribute to his accomplishments and his personal concern of natural resources, Theodore Roosevelt National Park was created in his name, his likeness was carved unto Mount Rushmore, and his homes and various other places were named after him. His efforts allowed for the preservation and conservation of natural lands for future generations to enjoy.

Another person who played an important role in the preservation of natural resources was Aldo Leopold. Aldo Leopold was born in Iowa in 1887 and he spent his childhood years hunting in the nearby forests, swamps, and fields where he discovered nature. He went on to Yale University to attend the School of Forestry and in 1909, after graduation, he joined the U.S. Forest Service. He was sent to work in New Mexico and this is where he recognized that the agency needed to do more for the environment than manage timber production. Leopold believed that wilderness areas were decreasing too fast and convinced the Forest Service to set aside 500,000 acres in New Mexico as the National Forest System's first wilderness area. In 1928, Leopold resigned from the Forest Service to spend more time researching wildlife and became a consulting forester. In the Midwest, he conducted surveys of game populations and published his findings in a textbook called Game Management. In 1933, he became professor of wildlife management at the University of Wisconsin, the first position of that kind in the United States. Leopold and other conservationists formed the Wilderness Society as a result of their concern of wilderness being lost. In 1935, Leopold and his family moved to a farm on the Wisconsin River where they rebuilt a chicken coop into a cabin that they called “The Shack” and planted thousands of trees to restore the health of the land. During the time he spent at the Shack, Leopold was able to observe nature and expand on his ideas about humans' relationship with nature. His thoughts were captured in A Sand County Almanac, where he introduced the country to the “land ethic”. Leopold believed that conservation is “a state of harmony between man and the land”, and that to achieve this harmony, humans need to have respect for natural resources and work to maintain the health of the land (The Wilderness Society 2008).

The writings of Rachel Carson contributed to the conservation and environmental movement of the 1960s. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1907 and had a love for nature as a child. Carson graduated from the Pennsylvania College for Women in 1929 and studied at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. She went on to Johns Hopkins University and received a degree in zoology in 1932. During the Depression she worked for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries writing radio scripts. She also worked for the Baltimore Sun writing articles about natural history. During her years with the Bureau of Fisheries, later known as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Carson was promoted to staff biologist, and later to chief editor for all the agency's publications in 1949. While writing many pamphlets about conservation and natural resources, Carson also wrote books that gave her recognition as a naturalist and writer of science. In 1952, she resigned from her position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to focus on her writing. The articles that she wrote gave attention to the beauty of nature and often showed that “human beings were but one part of nature distinguished primarily by their power to alter it, in some cases irreversibly” (Lear 1998). In 1962 one of her most famous books, Silent Spring, alerted the public to the harmful effects that pesticides and herbicides posed to wildlife and humans. She researched the misuse of these chemicals and their long-term effects and her findings challenged the way the government and agricultural workers used them. Carson received much attention for her work and the public's concern about the environment increased. The federal government took notice of this issue as well and reviewed the pesticide policy and some pesticide use was banned. Shortly after this took place, the Environmental Protection Agency was established to regulate and promote proactive solutions to environmental issues. Rachel Carson was the driving force behind the environmental movement and caused Americans to take notice of the environment around them.


In May of 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began an expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest for the United States government. The expedition resulted in the discovery of plant and animal species that were previously unknown. Lewis and Clark dutifully kept journals to record their findings of plant and animal life. During the course of the expedition, they recorded their first encounters of 122 animals and 178 trees and plants (Sierra Club 2008). Descriptions and illustrations filled their journals and allowed for understanding of this new area. This expedition lasted until 1906 and was considered the most successful expedition in United States history. The discovery of so many plants and animals greatly expanded the scientific knowledge at that time. Scientific names were given to many of these new species and allowed for additional research to be conducted to be able to understand their purpose in nature. Their discoveries were also mapped out to serve as a visual aid of their travels, which gave the world the ability to “see” the new and exciting wilderness.

A book written 1864 by George Perkins Marsh was reason for the conservation movement of the nineteenth century. The book called Man and Nature, called attention to the harm that people caused to nature. This idea differed from the thoughts of previous naturalists who believed that human impact was beneficial to the environment. Marsh lived in Vermont and made his living as a farmer and a congressman. His duties as a diplomat brought him to Europe and Asia, which is where he observed the damage done to agricultural land by humans. He witnessed soil erosion, water pollution, dust storms, and economic decline because of humans' harmful effects to nature. After returning to the United States Marsh wrote this famous book, in which he stressed that the environment was varied and complex but still part of a whole. The harmful actions that take place in one area can be linked to damage that occurred in another area. The ideas that he presented in this book were well received by the public and introduced the world to ecology and forestry policy (National Park Service 2008). This book caused the nation to take notice of the destruction of natural resources that was taking place and the need for management for the benefit of the nations' future.

