2019 Annual Meeting Breakout Sessions

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Monday, February 4 | 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Social Marketing Strategies to Inspire Conservation Stewardship
Over the last three years, Whatcom CD has adapted its traditional incentive-based programming to employ social marketing strategies and has dramatically increased the number of landowners assisted with conservation practices. This session will explore lessons learned, adaptive management and results of a robust social marketing program in Whatcom County that has resulted in extensive adoption of best management practices. The research, tools and strategies presented can be adapted and implemented around the country. Aneka Sweeney, Outreach and Education Coordinator – Whatcom CD, Wash.
District Operations, Member Services and Partnerships
District Roles in Field to Market Fieldprint Projects
Districts have the opportunity to work within Field to Market’s Fieldprint Projects, which bring together various stakeholders along the agricultural supply chain who all work together toward more sustainable outcomes. This session will highlight the Big Pine Creek Watershed Fieldprint Project and the work of the Benton County SWCD that made it possible. Learn more about Fieldprint Projects and how districts across the country can help more customers carry out conservation on the ground. Leslie Fisher – Benton County SWCD, Ind.; Field to Market
Natural Resources Policy and Protection
Improving Water Quality Outcomes from Agricultural Practices
Sand County Foundation, Farm Foundation, Noble Research Institute and NRCS, in collaboration with NACD, convened a collaborative project to assess the effectiveness of agricultural management practices at improving water quality. The project identifies gaps in this knowledge, key obstacles to overcome, and crafts strategies to advance improvements. This presentation will be the first public release of this assessment and will provide valuable information about the effectiveness and “conservation return on investment” from management practices. This session will also identify additional funding sources to broaden the base beyond reliance on farm bill programs to finance conservation. Alex Echols, consultant – Sand County Foundation
Stewardship and Education
Soil Health Champions Network – Maximizing the Benefits for Producers and Districts
NACD’s Soil Health Champions Network provides producers with the opportunity to share hard-earned knowledge about successful adoption of soil health management practices and emerging strategies, resources and tools. This session will feature Soil Health Champions and their district partners discussing how the Soil Health Champions Network has helped them succeed in implementing conservation and strengthening their relationships. Debbie Absher, Director of Ag Programs – Sussex Conservation District, Del.; Jennifer Nelson – Resource Smart LLC
Monday, February 4 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Basics of Digital Communications
This session describes the significance of social media and digital marketing and explores strategies to improve your reach online. Learn how to profile your current audience of followers and how to reach new audiences to expand the conservation message. Stephanie Addison, Director of Communications – NACD
District Operations, Member Services and Partnerships
USDA Climate Hub Toolkit
The USDA Climate Hub program develops and delivers science-based tools, technologies and information resources for a range of regional audiences, including those engaged in conservation planning and adaptation. This session will highlight several examples of Climate Hub activities of relevance to the conservation community, including the Grass-Cast tool for range management; the AgRisk Viewer tool for understanding crop insurance data; information resources for drought and wildfire monitoring, forecasting and recovery; and soil health educational materials designed to train the next generation of agriculturalists. Learn about the benefits of and opportunities for collaboration with the Climate Hubs. Dannelle Peck and Windy Kelley, USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub; Emile Elias and Caiti Steele, USDA Southwest Climate Hub; David Brown, Clay Pope and Sarah Pope – USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub
Natural Resources Policy and Protection
Smart Solar Siting
This session emphasizes the need to expand clean solar energy development while avoiding siting those solar panels on the country’s best farmland and adversely impacting soil health. Every day, conservation districts must address the ever-increasing competition for land from sprawling urban development, residential fragmentation, expanding regional food systems, solar development and additional pressures. The smart solar siting approach helps accelerate solar siting while steering it away from valuable farmland and environmentally sensitive lands. Jimmy Daukas, Senior Program Officer – American Farmland Trust
Stewardship and Education
Interactive Story Maps – How to Enhance District Reports
This session will include background on the Wyoming Watersheds Progress Report interactive story map: why it is important and how other states and conservation districts could benefit from reporting similar information. The presenters will also demonstrate how to make a story map and report on valuable information using a simple, interactive online platform. These maps produce eye-catching results, and as online publications can be distributed to thousands by the click of a link. Bobbie Frank, Executive Director, and Cathy Rosenthal, Watershed Coordinator – Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts
Tuesday, February 5 | 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Spreading the Conservation District Message
This session describes strategies to educate district supervisors and the public about the role of conservation districts and their opportunities for community engagement. Learn how to work with seemingly disengaged communities to increase participation and outreach and to improve recognition of the work districts accomplish. Ramona Nitz, Cherokee County SWCD – Conservation Districts of Iowa; Jeff Goebel – Valencia SWCD, N.M.
