The NR Way
The NR Way is a philosophy and an attitude that defines us as natural resources stewards. The NR Way philosophy includes a sense of history; an understanding of where we have come from and what others before us have done to conserve natural resources and to move the discipline forward. The NR Way philosophy also includes appreciation, an appreciation of the efforts of our predecessors, our colleagues, and those who will follow in our footsteps. Finally, the NR Way is a philosophy of respect; respect of self, respect of others, and respect of the natural systems that guarantee our existence.
Attitude is how we align ourselves and our actions with the principles of the NR Way. We begin every day with a choice, a choice of what our attitude will be that day. If we begin the day by reflecting upon the philosophy of the NR Way, it becomes simple to adopt an appropriate attitude. By considering the great variety of gifts that have been passed along to us and the creativity and commitment that this took, we cannot help but be left with a sense of respect and a feeling of obligation to use these gifts wisely and to pass them along to others. This attitude defines successful natural resource professionals, and this is the attitude we will help you to develop.
Our job as natural resources instructors is to prepare you to become a successful natural resources professional. We do this through imparting you with knowledge, providing you with opportunities to develop new skills, and helping you to understand the NR Way. It is not enough to simply understand natural systems and their management, or to effectively communicate this understanding with others. To be successful you must also develop the attitude that will make your efforts meaningful and ensures that future generations will awake each day to the same gifts that you do today.
Commitment. To become a resource professional requires commitment. We demand your commitment to this program – it will become your first priority over the next couple years. During your time at CLC, you will need to make the time to attend class and lab, study, participate in NR Club activities, and complete one or more internships. Committing yourself to these obligations will help you to develop an attitude (and a resume) that will ensure your work as a natural resource professional. Your commitment will also result in lifelong friendships with others in the NR Program.
Integrity. Your integrity is defined by the behaviors and actions you take … when nobody is watching. Integrity begins at CLC with practicing academic integrity. This includes doing your best on every assignment or task, turning in your own work, and not cheating on exams or quizzes. Your integrity is one of the attributes that employers prize most highly. If your name is signed to something, it should guarantee the work behind it – your signature should mean something.
Character. Adversity does not build character, but rather it reveals it. Character is facing challenges with a positive attitude and persevering. Work in a natural resources discipline offers many opportunities for character to be revealed; being out on a cold and windy day in January, having a long list of field tasks to accomplish, or working alone, are just a few of these opportunities. Completing your tasks with a positive attitude, even though you may be cold or tired, makes the experience more enjoyable for you and others. Always remember, as natural resources professionals you have the greatest job in the world!
Responsibility. During your time at CLC you will have the opportunity to take on great responsibilities. Those opportunities are earned, by your attitude and performance. The opportunities also carry with them heavy expectations. We will reward you with responsibilities, not as punishments, but rather an acknowledgement by us that you have proven yourself and are capable of even greater accomplishments. Seek out more responsibility during your time here and demonstrate you are up to the task.
Respect. Respect is an appreciation of others and their differences. Our discipline demands that you are respectful – respectful of natural resources, of the agencies and organizations that you may work for/with, and of others. You do not have to agree with the opinions of others, but you must respect them. As instructors we expect that you will treat your peers with respect, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or beliefs – everyone brings something valuable to the table. We also demand your respect of the natural systems and organisms you will be working with.
Appreciation. The opposite of appreciation is expectation or entitlement. Entitlement is the attitude that you are owed something. No one owes you anything – it is up to you to earn your opportunities. Opportunities and responsibilities in our program are awarded based on performance and attitude. You must also earn your way in the profession when you leave school – your education and training in NR does not entitle you to a job. Embrace each opportunity you are given with a sense of appreciation, rather than one of entitlement – feeling this was owed to you because you have completed your degree.
Punctuality. You will hear many times in the next couple of years, “if you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late”. This means that you arrive at every class, lab, and activity and are prepared and ready to begin at the appointed time. Punctuality is a trait highly valued by all employers, a trait and attitude that we will demand of you. Make the necessary adjustments to ensure that you arrive to all your obligations “on time” and prepared for whatever the day will bring.
Leadership. We will give you many opportunities to have leadership experiences while in the natural resources program. As you develop your leadership skills and prove yourself in these roles, we will reward you with additional opportunities. These new roles may be uncomfortable at first, but with time and experience you will quickly master them. We will push you past your comfort level in these and other activities so that you may discover that you are capable of more than you realized. Don’t respond to these opportunities by saying “I haven’t done this before” or “I don’t know how to do this”. Rather trust that we have placed you in a position where we know you can succeed, even if you are unsure of your abilities.
Applied Attitude Adjustments
As instructors, we will not only provide you with the knowledge and training necessary to excel in natural resources work, but we will also emphasize the attitudes that define the NR Way. During class, labs, NR Club meetings, field trips, and in the CLC hallways we will be instilling in you these attitudes necessary to become successful professionals. A few of these, with our expectations, are listed below. Each instructor may emphasize these attitudes in different ways, but they are all intended for your benefit.
- You will be expected to arrive at class, labs, and all activities on time and prepared. This includes having all necessary materials needed and appropriate clothing and equipment for outdoor activities with you.
- You are expected to actively participate in class – offer insights and ideas when appropriate, pay attention and take notes on the relevant points, participate fully in small group activities.
- You will not miss any classes or labs. If circumstances arise that require you to miss a class, you will contact your instructor beforehand letting them know you have a conflict and making alternate arrangements.
- You will take part in classes, labs, and activities using appropriate behaviors – do not talk out of turn or act in disrespectful or embarrassing ways.
- You are expected to follow written and oral directions accurately and completely.
- When in the public (e.g., working banquets or attending community meetings) you will dress appropriately and conduct yourself in a professional and responsible manner that reflects well on you, the program, and the college.
Most of all enjoy your short time with us – you will look back upon these experiences and relationships fondly as you progress through your career. It is our privilege as instructors to work with you and our responsibility to ensure you are ready for work in the profession, including an understanding of the NR Way.