The establishment of the United States Forest Service changed the way that the nation's forests were being managed. The U.S. Forest Service formed in 1905 to provide the nation with quality timber and water. This federal agency of the United States Department of Agriculture serves its purpose by managing the public land of the national forests and grasslands across the nation. First led by Gifford Pinchot, the U.S. Forest Service aims “to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.” Over the last 100 years, this vision has shifted to managing national forests and grasslands for multiple uses such as sustainable yields of “renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood, and recreation” (USDA Forest Service 2007). The Forest Service focuses on administration and protection of national forests while researching management techniques of forest, range, watershed, and recreation areas. The agency also works to improve wildlife habitat, forest product development, and fire and pest control. Cooperation with state and private forests across the nation is also essential for proper management to take place. The land managed by the Forest Service totals 193 million acres, which allows for much public enjoyment of natural environments all over the country.

The period of time from 1970 to 1980 is often referred to as the Decade of the Environment. During this time, many environmental laws were passed for such things as air quality, water quality, land use, and wildlife. Leading up to this decade, the writings of Rachel Carson and other ecologists caused awareness of environmental issues. In 1969, the first Earth Day was organized and continues to be celebrated every year. One of the most important advances made during the Decade of the Environment was the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA received the task of “repairing the damage already done to the natural environment and to establish new criteria to guide Americans in making a cleaner environment a reality” (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2008). Over the years, the focus of the EPA has changed. Originally, the EPA focused on developing and enforcing regulations, but now works more to promote a proactive approach to prevent problems. Among the numerous environmental acts passed during this decade are the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

The Endangered Species Act was passed by Congress in 1973 and aimed to help prevent the loss of species in the United States and has served as a model for other countries to follow. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service carries out the duties of this act by identifying species that are endangered or threatened. Species that are considered endangered are on the verge of becoming extinct and receive legal protection from hunting or any other form of killing. Threatened species are ones that are likely to become endangered in the future. This act promotes the protection of habitat of endangered species. The Endangered Species Act also requires that actions taken by federal agencies do not “jeopardize the existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat of such species” (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2008). This act is the most effective way to protect wildlife such as birds, reptiles, insects, and mammals as well as flowers, grasses, and trees from extinction. The establishment of this act was the first concerned effort made by the United States to combat the problem of decreasing populations in nature.

Over the years, the management of natural resources in the United States has made great advances. Many great people have made significant contributions that allow the public to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Environmental awareness has also greatly increased and improvements have been made to combat previous and future problems. The importance of human respect for natural resources is shown throughout history and continues to be the responsibility of all people. Effective conservation starts with proactive approaches by those willing to make the effort, which in turn leads to sustainability of the land for future generations to utilize and enjoy.


There are many resources that professionals in natural resources related career fields use on a regular basis. Reading these resources supplements prior knowledge, as well as increases the knowledge of professional understanding. It is important to stay up to date with the latest developments in research and policy to maintain an active and professional status. Many professional societies and other organizations in natural resources publish journals, magazines, and newsletters, as well as have websites that inform the public about their cause and keep professionals updated. These resources are beneficial to continuing education and are referred to often because of their reliability over the years. The Wildlife Society, the Society of American Foresters, and the National Recreation and Park Association publish the resources that are of significant importance in the natural resources profession.

The Wildlife Society (TWS) was founded in 1937 and works to “enhance the ability of wildlife professionals to conserve diversity, sustain productivity, and ensure responsible use of wildlife resources for the benefit of society” (The Wildlife Society 2008). TWS is an international association in which members are dedicated to the science and education of wildlife resources. Members of this professional society expand their knowledge and grow professionally through certification and conferences, as well as through working groups and peer-reviewed publications. Working groups are forums for the members where information is exchanged. These working groups work to publish newsletters, hold meetings, and organize symposiums and workshops. The benefits of joining a working group include advancement of skills, making connections with colleagues, keeping up to date with the latest information, and the opportunity to participate in special projects related to the wildlife profession (The Wildlife Society 2008). The Wildlife Society publishes several publications that address the science and education, as well as the policy, of the wildlife profession. The need to gather and distribute scientific knowledge has been an integral part of the mission of The Wildlife Society, and over the years TWS has published in-depth and high quality publications. These publications include the Journal of Wildlife Management, The Wildlife Professional, Wildlife Monographs, and The Wildlifer. All of these publications are made available to members through The Wildlife Society's website.

