ANNUAL MEETING TWO WEEKS AWAY
NACD’s 73rd Annual Meeting is only weeks away! At this time, registration is on-site only. Begin making plans for your time in San Antonio, Texas, by reviewing the meeting agenda, speaker line-up and scheduled breakout sessions and conservation symposia.
NACD is pleased to announce Ducks Unlimited, Inc., CEO Dale Hall (pictured) will be providing a keynote speech during Monday morning’s General Session. Hall has headed America’s leading wetlands and waterfowl conservation group since May 2010, bringing with him a vast expanse of conservation knowledge and experience.
In addition to owning his own natural resources consulting company, Hall spent more than 30 years with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with the last three as its director, appointed by President George W. Bush. He previously served in several capacities with the USFWS, such as regional director for the Southwest Region in Albuquerque, N.M., and deputy assistant director for fisheries in Washington, D.C. Hall has a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky., and a master’s degree in fisheries science from Louisiana State University. He is the author of numerous published papers on wetlands, fisheries ecology and other topics.
NACD looks forward to what’s sure to be an action-packed annual meeting. While making preparations for your week in the Lone Star State, don’t forget to pack a book. The 2019 Annual Meeting will mark the 12th year running for NACD’s community outreach program “Pack-A-Book.” Through “Pack-A-Book” and the generosity of annual meeting attendees, NACD has donated more than 1,300 books to elementary schools located within our annual meetings’ host cities.
This year’s Pack-A-Book donations will be received by Kuentz Elementary School in Helotes, Texas. Kuentz’s colors are black and silver and their mascot is the coyote. Kuentz Elementary is part of the Northside Independent School District, which is based in San Antonio.
Be a part of this project by packing one or more natural resource, environmental or conservation-related book(s) for your trip to San Antonio. Simply drop them off at the Stewardship and Education Exhibit in the Conservation Expo Hall sometime during the 2019 Annual Meeting or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for shipping instructions.
For a wide selection of books with conservation themes, consult the Pack-A-Book webpage.
NORTH CAROLINA HOSTS 75TH ANNUAL MEETING
On Jan. 6-8, 2019, about 400 soil and water conservation district leaders met in Durham, N.C., for the 75th Annual Meeting of the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (NCASWCD). The program featured updates from state leadership and other partners, training for supervisors and staff, and recognition and awards for conservation districts, educators and farm families. Recovery from recent hurricanes was a common theme throughout the event.
NACD Secretary-Treasurer Kim LaFleur shared an update on the programs, projects and resources NACD offers to conservation districts. NACD Board Member and Southeast Region Chair Franklin Williams introduced Candice Abinanti, NACD's new Southeast Region Representative, to district leaders.
NACD Immediate Past President Lee McDaniel, Director of Development Laura Demmel and NCF-Envirothon Program Manager Jennifer Brooks participated in an award dinner benefiting the North Carolina Envirothon Program honoring conservation educators and students. Guests enjoyed music from the Conservation Pickers, a group of talented soil and water conservationists-by-day, musicians-by-night.
The meeting closed with remarks from incoming NCASWCD President Myles Payne, who shared the theme “Communication: Telling Your Story” for 2019. “Conservation is an issue that affects every living person on this planet,” Payne remarked, encouraging districts to tell their stories.
WISCONSIN HOSTS NORTH CENTRAL REGION MEETING
On Jan. 7-8, the NACD North Central Region Board of Directors held their annual board meeting in Racine, Wisc. Conservation partners throughout the region came together to discuss conservation policy, regional issues, and prepare for the upcoming NACD Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
The North Central Region welcomed guest speakers Rebecca Power, director of the North Central Region Water Network at the University of Wisconsin and John Dickert, director of the Council of the Great Lakes Region and president and CEO of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. Both shared valuable insight into available resources in the region, as well as conservation issues and on-going projects to address them.
A special tour of the Foxconn development preceded the meeting, showcasing the largest development in the country and their efforts to partner with the local conservation district in the mitigation of the wetlands and other conservation projects.
The NACD North Central Region Board of Directors would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous contributions: The Real Racine – the Racine County convention and visitors bureau, S.C. Johnson, O & H Danish Bakery and Malicki’s Piggly Wiggly.
RHODE ISLAND DISTRICTS UTILIZE TA FUNDS TO EXPAND CAPACITY
Rhode Island’s three conservation districts are expanding efforts to help farmers develop and implement farm conservation plans. A $179,520 NACD technical assistance grant allowed the districts to hire two full time staff members, one at Northern Rhode Island Conservation District (NRICD), and the other at Southern Rhode Island Conservation District (SRICD).
NRICD conservation and farm planner Marina Capraro and SRICD agriculture technician Jacob Peterson work closely with farmers statewide to develop and implement farm conservation plans. The plans not only help farmers meet their natural resource conservation goals, they are also required of farm-designated properties that receive a reduced tax rate under Rhode Island’s Farm, Forest and Open Space Act.
“The Farm, Forest and Open Space Act requirement has given us access to a database of landowners with agricultural operations who have never worked with NRCS,” Capraro said. “It has proven to be a great form of outreach to landowners and has allowed me to sign on a lot of first-time customers.”
The districts have completed 18 farm plans to date and are working to complete many more statewide over the coming months with the funds. Read more about their work on NACD’s blog and learn more about NACD’s technical assistance program on the technical assistance webpage.
DISTRICTS PARTNER TO IMPROVE TURKEY HABITAT
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) signed in August 2018 shows the commitment both organizations have to collaborate on future programs and activities, including wild turkey and habitat conservation projects, education and outreach and habitat restoration.
“[The MOU] really solidifies a great relationship we’ve had with conservation districts at the national and local level,” NWTF District Biologist Matt DiBona said. “The conservation districts have those great local relationships with landowners, and if you’re involved in wildlife habitat or conservation management, you can’t overlook that.”
NACD and NWTF have worked together through a number of national efforts, including the Forests in the Farm Bill coalition, and have collaborated with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and state forestry agencies to staff wildlife biologists and other positions to increase conservation delivery on private lands, including a planned position in New Hampshire and Vermont.
“Capacity is often a limiting factor in reaching landowners and getting projects on the ground,” DiBona said. “So, we’re really excited about that.”
In the meantime, NWTF is building on the past 20 years of collaboration with the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts (NHACD) to build turkey habitat and create accessible hunting property.
“The conservation districts are committed to wildlife habitat and working with landowners on technical assistance and taking the right steps for turkeys,” Cheshire County Conservation District Manager Amanda J.C. Littleton said. “Turkeys have come back with such a great success story, now they’re hunted in our region, which is great. The partnership has really been a positive impact on the environment." Read more on NACD's blog.
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