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NACD Supports Boot Camp Bridge

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By Teresa Matteson

Thanks to NACD funding, I attended NRCS Conservation Planning Boot Camp in Lincoln, Neb., in May of 2018. Entering a room of 34 classmates, many of whom were less than half my age, was a bit daunting.

During the first week of the course, Darnell Dunson, one of my younger classmates, initiated a conversation with me during the morning break. “I knew who you were the minute you walked in the room,” he said. I replied that surely Darnell had mistaken me for someone else as I, a 62-year-old Oregonian, could hardly be recognized by this pleasant, approximately 20-year-old man from Indianapolis. The break ended, and the class activities resumed.

It is comforting to know that our country has a network of young, bright, dedicated professionals ready to help people help the land.

The next day, Darnell approached me again saying, “I knew who you were as soon as I saw you. You are the lady in the soil health video.” Sure enough, that was me! In 2015, the Oregon NRCS created a video during its Plant Materials Center’s Cover Crop Field Day. In the video, I demonstrate aggregate stability and talk about water infiltration and storage in healthy soil. The video concludes with me urging others to participate in these practices because soil health pays.

Teresa and Darnell

Darnell explained that he watched the video in 2015 while interning with the NRCS. He really made my day when he mentioned how that video had influenced his decision to pursue a career with NRCS!

Throughout the three-week Conservation Planning course, friendships with many of my cohorts germinated. It is comforting to know that our country has a network of young, bright, dedicated professionals ready to help people help the land.

Thank you, NACD, for helping to build a bridge between two soil scientists; one in Corvallis, Ore., and another in Indianapolis, Ind. Soil health pays on many levels!

Teresa Matteson is the soil health coordinator for Benton Soil and Water Conservation District and can be reached at tmatteson[at]bentonswcd.org or 541-753-7208. Darnell Dunson is a soil scientist with the NRCS Indianapolis MLRA Soil Survey Office and can be reached at Darnell.Dunson[at]in.usda.gov or 317-295-5810.

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Tags: CPBC, Conservation Planning Boot Camp

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