In 1955, the National Association of Conservation Districts began a national program to encourage Americans to focus on stewardship. Stewardship Week is officially celebrated from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in May. It is one of the world's largest conservation-related observances.
The program relies on locally-led conservation districts sharing and promoting stewardship and conservation activities. Districts provide conservation and stewardship field days, programs, workshops and additional outreach efforts throughout their community to educate citizens about the need to care for our resources. Many district activities extend beyond the one week observance to include an entire year of outreach.
The Stewardship concept involves personal and social responsibility, including a duty to learn about and improve natural resources as we use them wisely, leaving a rich legacy for future generations.
One definition of Stewardship is "the individual's responsibility to manage his life and property with proper regard to the rights of others." E. William Anderson suggests stewardship "is essentially a synonym for conservation."
Stewardship Week helps to remind us all of the power each person has to conserve natural resources and improve the world. When everyone works together with their local conservation district, that power continuously grows. We have seen these good deeds multiply across the nation's network of conservation districts and the results are spectacular!
When the land does well for its owner, and the owner does well by his land—when both end up better by reason of their partnership—then we have conservation. - Aldo Leopold
Stewardship week each year is always the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in May.
Upcoming Stewardship Topics
The Stewardship and Education Committee has developed a 5 year rotation for stewardship topics. NACD’s Stewardship and Education Committee determines the specific theme, based on that year's topic. The five-year rotation of topics are as follows:
Previous Stewardship Topics
2013: "Where does your water shed?"
2012: Soil to Spoon
Education Resources by Topic - Educators can use this library of education resources, which includes guides, activities and more, to educate students on the importance of our natural resources. Resources are organized according to topic and include guides, activities and more. Current topics include forestry, soils, water, habitat, and energy.
Outreach Materials for Churches - This page contains sermon starters, hymns and scriptures on the topics forestry, soil, water, habitat, and energy for use by churches to encourage good stewardship of our nation's natural resources.
Stewardship Success Stories - Districts share information on how they successfully celebrate Stewardship.
Poster Contest - The annual National Conservation Poster Contest provides kindergarten through twelfth grade students an opportunity to convey their thoughts about soil, water and related natural resource issues through art. It also highlights the educational outreach efforts of conservation districts and their state associations, auxiliaries and agencies. The contest follows the annual Stewardship theme.
Speech and Essay Contest Ideas - This document contains information on how you can hold your own local speech and essay contests. Some states also hold state contests and many FFA chapters and states use the NACD's Stewardship themes for speech contests as well. Please Note: There is not a national contest for speeches and essays.
Clip Art - Clip art that follows the conservation theme isn't always easy to find. Click here to find conservation clip art for your use!