Patti Lardie, a retired government sales manager for Case IH, is a National Conservation Foundation (NCF) Board Member from Poynette, Wisconsin.
Lardie’s love for nature began early on, as she spent most of her weekends and summers as a child visiting her grandparents’ farm. This love drove her to leave the city to raise her family in Poynette over 40 years ago.
Lardie recently spoke with NACD about NCF and NACD, their goals and their legacy.
How did you become involved with NACD?
Like many corporate persons, I got contacted by an NCF Executive Committee Member. Gene Schmidt reached out eight years ago. He was at one of our dealers, who said he needed to call Case IH and talk to me. Through that phone call, we developed a relationship and met at the next NACD annual meeting around 2011. The following year, I got more involved by participating in the annual meeting and the live auction, becoming much more acquainted with NACD. When I retired from Case IH, Gene graciously made me an honorary lifetime Friend of NACD. This was followed by an election to the NCF board, where I became a trustee.
Why is supporting NCF important to you?
You must have awareness, and you must develop that next generation of awareness through experiences like the Envirothon, to build people that can deliver the message of conservation through leadership. We’re starting from the ground up. We’re building a tool for our youth to build upon their conservation efforts. But that takes a lot of engagement, and it takes us having tools to get that engagement.
“We need to have a strong set of tools and a structured foundation that keeps everyone pointed in the same direction.”
Give me your thoughts on the next generation of conservation leaders and why it’s important that we support them.
When you have such a complicated environment from which you’re trying to develop new leaders, they need to get exposed to the spectrum of what NACD really encompasses. Where do you find somebody that has all the knowledge necessary? Well, you don’t find one person; you find a cohort of people that can bring together all this knowledge. But then they’ve got to have confidence in that knowledge, and they’ve got to have communication skills to share that knowledge.
That’s where the NGLI program is really going to shine. It brings a diverse group of people with different experiences together from different parts of the country. They share common challenges, and that has a strength to it, because they can gain from each other and continue to have that relationship going forward, to draw on to build a better, more effective presence in their own community. They then become mentors as they grow and take on further responsibilities. That’s why NGLI is a critical program for the sustainable future that we’re trying to develop.
What is the purpose/impact of the NCF-Envirothon?
It just brings earlier awareness and experiences to younger people. I could see, someday, getting the junior high school level involved – sixth graders are already coming forward. To me, the earlier the better.
Why is education important in conservation?
Hands-on engagement in education is important, like through the Envirothon. I think it takes that engagement for people to take the knowledge that they’re seeing and hearing and implement it. That starts a fire burning in their belly, and suddenly there’s a mission in their mind. They start to think, ‘With this knowledge, I can do something to make a difference.’
You’ve got to bring it to their heart and give them that drive to take the knowledge and then implement it and act on it. The sooner the better, and the earlier the better, to get them focused on something so that they’ve got a purpose. Education does that.
Why is diversity important in conservation?
I think it’s a treasure: to be able to share different experiences, those treasures, and build up upon them is amazing. It engages in bringing the best forward from everybody. I think in the past a lot of that has been overlooked, but it has a presence today, because we all live on the same planet, and we’ve all got to figure out how to keep this thing going. Everybody has done things that are very, very good. And they can learn from mistakes – we can all share mistakes, too, and not go back onto that path.
“Diversity of the culture and the willingness to communicate and share that is, to me, so important.”
Why should individuals donate to this campaign?
We need a sustainable environment, and we need money to do it. We all need a sustainable environment to provide our basic needs, as well as our social and mental wellness needs, and each individual holds a level of responsibility that comes with a cost. That’s why they should donate.
Please help support conservation leaders by donating to the #FutureFocused campaign!
As we prepare for a new 2021 NGLI cohort and the rescheduled 2021 NCF-Envirothon competition in Lincoln, Nebraska, set to be held in July 2021, your financial support is needed to help keep these programs moving forward.
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