First published in 1937, the Journal of Wildlife Management is among the world's best “scientific journals covering wildlife science, management and conservation” (The Wildlife Society). It is published eight times a year by The Wildlife Society and also includes the work that previously had been published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin which is no longer in print. The Journal of Wildlife Management is available in print or can be accessed online by all members of TWS, or individual articles and journals may be purchased. To submit a manuscript to the Journal of Wildlife Management, specific manuscript guidelines must be followed. Authors must “understand the policy, procedures, format, and style of the outlet to which they are submitting a manuscript” (Chamberlain 2008). Manuscripts that are published contain information that is based on original research and contributes to the science of wildlife management.

The Wildlife Professional, published by The Wildlife Society is a magazine that is provided to all members as part of the membership fee. It was first published in the spring of 2007 to inform wildlife professionals “about critical advances in wildlife science, conservation, management, and policy” (The Wildlife Society 2008). The Wildlife Professional is published quarterly and features lengthy articles, summaries of scientific articles, and profiles of professional wildlife managers. Regular columns are also written to cover topics such as ethics within the profession, the connections between humans and animals, and health and diseases. The goal of The Wildlife Professional is to publish accurate information and solid arguments in a highly readable format. Submitted manuscripts are written in a way that makes the information easily understood by readers who are not experts in the field. Readers of The Wildlife Professional range from wildlife biologists and conservation officers, to policy makers and wildlife and conservation students. The Wildlife Society allows for access of this publication online with a fee to non-members.

Another publication of The Wildlife Society that keeps its members updated is The Wildlifer. This newsletter is the official publication of record of TWS and contains information about “conservation issues; TWS's section, chapter and working group activities; updates on membership programs and benefits; member news and meetings of interest” (The Wildlife Society 2008). The Wildlifer is published quarterly in electronic format and can also be accessed by non-members as well through The Wildlife Society's website. Print copies may also be received by the request of a member. Important information about upcoming events, government affairs, candidate statements, and the achievements of fellow members are highlighted in the Winter 2008 issue, as well as a message from The Wildlife Society President.

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) was formed in 1900 by Gifford Pinchot and is the largest society of professional foresters in the world. The Society of American Foresters works to “advance the science, education, technology, and practice of forestry” (The Society of American Foresters 2008). Members of SAF develop excellence in the forestry profession and enhance their competency and knowledge. They apply their skills and knowledge in conservation to ensure the health and wise use of forest ecosystems and resources. The Society of American Foresters provides its members with information and the opportunity to network with other professionals in order to prepare for challenges within the natural resources profession. The major belief of SAF is that forests are important to the health and welfare of all people and that forests must be sustained to meet environmental, economic, and community needs. Foresters who live by this belief are dedicated to implementing the proper forest management and conservation practices. They also work to provide the public with accurate knowledge of forestry. Members of SAF include natural resources professionals in both public and private settings, administrators, researchers, educators, and students. To keep members updated and to provide information to the public, SAF publishes several publications about the latest news, policy issues, and research about forestry and natural resources. The Journal of Forestry and The Forestry Source, along with The E-Forester newsletter keep forestry professionals up to date about the latest developments in the field.

The Journal of Forestry was first published in 1902 by the Society of American Foresters and is the most widely read forestry journal in the world. The main goal of the Journal of Forestry is to “advance the profession of forestry by keeping professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry” (The Society of American Foresters 2008). Topics of forestry discussed in the Journal of Forestry include economics, education and communication, fire, forest ecology, entomology and pathology, history, international forestry, silviculture, soils, recreation, wildlife management, and hydrology to name a few. It is published eight times a year and is received by all members of the Society of American Foresters. Members can also access the this journal online through their subscription, while non-members can purchase pay-per-view access of online archives. Professionals of forestry and natural resources, land managers, and policy makers are the audience to which this scholarly journal is written.

