54 student teams representing 45 states, seven Canadian provinces, and two Chinese provinces put their skills to the test last week at the NCF-Envirothon, the world’s largest high school-level natural resources education competition. The 2017 winning team hails from Penncrest High School located in Media, Pennsylvania. The second-place team came from The Mount Academy in Esopus, New York, and the third-place team came from Hot Springs High School in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

For a list of the top ten teams, head to NACD’s Newsroom for the latest press release on NCF-Envirothon. For a recap of the week-long event, click here to go to NACD’s blog. And if you’d like to browse photos of this year’s international competition – hosted at the Mount Saint Mary’s University campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland – check out NACD’s Flickr.

NACD, Soil Health Champion Dan Diaz live from Wisconsin

Soil Health Champion Dan Diaz (pictured) from Lena, Illinois, gave a presentation yesterday at the Soil and Water Conservation Society’s 72nd Annual Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, on how he has utilized the NRCS Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET) on his farm to benchmark his progress in reaching his stewardship goals in the areas of water quality and quantity, soil management, nutrient management, and habitat health. Overall, he said, RSET gives landowners a point of reference to judge how well their management systems are working to benefit their operations and the land.

NACD CEO Jeremy Peters addressed the conference’s general session attendees today on the upcoming farm bill. In his talk, Peters expressed a need for public and private sector support for the voluntary conservation delivery system in the United States, as well as strong funding for programs and districts that provide conservation technical assistance work to millions of Americans every year.

Upcoming NACD webinar will explore district-led home landscaping programs

The next NACD Urban and Community Conservation webinar – sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and scheduled for noon-1:00pm Eastern on August 17 – will showcase the efforts of two conservation districts to promote residential landscaping with native species.

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District in New Jersey, through funding from the Barnegat Bay Partnership, has spearheaded numerous projects involving the installation of native plant gardens throughout the county using the Jersey-Friendly Yards website as a resource. With help from a collaborative effort led by the West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District in Oregon, landowners are planting native grasses and wildflowers well suited to the Willamette Valley as lawn alternatives.

To join the conversation, make sure to register (for free!) by emailing Deb Bogar at with your name, title, district or business name, and state.

Dr. Salem Saloom of Conecuh County, Alabama

Salem Saloom manages Saloom Properties, a family tree farm, with his wife Dianne and son Patrick in southern Alabama.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Saloom, a retired surgeon, began purchasing land in Conecuh County. Today, after nine land purchases, Saloom Properties has grown to 2,200 acres of forested land, including slash pine, loblolly, and longleaf pine, which was almost completely wiped out over a century ago due to over harvesting. The farm’s 1,000 acres of longleaf pine stands are currently managed for air, water, and soil quality with a focus on reducing soil erosion and enhancing wildlife habitat.

Field tours, workshops, and youth programs conducted by Dr. Saloom are part of his advocacy efforts, highlighting the many conservation practices implemented and the impact they have on the environment.

To read more about Dr. Saloom, be sure to visit his Soil Health Champion profile at the NACD website. If you or someone you know is interested in soil health and would like to become a member of this growing, progressive network, please contact NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason at or 317-946-4463 for more information.

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