An initial meeting for this effort was held in June 2006 and attracted approximately 50 leaders representing this broad range of interests. The meeting provided the opportunity to share information on the status of the threat of non-native forest insects and diseases, to seek input on a common vision and goals for potential collaborative action, and to identify a list of action agenda to provide a menu of more specific ideas to as to what actions the Dialogue might take to address the threat of non-native insects and diseases to our forests. The development of the final draft of the Dialogue’s Vision and Goals was accomplished in this event.
A second meeting was held in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2007. Capitalizing upon the valuable insights from the last event, the participants identified opportunities for action and developed strategies in support of such actions. Following the meeting six working groups were established to prevent non-native insects and diseases from arriving, surviving, and thriving on the continent: preventing the introduction of new pests and diseases; limiting the spread of pests and diseases in the United States; engaging private groups in forest protection; supporting the authorization of new federal action; encouraging increased federal funding; and communicating key ideas about protecting forests.
The third Dialogue meeting was held in December 2007 (Meeting Summary) in Washington, DC. The goal of the December 2007 Dialogue meeting was to advance collaboration around actions to address the threat of non-native forest insects and diseases. Participants learned about the progress over the prior nine months regarding the Dialogue goals; discuss where the six Workgroups were heading in 2008; and agreed on activities, individually and collectively, to take in the upcoming year.
Building on the success of the first three meetings and the ongoing efforts of the working groups, the Dialogue’s Steering Committee agreed to host an annual Dialogue meeting, in different parts of the country to 1) cultivate collaborations toward action to address the threat of non-native forest insects and diseases; 2) look for opportunities to link state and local actions to Continental Dialogue efforts to enhance national policies and strategies; 3) expand the effectiveness and reach of public and private entities and citizens in the battle against the non-native insects and diseases killing their trees; and 4) identify and agree on needed actions for the Continental Dialogue to take in the upcoming year.
The fourth Dialogue meeting was held in November 2008 (Meeting Summary) in Grand Rapids, MI. The participants shared their efforts to address these issues at the local level (throughout the Midwest and nationally) and learned about the progress of the working groups in order to begin mapping out activities for the next year.
The fifth Dialogue meeting was held in October 2009 (Meeting Summary) in San Francisco, CA. For the first time, field trips were added to the agenda. These trips, one to the National Ornamental Research Nursery at Dominican University of California (NORS-DUC) and Muir Woods National Monument and the other to the Port of Oakland, proved to be very useful as educational opportunities and for participants to interact away from the meeting room.
Building on the efforts at the fifth meeting, the Steering Committee evaluated the Dialogue’s progress toward achieving the vision and goals and agreed to move toward a more specific issue-driven approach to accomplishing the work of the Dialogue and away from the broader Working Group approach (while still maintaining the emphasis of many of the prior groups). The members, along with other Dialogue participants, defined a series of “Initiatives” (i.e., more narrowly focused issues) more conducive to the type of progress and impact the Dialogue strives to engender.
The sixth Dialogue meeting was held in October 2010 (Meeting Summary) at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. The participants shared efforts to detect, mitigate, and address invasive forest insects locally and nationally, and learned about the progress of the Initiatives, and provided input for Dialogue activities for the next year.
The seventh Dialogue meeting was held in October 2011 (Meeting Summary) at the Millennium Harvest House in Boulder, CO. The Participants were given the option of participating in a field trip around Boulder to see instances of Thousand Cankers Disease and other tree diseases. A portion of the meeting focused specifically on the unique pathways and issues in the Western United States around invasive forest pests and diseases.
Since its founding in 2006, the Dialogue had facilitated development and advocacy of coordinated policy positions. Policy work included organizing meetings with USDA officials and developing sign-on letters on such topics as funding (appropriations) for USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and USDA Forest Service programs and APHIS rulemakings. In 2012, significant changes in the source of funds to support Dialogue activities required that the Dialogue stop engaging on policy, but instead focus closely on science, outreach, and education.
The eighth Dialogue meeting was held in November 2012 (Meeting Summary) at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, CA. For the first time, the Dialogue held our meeting in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Partners in Community Forestry National Conference. Participants learned about local forest health initiatives, and provided input for Dialogue activities for the next year.
The ninth Dialogue meeting was held in November 2013 (Meeting Summary) at the Pittsburgh Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. After the successes of running a joint meeting in 2012, the Dialogue opted to again hold our meeting in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Partners in Community Forestry National Conference. Participants learned about local forest health initiatives, and provided input for Dialogue activities for the next year.
The tenth Dialogue meeting was held in November 2014 (Meeting Summary) at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC. Our relationship with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Partners in Community Forestry National Conference entered its third year, and the increased attendance and excellent partnerships that have resulted from this shared meeting time are mutually positive developments.