Members of the Society of American Foresters also receive the organization's newspaper, The Forestry Source. This newspaper is published twelve times a year and “offers the latest information on national forestry trends, the latest developments in forestry policy…, the newest advances in forestry-related research and technology, and up-to-date information about SAF programs and activities” (The Society of American Foresters 2008). The Forestry Source contains feature articles that examine significant issues, short articles on science and technology in forest science, articles of instruction about various forestry topics, and records of the activities of SAF at the national, state, division, and chapter levels. Non-members can receive the newspaper for a subscription fee, while members of the Society of American Foresters receive it as part of their membership. The E-Forester is a newsletter provided by the Society of American Foresters. It “is an easy-to-access email newsletter designed with the busy SAF member in mind” to keep them updated with the latest news in forestry and natural resources (The Society of American Foresters 2008). It is sent exclusively to members twice a month and each issue includes the top stories in forestry, news in sustainability and certification, the latest studies and research, and information about upcoming events.

Natural resources professionals who direct their focus to the recreation and park aspect of the field are often a part of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The mission of the NRPA is “to advance parks, recreation, and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people” (National Recreation and Park Association 2007). The belief of the NRPA is that parks and recreation enhance the quality of life by providing services and programs that meet needs and instill environmental values. They work to promote public awareness and gain support for the different recreation, park, and leisure activities, as well as the natural resources aspects of the management of these services. The NRPA also works to develop and improve recreation and tourism services while informing the public to give them a better understanding of the opportunities in nature available to them.

Park and recreation professionals look to the publications of the NRPA to stay informed, among these publications is Parks & Recreation magazine. This magazine is available to members of the NRPA to motivate and inform professionals, leaders, and citizens “to elevate the value of parks and recreation as a public service” (National Recreation and Park Association 2007). Every month, this magazine is published and features articles and columns about all aspects of parks and recreation to help professionals do their jobs more effectively and to increase the use of outdoor recreation areas. The NRPA is dedicated to advancing the conservation efforts that will improve park and recreation use for all people and their publications reflect this belief. The information and the insight within Parks & Recreation allows for parks and recreation to receive recognition and for the professionals who manage them to help them reach their full potential. The archives of this magazine are available online at the NRPA's website for anyone who wants to access to it.

The resources that are available to natural resources professionals are numerous and important. The knowledge gained while reading and using these resources helps advance a professional career and aids in teaching others. Staying up to date in the newest developments helps to gain and maintain status in a professional community. Being knowledgeable in the subject matter reflects in one's work and goes on to represent the quality of one's life and professional attitude. The ability to differentiate between reliable resources comes as a result of experience in the field. The trustworthy resources that pertain to the natural resources profession are very valuable to professionals. These resources should become a regular part of one's life and work and should be referred to often.


To be a contributing member of a professional community, one must effectively communicate with fellow professionals and the public. Communication allows for information to be shared which results in gaining the knowledge and understanding that is essential for career growth. In natural resources there are many skills that professionals must possess to communicate both in writing and orally. The communication skills that are necessary include an adequate educational background, a desire to learn and educate others, an interest in the history of the profession as well as knowledge of the current events, and membership within a professional society. All of these communication skills are essential to career in natural resources.

Education is an important part of developing good communication skills. Through a college education, certain levels of understanding are gained and are also expected by others in the same professional community. In natural resources one's educational background could consist of an Associates Degree, Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree, or Doctorate Degree. Typically a Bachelors degree is desired for most entry-level positions and serves as an excellent background because of the variety of classes that have been taken. General classes provide the basis for learning, as more specific classes provide opportunities for in-depth study. Additions are made to educational backgrounds through various work experiences, and opportunities to communicate with professionals and the public are numerous. Field experience greatly supplements the classroom education and in most cases allows for interaction with others with common interests and continued educational opportunities.

Another important part of communication skills is the desire to learn new things and the ability to educate others. The need to maintain and gain knowledge through continuing education is essential to staying updated in the natural resources profession. It is also very important to be able to provide information and educational opportunities to the public. Effective communication is crucial to create awareness of work done by a particular agency or to emphasize the importance of specific natural resources related issues. Working with the public to provide answers to their questions is frequently a large part of a natural resources career. Being able to share information with the public takes place by communicating in a way that makes the common knowledge of professionals easily understood by those who are not as familiar with the subject.

