Message from Connie
Districts have had an interesting year so far. We have struggled with
budgets, programs, federal shut down, and extreme weather activities
across the United States. Most of us have felt an impact at the federal,
state and local budget level and districts have answered the challenge by
reducing budgets to continue to work to conserve our natural resources.
In March I
attended the National Quarterly Conservation Partnership Meeting in
Washington, DC. I was honored to have Vice President Irene Moore join us
for the meeting. The leaders discussed the importance of maintaining our
effort to put conservation on the ground. Chief Dave White spoke on the
impending budget cuts and the possible federal shutdown. We were
saddened to learn of the zero funding from both the President and Congress
budgets for RC&D and Small Watershed Programs. All Partnership members
offered letters, link to web sites, etc. in support for funding of these
programs. NACD discussed the 2012 Farm Bill effort including the ten
principles emerging from the work of the NACD Farm Bill Task Force. NCDEA
worked with the Chief White to resolve the struggle that Conservation
Districts were having with Quick Book approval for use on government
computers. NASCA spoke on the struggles that states were facing with
budgets issues. We all agreed that our voice needed to remain strong and
unified for Conservation.
I attended the
Kansas Conservation District Employee Organization State Wide Conference;
there we talked about sharing conservation education ideas. Also
presenting the History of Conservation District Employee History was Past
NCDEA President Kay Wasinger. I have also spoken with several of our
state presidents regarding conservation programs.
We have held
conference calls as well as begun working with the NCDEA committees and
started working on the Mid Year Board Meeting. I have asked each
committee chair to begin reviewing the workload for their committee. We
will have most of our committees meet face to face prior to the NCDEA Mid
Year Board Meeting scheduled for June 23 - 24 in San Antonito, Texas.
It is an honor to
work with each of you in delivering the conservation message.
2010 ended on a high note with the very successful National Leadership
Conference held in Louisville, KY. What an exciting time to be involved in
We started a new year with a several new members to our NCDEA Board. Your
NCDEA Board includes;
Connie Richmeier, KS, President,
Irene Moore, OH, Vice President,
Linda Smith, KY, Treasurer,
Bryan Evens, SC, Secretary,
Ed Hoxsie, NY, Member At Large and NE Regional Representative
Cindy Moon, IL, Past President
Jeanette Kennedy Hale, AR, SC Region Rep.
Mamie Caison, NC, SE Region Rep.
Joe Perry, OH, NC Region Rep.
Rhonda Vetsch, NP Regional Rep.
Carolyn Kelly, WA, Pacific Regional Rep.
Brenda Smythe NM, SW Regional Rep.
We also said goodbye to Pam Hawkins, NC, and Sharon Underwood, AR. Thanks to
both Pam and Sharon for their dedication to NCDEA! We are a stronger NCDEA
because of their leadership and dedication.
NCDEA was honored to present two awards at the NCDEA Annual Meeting,
Bryan S. Evans, NC, Pitt County Conservation District, 2011 National
Conservation District Professional
James Lacy, KY, Wolfe County Conservation District, 2011 National
Conservation District Board Supervisor
Congratulations on your outstanding leadership in the field of conservation.
NCDEA held 2 tours in Nashville, TN, in conjunction with the NACD Annual
Meeting, a Fontanel Mansion Tour and the Stone River National Battlefield
Tour. We also held a Tuesday evening social called starring David
Ferrell to support the Don Aaron Scholarship program along with a 50/50
raffle. We also held an ‘Effective Communication’ Workshop on Wednesday,
February 4, 2011.
In March I attended the National Quarterly
Conservation Partnership Meeting in Washington, DC.
We have begun working with the NCDEA committees and started working on the
Mid Year Board Meeting. We are looking forward to yet another busy year of
growth through the partnership and NCDEA. This year I would like to work on
leadership development and building a strong professional NCDEA. I would
also like to continue to work on keeping our partnerships strong.
has been involved at all levels with Partnerships.
NCDEA was also invited to attend the White House Conference of the Great
American Outdoors in April. Since that time NCDEA and Conservation
District Employees have attended the Great American Outdoors meetings all
across the county. Our own Ed Hoxie, NE Regional Representation also met
with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack during one of the meetings.
Irene Moore, Vice
President, and I attended the NACD Legislative Conference. We also
attended the Communication and District Operation Committee Meetings.
NCDEA was invited
to attend the North East Regional Meeting; Irene Moore attended on behalf
of NCDEA. We were also invited to attend the KACDE Conference, where I
gave 2 presentations on Strategic Planning, Water Conservation Festivals
Planning as well as NCDEA Updates. The KY Conservation District employees
also planted an Olin Sims memorial tree at the Jebez Conference Center.
I also attended the SE Regional Meeting in Pigeon Forge, TN and the
Northern Plains Regional Meeting along with Rhonda Vetsch.
NCDEA was held
several conference calls, including for ongoing committee work. We
selected a scholarship winner, Aaron Matthew McGinnis, Albion, Indiana.
completed a policy and procedures manual. I would like to Thank Linda
Smith, Treasurer, for her hard work and dedication to NCDEA and especially
on this project.
committee has also been hard at work with winners to be announced at the
February 1, NCDEA Partnership Luncheon.
NCDEA was invited to serve on the NACD Farm Bill Task Force. This Task
Force has met weekly by conference call with several good recommendations
forthcoming in Nashville.
