NACD 2023 Annual Meeting TA Grant Participant: Kelsey Beck

This blog post is part of a six-part series highlighting technical assistance (TA) grant recipient participation at NACD’s 77th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. This post’s author, Kelsey Beck of Popo Agie Conservation District in WY, attended the meeting with a TA stipend.

The NACD Annual Meeting is a great opportunity to connect with other conservation districts from across the country and learn about similar challenges and achievements that we also experience in our own backyards. Not only do the breakout sessions and meetings provide a wealth of information and connection to groups working on natural resource issues, attending the meeting allows us to learn about a region or area we would otherwise never know.

For me, leaving the bitter cold and blinding white landscape of Wyoming (which was currently experiencing a record year of snowpack) to flying into the marsh lands over the Mississippi River into New Orleans, the realization that even though the form of water is a stark contrast, across the U.S. we all are faced with similar natural resource issues that impact our communities.

One of my highlights from attending this meeting was being able to view the film “Wings Over Water” at the leadership luncheon. This documentary showcased the importance of wetlands in the prairie pothole region and it was insightful, educational, and inspiring to see how various groups are working together to provide educational content to various audiences and are engaging locally to address natural resource issues.

The breakout sessions and especially the NCDEA District Employee Training Session also provided great insight into leadership opportunities, projects and funding that could be utilized at the local, state, and national level.

The Annual Meeting in New Orleans was jammed packed with great information from the tradeshow, breakout sessions and most importantly provided an opportunity to make connections with professionals across the nation. In addition, the food, southern hospitality, and parades (including the 1,000+ marching bands) prior to Mardi Gras was an unforgettable experience.  I am grateful for NACD providing a stipend for me to attend the 2023 Annual Meeting.

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