This blog post is part of a seven-part series highlighting technical assistance (TA) grant recipient participation at NACD’s Summer Conservation Forum and Tours in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This post’s author, David Potter of Lower Platte South Natural Resources District in NE, attended the meeting with a TA stipend.
NACD offered stipends to Technical Assistant Grant recipients to attend the 2022 Summer Meeting in conjunction with the Southeast Region Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was fortunate to have been one of the recipients selected to attend. Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) has been a member of NACD for many years and we’ve received four TA grants during that time. This was my first organized NACD event that I’ve been able to attend, so what a great opportunity and experience for me.
I attended the NACD Board of Directors’ business meeting, breakout sessions, Southeast Region Hall of Fame awards presentation, Northern Plains Region meeting, and a conservation tour to the Hacienda la Esperanza 19th century sugar cane plantation. Through various sessions, activities, and networking, I got a glimpse of what’s going on in conservation around the country, and a sense that much more conservation is needed. This meeting gave attendees an opportunity to compare our different resource issues or concerns, as well as the practices we utilize to address them.
Many attendees at the meeting were unaware of how differently the conservation districts in Nebraska function. While many districts across the country are geographically aligned with a county border, in Nebraska the district lines are based on watersheds. It was just as surprising to me to hear how other states and their conservation districts are structured. For LPSNRD, the TA Grant funding means that we can get more conservation work completed. The grant helps fund a Resources Technician position to work with landowners on conservation practices and administer our cost-share programs. Attending the meeting helped identify other possible practices the technical assistance could be used for.
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with other conservation employees across the country, fellow TA grantees, and with leaders of some of our national organizations. I attended the Summer Meeting with the goals of learning more about NACD, the board’s responsibilities, and to meet other conservation leaders dealing with similar issues. I came away from the Summer Meeting with more than just information and a better understanding of NACD. Thanks to NACD and the TA stipend, I came away with some new friends.