Archive for the ‘FORNESSA/FORIC’ Category

By the Numbers

A few numbers from the trip.
(The table formatting is off but I think you can figure it out.)

24 Days in travel status
21 Nights in hotels
7 Different hotels
24,896 Miles: Air miles flown (runway to runway)
24,901 Miles:

Earth’s circumference at the equator

14 Number of flights (different planes)
8 Different airports
7 PPTs given, written, or helped to write
3 Countries visited (spent over night – not just airport stops)
13 Geocaches found
2 Fish caught
77 Blog posts (including this one)
unknown Cups of coffee consumed




Project work is winding down.  This morning I went over to IUFRO and did a few small things with Michael, wrote emails that I would send once I got back to the hotel (Internet is still down at the IUFRO Headquarters) and this afternoon we had a meeting with Executive Director Peter Mayer.  (It is worth looking at the previous link so that you can see photos of some of the IUFRO folks I keep mentioning in the blog.)

The meeting with Peter went well and it was more-or-less the wrap up of the 3 weeks of travel.  The FORNIS and GFIS projects remain ongoing and there is lots to do to make sure that things stay on task but it is time for me to start backing away from so much hands on work and let the true workers of these projects do their jobs.  It will be my task to keep up with everyone over email and offer advice and help as needed.

Time has come to not make a sound
Time has come to lay my burdens down

So don’t pay me no mind, I’m walkin’ away
You’ll see me again on some other day
You’ll see me again, I’ll be ready to go
And pour out my (work) with
my heart and my soul

(This is really not my last blog post… I am just feeling spent for the moment and wanted to quote JB again.)

Friday Night 7pm

Glamour of IUFRO Meetings

Glamour of IUFRO Meetings

FORNESSA Networking Week is over but Michael and I are still trying to do some work on things from the week before the drift away from our brains.

After sending out an email to the meeting participants full of typos, I decided that I can do work – but I need to keep my mouse away from the emai send button!

Gonna go downstairs and grab a bite to eat and then get back to work.

Another Day, Another Powerpoint

Never count your Powerpoints, when you are sitting at the table
There will be time enough for counting, when the day is done.

PPT Prep

PPT Prep

Friday morning in Malawi and our group has been tasked with a few more assignments with the end result being the creation of another powerpoint presentation this afternoon.  At this point I have no idea how many PPT files have been created but I know that I have a few more than I came with and a few that I did not use.  At the end of the meeting I plan to do a count and list it on a “numbers” blog post.

My hope of the moment is that Eero and Juha don’t require me to create another PPT when I am at Metla and that Michael does not require any more PPTs when I am at IUFRO!  ;-)

Afternoon Presentation

Stella just presented the work of the group to a plenary session.


The scientists and their questions are exactly like the ones in discussion of Treesearch design along with what information is put online in the USFS R&D.  Yeah, I know…. people are the same all over the world… but this afternoon discussion is almost word for WORD!  Is there some sort of world-wide private training the foresters go to that teaches them to ask the same questions of Webmasters?!?!

I feel like I am in a time warp!

Flashbacks of MEO Work

This morning our group has been working on the patio outside the hotel lobby.  The weather is nice – sunny and dry, and the surrounding geography reminds me of Tucson, Arizona.  Not exactly the same, of course, but close enough to give me flashbacks of work on the MEO work from a few years ago.

Is this my lot in life?  Traveling to interesting places only to sit in hotels and work with other techies about how to better manage our jobs?  Perhaps.

The major draw back to this extracurricular work is trying to juggle the work of these special projects while maintaining some semblance of control concerning the my primary duties for the Southern Station.

These trips and projects are challenging and exhausting. But the upside is that I get to meet and work with some of the best people in the US (and the world).  On occasions you feel as if you are making a difference for the better, and you know, there are worse ways to make a living!