There is significant value in having a sincere interest for a chosen career field that fuels the desire to learn as much as possible about the history and current events. Having knowledge in these areas allows for professional growth as well as the ability to accurately share important information with others. Sharing information with others allows for interactions to be made with the public and helps to make connections and solve problems. While communicating with the public and catering to their needs, advances are made in communication skills as one encounters many people who all have different backgrounds. Diversity such as this increases professional communication abilities and serves as an excellent pathway for information to be shared with as many people as possible. Having the desire to share knowledge with others is an admirable quality that people take notice of and this will positively reflect in the attitude of the public and often bring respect to a professional society, federal agency, or other workplace.

Communication skills are also developed through membership with a professional society. Being associated with others who have made the same or similar career choices allows for a sense of belonging and the ease of communicating ideas and information with others. Specific language is expected to be used by members of professional societies and serves as the basis for written and oral communication. Effective communication is necessary at meetings and other events that other professionals and the public attend so that information can be shared. Active membership with a professional society allows for opportunities for valuable communication skills to be utilized. Many organizations serve as an advocate for a specific cause, and must be able to communicate their ideas to the government or the public in a positive way that will result in favorable reactions from others. This must be done in a considerate way and may require collaboration with lawmakers if the issue receives enough public support. It is important to educate the public and represent the mission of a particular society in order to accomplish the goals of professional organizations.


There are many forms of communication that are used in the natural resources community. These forms of communication are both written and oral and can occur on a daily basis or take place only once or twice a year. Some of this communication is quite informal, while some forms follow specific guidelines that require considerable effort from all involved. Websites, brochures, posters, interpretive programs, maps, meetings and workshops, newsletters, magazines, journal articles, and books are all examples of communication used by professionals in natural resources related career fields. These forms of communication allow for important information to be shared with all who care to do so.

There are many ways in which natural resources professionals communicate with one another and the public. Through the use of the official websites of agencies and organizations, information is exchanged and knowledge is gained by those who view them. The written communication of these websites represents main objectives, history, and current events that directly deal with the agency or organization. For example, the websites of the National Recreation and Park Association and the United States Forest Service contain information about the various aspects of their organizations. There are numerous links to follow for related information and resources for the viewer to maximize their knowledge base of natural resources. Each website also offers the viewer to send for more information, to email members of the organization, or to submit any questions that they may have. With this option available, the viewing public can communicate in many different ways (National Recreation and Park Association 2007; United States Forest Service 2008b).

Brochures, maps, posters, displays, and interpretive programs are all forms of communication that are a part of daily life for most natural resources professionals. In outdoor recreation areas such as parks or forests, many visual aids serve as the way recreation users communicate with the agency that manages the recreation area. Many of these visual aids promote the area and urge people to utilize it. They also place emphasis on important issues that the public should be made aware of. The Black Elk Wilderness and Norbeck Wildlife Preserve Trail System in the Black Hills National Forest has a brochure that contains general information about the trail system and provides expectations for visitor use, maps and contact information, and gives detailed descriptions of the various trails that are a part of the system. In many state and national park settings, visitors come to enjoy the beauty that surrounds them and also to learn about the historical and ecological history that goes along with the area. Interpretive programs teach visitors in ways that allow for interaction and give them something to think about as they enjoy their visit. At Mount Rushmore National Monument, Ranger Walks are guided tours on the Presidential Trail where a park ranger speaks about Mount Rushmore and the natural environment around it. Programs like these give visitors insight about some of the issues that matter most in the natural resources profession (United States Forest Service 2008a; National Park Service 2008).

Many of the professional societies in natural resources hold meetings, workshops, and conventions. These events allow for professionals to gather in one place and communicate with one another and anyone else in attendance. The Wildlife Society has an annual convention that provides great opportunities for professional growth where one can learn about new research, management practices, and policy issues. There are also opportunities for attending workshops as part of the convention where hands-on approaches to new techniques are learned. This annual event allows for networking among the 1,500 wildlife biologists that are in attendance. As a result of attending a convention like this, thoughts and ideas are exchanged and everyone comes away with more knowledge to share with others. The newest developments are often presented at events like these and those in attendance should share the information that they received with others to allow for maximum communication to take place (The Wildlife Society 2008).

