Time is running out to submit a nomination form for NACD's national service awards. Too often, the folks responsible for making conservation partnerships, practices, programs and projects successful go unnoted. That's why NACD's Annual Awards Program strives to recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding work and leadership in soil and water conservation. Be sure to nominate your conservation leader by Friday, Aug. 31!

NACD offers two national awards categories for you to consider:

  • Friend of Conservation Award - recognizes an individual, business, organization or agency outside the association for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our nation’s natural resources. Any individual, business, organization or agency that is not directly associated with conservation districts at the local, state or national level is eligible to receive this award. Nominations can be made by any individual, organization, agency or conservation district.

  • Distinguished Service Award - recognizes an individual within the association, a conservation district or state association that has made significant contributions to the conservation and proper management of our nation’s natural resources. Nominees can be involved with districts or the association at any level, including past NACD officers. Nominations can also be made posthumously for individuals and may be submitted by any individual, organization, agency or conservation district.

Winners will be recognized at NACD's 73rd Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 2-6, 2019. Every nominee will receive a certificate of honorable mention along with a copy of the nomination that was submitted on their behalf. Please send in your nomination for this year’s NACD national service awards before time runs out!


In 2018, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded $9 million through their technical assistance grants program to fund more than 200 technical assistance projects nationwide.

The Howard Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in northeastern Iowa utilized these dollars to assist local landowners with planning, design, land surveys and implementation of streambank management. In Howard County, 11 projects have been selected for bank stabilization practices, totaling over 6,000 feet of improved streambanks.

Howard SWCD District Technician Hunter Slifka submitted this technical assistance success story to NACD, describing the work the district has done in partnership with local landowners to facilitate streambank restoration. How has your district or state association benefited from the technical assistance grants program? Let us know.


Last week, NACD inducted Don Spickler from Maryland into the Hall of Distinction. Spickler began serving his local board, Washington Soil Conservation District, in 1971. He climbed the ranks in the district, beginning as a member and quickly assuming the roles of treasurer, vice chair and chair. In 1979, Don became the first vice president of the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts (MASCD). Additionally, he served as treasurer and president of MASCD, and as chair of the Maryland State Soil Conservation Committee (SSCC).

On the national level, Spickler served on the NACD Board of Directors, and held the position of Northeast Region Chair from 1989-1992. Throughout the years, he chaired the Coastal and Urban Committee, the Audit Committee, the Finance Committee and served on the Resolutions Committee. In 1999, Spickler became a member of the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) Board of Trustees, going on to serve as treasurer from 2003-2014. He also helped strengthen the NACD Presidents Association, serving as secretary-treasurer from 2002-2012.

Spickler helped to support the NCF and the Presidents Association during difficult years, ensuring their success. He and his wife Mary Jane saw the potential of the NCF to expand Envirothon and to better support NACD operations. “Don was always willing to serve and to lead the cause of conservation forward at the local, state and national levels,” say his nominators. Read more about Spickler’s legacy on the Hall of Distinction webpage.


On Tuesday, Aug. 14, the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) celebrated the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the first conservation district in the state. The Winona County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was established in 1938 under the name “Burns-Homer-Pleasant Soil Conservation District”.

The all-day event included presentations on the legacy and future of Minnesota’s districts; a conservation bus tour; and an opportunity to view displays of stream restoration, a rainfall simulator, a 26,000-piece Whitewater Watershed LEGO model, and a fly fishing demonstration.

“This anniversary represents a major milestone in voluntary conservation with landowners not only for the Southeast Minnesota region, but for the state as a whole,” said MASWCD President and NACD Soil Health Champion Kurt Beckstrom. “The Winona County SWCD supervisors and staff should take pride in the legacy of resource stewardship they’ve helped create over the years.”


In July 2016, the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Georgia was awarded an urban agriculture conservation grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Their urban agriculture conservation project was multi-faceted, focusing on being food connectors and food cultivators in their community. The district taught people young and old how to grow their own food and assisted with the installation of 15 teaching gardens at 15 schools. At one of the schools, Flint River SWCD assisted with the implementation of a garden-to-cafeteria initiative.

The district helped with the installation of six community gardens – four were a collaboration with the Georgia Department of Health Southwest District, the Albany Parks and Recreation Department and the Boys & Girls Club. One community garden was installed at a Senior Enrichment Center, with a second garden as part of their outdoor classroom, containing a local aquarium.

Flint River SWCD increased opportunities for people to have fresh produce. Through their ‘Fresh Box’ program, in one year, the district has delivered over 40,000 pounds of fresh produce in their weekly Farm-to-Table produce boxes. They also work with the local housing authority to bring produce to low-income neighborhoods bi-monthly through their Mobile Farmers Market. The district brings fresh produce to local businesses, events, restaurants, schools and organizations with their Pop-Up Farm Stands and Fresh Harvest Distribution Network.

To sustain the work begun through this grant, Flint River SWCD formed Flint River Fresh, a 501(c)(3) organization in the city of Albany, whose mission is to increase access to fresh, local produce; create new economic/marketing opportunities for local farmers; and develop a new generation of young agri-preneurs (agriculture entrepreneurs) in Southwest Georgia. Learn more about Flint River SWCDs work on their 2016 NACD Urban Grant Recipient webpage.

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