District Operations, Member Services and Partnerships
The Power of Positive Partnerships and Proactive Planning
This session provides strategies to get creative with annual programming and encourages out-of-the-box thinking and collaboration. By working with partnering agencies, districts can open doors to new ideas, improve customer base satisfaction with and participation in educational workshops, and spread effective conservation planning, best management practices and other conservation programs. This session also guides attendees through how to use Practice Keeper to increase office efficiency and improve confidence in management decisions.
Kimberly Vance, District Administrator – Carroll SWCD, Ohio; Heather Manzo, District Manager – Allegheny County CD, Penn.
Natural Resources Policy and Protection
Pathways to Water Quality
Conservation districts partner and leverage funding with water utilities, state water programs, agricultural producers and others for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) partnership programs. This session will share collaborative approaches, highlight mutual goals, and provide examples of local projects from across the nation that have leveraged the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), the new NWQI Source Water Protection Pilot Initiative, and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to implement voluntary conservation and management practices to improve water quality and protect both surface and groundwater sources of drinking water. Karen Wirth and Erika Larsen, Office of Water – Environmental Protection Agency; Deirdre Mason – Association of State Drinking Water Administrators; Dee Carlson and Martin Lowenfish – USDA NRCS; Adam Carpenter – American Water Works Association; Terry Julesgard – Lower Niobrara Natural Resources District, Neb.
Stewardship and Education
Increasing Public Engagement
This session highlights how districts can utilize different approaches to increase public engagement. Learn more about how soil health demonstration farms can showcase soil health best management practices for both traditional and non-traditional farmers. Presenters will also describe how to incorporate conservation education with public recreational areas and innovate ways to partner within communities to promote cover crops and soil health practices. Steve Darcey, District Manager and Wade Hampton, Soil Conservation Planner – Prince George’s Soil Conservation District, Md.; Desirae TePoel, Information and Education Department Head and Bret Schomer, Lake Wanahoo Recreation Supervisor and Water Resources Specialist – Lower Platte North Natural Resource District, Neb.; Bill Thompson, Supervisor – Dodge County SWCD, Minn.
Tuesday, February 5 | 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tailor Your Message: How to Improve Adoption of Conservation Practices
To better reach farmers about adopting soil health and conservation practices, it is important to understand how landowners make decisions. A number of different factors are at play, resulting in significantly different responses between farmers to the same information. In this session, learn how to specifically communicate to address decision-making factors and better convince farmers to adopt conservation and soil health practices. Dr. Ryan Stockwell, Director of Sustainable Agriculture, and Jess Espenshade, Cover Crop Coordinator – National Wildlife Federation; Beth Diesch, Team Leader – Seneca CD, Ohio
District Operations, Member Services and Partnerships
Building Capacity Through Partnership
California’s Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) are essential to helping rural, urban and suburban communities manage and adapt to drought, wildfires, floods and other natural resource challenges. But many lack the organizational strength their communities need from them. Hear about CARCD’s ambitious effort to build capacity in the state’s 98 RCDs in partnership with state agencies and private donors. Learn how targeted work to strengthen districts at their organizational core can help them become more relevant to their communities; more resilient and more visible to local and state decision-makers; and more successful at acquiring resources and achieving their goals. Karen Buhr, Executive Director – California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD); Mandy Parkes, Executive Director – Inland Empire RCD; Jenny Di Stefano, RCD Assistance Team – California Department of Conservation; Marc Smiley and Amy Stork – Solid Ground Consulting
Natural Resources Policy and Protection
Embracing Conservation Assistance Opportunities
Hear about innovative approaches and tools districts are using to target conservation assistance. Learn how Freehold SCD created a non-profit organization with shared funds from a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant to identify needs and provide technical assistance for several open space tracts that were previously unmanaged. Chester County CD will describe how they used geospatial mapping and databases to determine optimal subwatersheds for conservation efforts to improve water quality. Ines Zimmerman, District Manager – Freehold Soil Conservation District, N.J.; Dan Miloser, Agricultural Team Leader – Chester County Conservation District, Penn.
Stewardship and Education
Innovative Approaches to Tribal Partnerships
This session will focus on the growing movement of tribal conservation districts (TCDs) in Alaska and the innovative approaches that these groups are taking to address local natural resource concerns. New and developing TCDs are tackling the unique conservation challenges of Alaska through innovative approaches to stewardship, education and partnership. The session will cover the unique challenges faced, as well as the unique strengths and partnerships developing in Alaska.
Angela Peter, Executive Director – Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance;
Karen Linnel, Executive Director – Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission;
Theo Garcia, Executive Director – Knik Conservation District;
Christy Cincotta, Executive Director – Tyonek Tribal CD


Latest News

Calendar of Events

Find your Local District