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NACD Awards

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NACD’s Annual Awards Program recognizes individuals and organizations for their outstanding work and leadership in soil and water conservation. The 2018 awardees will be recognized at a ceremony held in their honor at NACD’s 2019 Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, in February. Please submit nomination forms and any questions you may have to awards@email.nacdnet.org.

NACD Friend of Conservation Award

The nomination period has closed; winners will be announced at the 2019 Annual Meeting in February. The 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. The Friend of Conservation Award recipient will be selected by the NACD Awards Committee.

The award recipient will be honored at the NACD Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, this coming February. They will also receive complimentary registration for one day of the meeting, one complimentary ticket to the Appreciation Banquet, a plaque and national recognition in NACD publications.

Nomination Form: DOC | PDF

NACD Distinguished Service Award

The nomination period has closed; winners will be announced at the 2019 Annual Meeting in February. The NACD Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual within the association, a conservation district, or a 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 are also accepted for individuals posthumously and may be submitted by any individual, organization, agency or conservation district. The recipient will be selected by the NACD Awards Committee.

The award recipient will be honored at the NACD Annual Meeting inSan Antonio, Texas, this coming February. They will also receive complimentary registration for one day of the meeting, one complimentary ticket to the Appreciation Banquet, a plaque and national recognition in NACD publications.

Nomination Form: DOC | PDF

NACD President’s Award

Chosen by the NACD President, this award recognizes an individual or organization that has been especially dedicated to advancing conservation during the president’s term.

Olin Sims Conservation Leadership Award

On December 7, 2007, conservation lost a friend and outstanding leader in NACD President Olin Sims. Sims was a rancher from McFadden, Wyoming, who devoted years of distinguished service to conservation initiatives at the state and national levels. In tribute to Sims’ memory, and to help further promote and recognize outstanding conservation leadership at the state and local levels, NRCS and NACD jointly established the Olin Sims Conservation Leadership Award.

The award will be presented to one up-and-coming leader who demonstrates excellence in promoting and leading voluntary conservation on private lands. The nomination period is open through November 26. 

Nominations should be submitted in coordination between state conservationists and state partner leaders. Submissions must be limited to a single page describing the nominee’s leadership and volunteer service qualities, outlining the ways the nominee has served to promote conservation at the state or local level. Nominations should be submitted by email to nrcs.orc@wdc.usda.gov.

Hugh Hammond Bennett Excellence in Conservation Award

Invoking the leadership and dedication of Hugh Hammond Bennett, the father of the modern soil conservation movement and the first chief of the Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resources Conservation Service), the Bennett Excellence in Conservation Award (Bennett Award) recognizes individuals at the local, state and ultimately the national level for extraordinary achievements in and contributions to the soil and water conservation movement in the United States. Supported by the National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP), the award will be presented annually to an individual at the National Association of Conservation Districts’ (NACD) annual meeting. More information on how to submit your nominations will be posted here in the near future.

Criteria for Bennett Award nominees:

• Commitment to conservation planning. Bennett Award nominees shall have a current conservation plan and demonstrated commitment to following their conservation plan.
• Pioneer new approaches to conservation planning. Nominees shall embrace and
incorporate into their management strategy new and innovative conservation planning tools (i.e. Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET), Field Print Calculator, 4-R Nutrient Stewardship or others.)
• Advancement of soil health adoption. Bennett Award nominees shall not only have adopted soil health practices on their own land or operation, they also serve to champion soil health adoption through a variety of community outreach and educational activities.
• Civic engagement. Bennett Award nominees shall demonstrate commitment to civic engagement and service at the local, state or national level. Civic engagement could be through elected or appointed service to a local soil and water conservation district; a resource conservation and development council; other local or state governing body; or leadership positions in other local, state or national organizations.

Process for determining future Bennett Award nominees and awardees starting in 2018 (for 2019 award):

Any Soil and Water Conservation District can select one individual on an annual basis to advance as the SWCD’s nominee. From the pool of SWCD nominees, each state/ territory association of SWCDs selects one nominee to advance to the national level as the state/territory’s nominee. From the pool of state nominees, the NCPP will select one awardee at the national level for the Bennett Award.

Local and State/Territory Bennett Award nominees shall receive a certificate of recognition for their achievement. SWCD, NRCS, RC&D, or State employees assisting Bennett Award nominees will also receive a certificate of recognition. All state/territory nominees will also receive a placard for prominent display on their property. Bennett Awardee will receive a plaque, trophy or other token of recognition as well as other recognition as determined by the NCPP.

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