From the President: Celebrating 100 Years of Natural Resources
As the president of Idaho’s leading research university, I get to see a lot of Idaho. Traveling across the Gem State usually includes up-close-and-personal views of our abundant natural resources. Whether touring our innovative sawmills, visiting the rangeland at Rock Creek Ranch in Hailey, or just hiking the Selkirks with my family, I appreciate the chance to see firsthand the role natural resources play in our state.
Those natural resources offer opportunities for our quality of life and economic development. They also come with inherent challenges. How do we manage our resources — meeting the needs of the present and planning for the future — amid competing interests? What can scholarship and research contribute to our economic vitality and overall well-being? How can innovation and discovery make an impact in national and global settings?
For more than a century, the U of I has excelled at answering those questions. In 2017, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of our College of Natural Resources (CNR) — a century of vital leadership on the research, educational and community engagement aspects of natural resources. Those efforts are bolstered by scholarship and teaching from across our land-grant university.
This issue of Here We Have Idaho highlights how U of I is handling these critical issues and educating the next generation of leaders. You’ll get your own look at Rock Creek Ranch, where research is happening at the intersection of conservation and rangeland management. You’ll see interdisciplinary work happening everywhere from our proposed Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment to a nursery project in Togo. You’ll even take a jaunt out to our Taylor Wilderness Research Station — a unique site for interdisciplinary research in the heart of the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states.
An important focus of the university in the past two years has been the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena, newly named thanks to a generous investment from ICCU. The arena will serve our student-athletes as they compete for championships. It will contribute to an outstanding environment for our entire U of I community. It will provide experiential learning opportunities — see this article for a great example of civil engineering curriculum anchored by this project.
As I often stress, we are the University of Idaho. Mass-timber construction has recently emerged in building projects in the United States, catching up to such use in other parts of the world. The arena we envision showcases the design and construction possibilities of engineered wood, made by industries that have their roots, very literally, in the soil of our great state. We’ll show the world what an Idaho building is all about.
In the future, as visitors come to ICCU Arena at the U of I in Moscow, they’ll get a window into the educational, research and industry engagement possibilities we’ve embraced in our natural resources disciplines for 100 years. They’ll have a glimpse into the special Vandal history and connection to our natural resources, and the possibilities in action that I’m lucky to see every day, every week.
Chuck Staben, President