Texas A&M institute adopts new name, continues same mission

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Roel Lopez, 210-277-0292, roel.lopez@ag.tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION – A Texas A&M institute dedicated to solving complex natural resource challenges through discovery, engagement, innovation and land stewardship has changed its name but not its mission, according to the institute’s director.

What was formerly the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources is now the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, or NRI.

“One should understand the essentials of an organization’s work and mission by its name,” said Dr. Roel Lopez, director of the institute since 2012. “That’s one of the primary reasons we made the change.”

Lopez said the institute has offices in College Station and San Antonio with additional personnel at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas and in Washington, D.C. It operates as a unit of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Lopez said the name change, effective June 1, is part of a strategic planning and brand-building process the institute began a few years ago and culminated this year with an updated name, brand and website.

He said the institute’s work is focused on improving the conservation and management of natural resources through interdisciplinary and applied research that engages policy makers, land managers and citizens.

“Our primary work is with endangered species conservation and military land sustainability, so the word ‘renewable’ did not help to precisely describe that work,” he said. “The majority is in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and state agencies such as Texas Parks and Wildlife Department … entities whose focus is on the conservation of natural resources on both private and public lands.”

Lopez said the institute’s capacity to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research is a result of its research team’s broad range of capabilities and expertise; strong partnerships and collaborations with universities, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders; and the ability to identify and fill information gaps for scientifically sound and effective natural resource policy and outreach.

“We wanted a name that would also better reflect our vision for a future where the benefits of private lands are enhanced and the value of land stewardship is promoted and strengthened,” he said.

Lopez said the name change and brand building is reflected in the institute’s revamped website at https://nri.tamu.edu/.

“We also took this opportunity to refresh our website and make it a more effective communication platform,” he said. “We reorganized the home page and made the site more succinctly communicate what the institute does and why our work matters to the residents of Texas and beyond. Our intent is simply to better describe what we do — not to change the scope of our work.”

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