Announcing the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC)
After 26 years, the FEMC, formerly the Vermont Monitoring Cooperative, is expanding to become a regional cooperative. The challenges facing northern forests demand a deeper understanding of the long-term trends and stresses that drive change. To meet this need, we have developed a regional approach that builds on the VMC model by bringing in partners from neighboring states across organizational and disciplinary boundaries. Over the past year and a half, FEMC staff and cooperators have developed multiple pilot projects to expand our work to Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York, and the time is right to transition to a regional Cooperative - the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative.
May 8, 2017, the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC) is born and the new website launched.
You can learn more about the history and future of the Cooperative from the announcement at our 2016 Annual Conference, and some key questions are answered below.
What is the region?
The initial expansion added on members from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York. The FEMC continues to deepen the engagement with partners in these states while seeking opportunities for further expansion in the future.
How is this larger Cooperative governed?
To better engage states, the FEMC restructured its committees. The Steering Committee still provides overall strategic and budgetary direction for the Cooperative, including the setting of regional priority issue areas. To develop these regional priorities and determine the state-level work to address these issues, the FEMC now has State Partnership Committees for each participating state bringing together members from different agencies and disciplines. Finally, the Advisory Committee has become an Advisory Resource Group that provides the expertise needed by the FEMC staff and Cooperators to execute its mission. These committees meet together annually to set regional priorities for the next year.
What happened to the website and database?
The website has been restructured and rebranded to match the new structure of the FEMC and the new logo, and was launched on May 8, 2017. However, the main services will remain exactly the same, and all links have been transfered over. The FEMC staff continue to maintain and build the archive of data available to Cooperators, and add on new features and resources as needed to serve the expanded Cooperative. In addition, FEMC has increased outreach efforts to open up the archive and give people direct access to add new data. FEMC continues to expand the sophistication and integration of its website by becoming a member node in DataONE, offering the minting of digital object identifiers and the launching new collections such as the dendroecological database.
What happened to the Annual Conference?
Thanks to our partnership with the UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, the FEMC Annual Conference will still be held at University of Vermont in December, and is scheduled this year for December 15th, 2017.
What happened to the Vermont monitoring programs?
The FEMC is still committed to maintaining as much long-term monitoring data collection as possible. The committees are working now to figure out how best to support the long-running programs in Vermont as we navigate this transition. Some operations such as our air quality work are self-sustaining, while others will be weighed against the available funds and the relative priorities for those programs.
How can I get involved?
As always, we are on the lookout for new cooperators and ideas. Here are a couple ways you can get involved:
- Contact us to add your name to the Cooperator Directory
- Contribute data to the Cooperative
- Attend the Annual Conference
- Join the listserv to stay updated on the latest happenings of the Cooperative
Have questions or suggestions? Want to get involved? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to hear from you!