MEO Work

MEO Work - December 2006


FORNESSA Work - June 2009

MEO Group Photo

MEO Group Photo - December 2006

FORNESSA Group Photo

FORNESSA Group Photo - June 2009


Stella Acquah,  Ghana

Stella Acquah, Ghana

Because of the constantly changing schedule and needs/demands of the Steering Committed, the FORNESSA Information Managers are spending  the morning working on a presentation to be given in a Plenary session this afternoon.  What is our topic you might ask….?  Oh, nothing big – just everything we have done as a group and our work plan for the next year!!!!

As appropriate, my higher profile role in the group is winding down and so I will not do the presentation this afternoon.  *whew*

I have hacked out a PPT (or at least started it) and then handed the keyboard over to Stella and she is adding slides and she will represent the group this afternoon.

I am feeling really proud to be part of this project.  :-)

Providing the plan is accepted, the next step is to do my best to communicate the details of the general PPT and my scribbling notes to Juha and the folks at Metla.

Better Day

Today has been much better than yesterday. 180 degrees (Ï€ radians – not temperature) better.

The delegations from from Kenya and Cameroon have arrived and we seem to actually be making progress. :-)

It is 6:30 local time and I am off to dinner. I have to write up my notes from the afternoon work session and then, as usual, I will try to do one last post before calling it a night.

FORNESSA Information Managers  + Randy

FORNESSA Information Managers + Randy

FORNESSA Countries

List of countries represented at the FORNESSA Networking Week:
(Click on the country flags to learn more.)

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso











One PPT Down, Three More to GO

Now that all expected FORNESSA members have arrived in Blantyre, we are back on schedule and trying make up for lost time.

Joe and Michael have given a couple of presentations this morning and I did a tag-team PPT with Michael just prior to our lunch break.

This afternoon we’ll break into groups and, hopefully, make more progress than yesterday.

Compass is a Hit

Compass at FORNESSA Networking Week

Compass at FORNESSA Networking Week

Compass is a huge hit with people from FORNESSA.  While the research from the Southern United States is not directly related to research in Sub-Saharan Africa, the idea of synthesizing forestry research into this type of magazine format is getting LOTS of attention and compliments.

These foresters and other scientists are actively reading the copies I brought with me to Malawi. They enjoy both the writing style and the graphical layout.  Keep in mind that these are folks that see a great deal of International publications through IUFRO, CIFOR, and FAO so they are in a position to judge high quality work.

I know that Compass receives awards from folks in the US and now they can say they are receiving inter-continental acclaim.  Great job Compass Team!

Back At It

Time to push the string.

Frustrating Part 2.

The maddening part is today is that we are not moving at the speed at which we should.  Our time in Blantrye is limited and we need to be as productive as possible.  This meeting is a follow from a meeting in Ghana in October and we should be working on specific assignments.  So much to do, so little time. (Cliche but true.)

We can’t seem to get traction on the critical tasks.  Yes it only Monday but we only have 3 more working days.  Maybe we are making progress but it is hard for me to discern.   We could not (did not) keep to the original agenda because 1/3 of our group had not arrived.

As frustrating for as today was for me, I am sure that it was more so for Michael.  *shrug*  Well, maybe not.  Perhaps I am projecting that his Germanic sense of efficiency would be more susceptible to the setbacks.  Or maybe it is me and my low tolerance for sorts of situations.

Still, Michael assures me that “within normal limits” for this soft of gathering.

But let’s keep this in perspective.  The meeting is supposed to include thirty-five people.  Of those thirty-five people, eleven missed their flights to Blantyre and had to stay in Lilongwe last night.  These eleven people were also not able to catch the flight down to Blantyre this morning, however they should be here tonight.  We’ll see.  Seven other people who made it to Blantyre arrived without their luggage.  And at least two other fellows of Liberia were not issued the proper visas when they entered the country and they are still dealing with emigration officials.

So…. I made it to town, my luggage made it to the hotel, and I am not having to deal with the local government officials.  I am one of the lucky ones.


Frustrating day.

Just damn frustrating.

6:15pm local time and I am just getting back to my room.

Morning Photos

Plenary Session

Plenary Session

Information Managers Meeting

Information Managers Meeting