The journals, books, magazines, and newsletters that are written by and written with the natural resources professional in mind provide an excellent way for information to be stored and to be shared. Anyone with access to these publications can gain knowledge from the writings about new developments, research, and events. These forms of communication can be read and contributed to on a daily basis. Current issues of journals, magazines, and newsletters are published on a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly basis and work to keep the professional community updated in many ways. The publications of the Society of American Foresters are numerous and supply foresters and natural resources professionals with information about forestry in the different environments of the United States as well as publish the Journal of Forestry, which the premier scholarly journal in forestry. These sources not only keep professionals updated, but they also are essential for students who are researching the various aspects of natural resources. Many of these publications are available in an electronic format as well, which allows for people from all over the world to learn about forestry in general and the purpose of the Society of American Foresters (Society of American Foresters 2008).

Communication is a very important part of any career and allows for professional growth and works in many was to inform the public. The forms of communication that are used in natural resources most often involve working with the public to assist them and answer questions about various aspects of natural resources. Both written and oral communication allows professionals to interact with people and to share valuable information. It is essential that professionals have communication skills that allow for positive interactions to take place and for the greatest amount of information to be shared with those who need it.


It is important that specific sets of rules for writing in each profession are established. These rules or style manuals set the standards for writing and allow for all documents to be similar in design with content being the only difference. Style manuals provide a framework for writers to keep documents organized. The style manual used by those in the natural resources profession is the Council of Science Editors (CSE), formerly called Council of Biology Editors (CBE) style manual. The CSE style manual is used by the Journal of Wildlife Management and serves as a basis for manuscript guidelines being submitted for publication.

The Council of Science Editors (CSE) strives to promote the effective communication of information in science. The purpose of the council is to provide its members with scientific communication by means of discussion, education, and exchange. The CSE is the authority of the “current and emerging issues in the communication of scientific information” (Council of Science Editors 2008a). This council used to be known as the Council of Biology Editors (CBE) and the name change occurred in January of 2000 to better represent the membership. The CBE was created 1957 by the National Science Foundation and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The CSE has approximately 1,200 members and works closely with many organizations that publish scientific data and research (Council of Science Editors 2008b).

The CSE style manual “is the format preferred by writers in many disciplines in the natural sciences, including biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics” (UNC University Libraries 2007). This style manual focuses on the citation style that documents should have in scientific writing. When using the CSE style manual, two different citation styles can be used, the name-year system and the citation-sequence system. The in-text citations and the listing of works cited appear differently for these two styles. When using the name-year system, the last name of the author of the source is cited in the text followed by the date and enclosed by parentheses. The citation corresponds to the reference list at the end of the document. The citation-sequence system gives each source used in the text a number the first time is appears and if the source appears again it is given the same number. At the end of the paper, these numbers are listed along with the publication information about the source (

The CSE style manual that is used for all scientific writing differs from the style manuals that are used in other professions. Another commonly used style manual is the American Psychological Association (APA) style manual that is used in most social science classes ( The CSE and the APA style manuals are different in the way that in-text citations and the works cited are set up within the paper. There are also differences in the formatting of the paper as a whole. As previously mentioned, CSE has two methods that can be used for in-text citations. APA has one style where quotes and paraphrased material is cited by parentheses where “each parenthetical citation refers to a complete citation found in the list of references at the end of the paper” (Duke University Library 2007). The names of author are often used to introduce the quoted or summarized material in APA format, and in that case, the year and page number(s) are documented parenthetically. When the author, year, and page number are all cited parenthetically, each item is separated from the others with a comma. When using the name-year style of CSE, the author and date are cited parenthetically as well, but are not separated with a comma.

The document formatting that is required by the CSE and the APA style manuals has similarities and differences. Both styles have title pages where the title, author, course name, and date appear centered on the page. Margins are set at least one inch on all sides and line spacing is always doubled for both styles. Immediately after the title page, an abstract that summarizes the entire paper is often required by both CSE and APA. The abstract is usually one paragraph in length and bibliographic references are not to be included. Each style also encourages the use of headings to keep the paper organized. Depending on the length and depth of the paper, subheadings can also be utilized according to the specifications of each style manual. The references are also listed differently at the end of the paper for each style. The names of authors are listed with last name first, followed by the initial of the first name and are separated with a comma for each style. The date follows the author information, and is listed differently for each style. CSE simply lists the year while APA uses the year followed by comma, the month and the date, which are all enclosed by a set of parentheses. Both styles list the name of the title of the book, article, report, or webpage next followed by the name of the publication or the location of the publisher. Page numbers are listed last, and if applicable, website address is listed along with date of access (

The little differences that are evident in these formatting styles are what set apart each specific style manual.

Literature Cited

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