NCDEA will also be held an additional meeting in conjunction with the
Leadership Conference. This meeting will be dedicated to working on the
The National Conservation Partnership Leaders held two quarterly meetings,
the first was held in Durango, Co in conjunction with the NASCA Annual
Meeting. The second was held at the National RC&D Headquarters in
Washington, DC. Both meetings were dedicated to working on strengthening
our partnership and the Leadership Conference. The Leadership Conference
held December 14 – 15 in Louisville, KY was a great success with over 200
attending. All partners played an important role in making it a complete
underway for the 2011 NCDEA Annual Meeting to be held in conjunction with
the NACD Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN., January 30, to February 2, 2010.
To date our
meeting schedule is:
Board Meeting – Saturday, January 29, 12:300 PM – 5:30PM
NCDEA Tour/s – Sunday, January 30, 1:00PM – 5:00PM
NCDEA Board Meeting –
Tuesday, February 1, 7:00 AM – 9:00AM
Partnership Luncheon –
Tuesday, February 1, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Evening event – Tuesday, February 1, 9:00PM – 11:00PM
Training Workshop – Wednesday, February 2, 9:00AM – 12:00 noon
I look forward to
seeing each of you in Nashville at the NACD Annual Meeting.
What an exciting
time to be a part of NCDEA.
In January and
February we held our annual meeting in conjunction with NACD at Orlando,
FL. We were able to recognize two conservation district employees, Bob
Dobbs, of NJ and Tommy Brooks of NC with our annual employee award. We
also recognized Jerry Scheele of WA as conservation district supervisor of
the year. In addition we had two very successful field tours and a
fundraiser one evening of the meeting. On the last day of the conference
we also hosted a one half day training workshop for district employees and
In mid March NCDEA was invited and served on a panel at the NRCS
2010 Joint Professional Employees Organization and Special Emphasis
Program Managers Training Conference in Kansas City. Also participating in
a partnership panel session was NACD President, Steven Robinson NASCA
President, Mark Clark, and NRCS Chief Dave White.
In late March, The National Conservation Partnership Leaders Quarterly
meeting was held in Baltimore, MD. The Maryland Association of
Conservation Districts along with Elmer Weibley, District Manager with the
Washington Conservation Soil Conservation District, attended as well as
representatives of their state conservation agency. Accomplishments
regarding the Chesapeake Bay Initiative were presented to the national
leaders. The Maryland leadership spoke of the thousands of rivers within
the six state watershed and how the Chesapeake Bay Initiative was defining
the partnerships in the watershed. From landowners, local conservation
districts, state and federal partners, all are sharing in the setting of,
goals, program delivery, and the successes in resources management.
In April, NCDEA was also invited and attended the White House Conference
on the Great American Outdoors. Two key discussions were held on
conserving working land for the benefit of all Americans and Connecting
people to our lands, water and wildlife. President Barack Obama presented
remarks and signed the American’s Great Outdoors memorandum. This
Conference was a supported by the Department of Interior, Department of
Agriculture, Environmental Quality Protection Agency and the Council on
Also in April, NCDEA participated in a number of events in conjunction
with celebrating the 75th Anniversary of NRCS including co
hosting a dinner with past Chiefs of the NRCS. NCDEA also attended the
national 75th Anniversary event in which a panel of past chiefs
spoke of past programs and accomplishments. NCDEA was honored to
participate in this historic event.
Your NCDEA Board held two conference call meetings since my last update
and we are preparing for the Midyear Board meeting to be held June 10-11,
2010 in Phoenix, AR.
NCDEA also held two State Presidents calls - May 18 and 25, 2010.
We have appointed a new committee for Policy & Procedures which is being
chaired by Treasurer Linda Smith.
NCDEA has received several
Don Aron Scholarship applications which will be reviewed by the
Scholarship Committee in Phoenix.
NCDEA is involved
with the planning of the upcoming National Leadership training Conference
in Louisville, KY the week of Dec 13, 2010. Please watch for more
information to be released soon.
the Legacy of Conservation Award for outstanding leadership in the field
of conservation signed by Sec. Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of USDA.
We started the
new year with a bylaw change that added a Regional Rep to serve on the
Executive Committee. Sharon Underwood was elected by the board to serve
as a member of the NCDEA Executive Committee. We also welcomed a new Vice
President, Irene Moore from OH in the North Central Region and said
goodbye to Tim Riley from DE in the Northeast Region. Thank you to Tim
Riley for your dedication to NCDEA! We are a stronger NCDEA because of
Tim’s leadership and dedication.
NCDEA was honored to present three awards at the NCDEA Annual Meeting,
Camden County Soil Conservation District, 2010 National Conservation
Tommy Brooks, Lee Soil and Water Conservation District,
2010 National Conservation District Professional
Gerald Scheele, Spokane County Conservation District,
2010 National Conservation District Board Supervisor
Congratulations on your outstanding leadership in the field of
NCDEA held 2 tours in Orlando Fl, in conjunction with the NACD Annual
Meeting, an Open Air Safari Coach Tour and the Harry P. Leu Garden Tour.
We held a Tuesday evening social called ‘Singing with the Likes of
Sinatra’ to support the Don Aaron Scholarship program. We also held a
‘Creative Tools for Successful Districts’ Workshop on Wednesday, February
In March I attended the quarterly National Conservation Partnership
Leaders’ Meeting in Baltimore, MD. The Maryland Conservation Partnership
presented their efforts on the Chesapeake Bay activity. With thousands of
rivers and streams in one watershed and thousands of miles of shore line
this effort could be the focus of conservation activities that will be the
pilot for the county. I would like the thank Elmer Weibley, District
Manager, Washington County Soil Conservation District, Hagerstown, MD for
his work with the Chesapeake Bay Project and contributions made during the
We have begun working with the NCDEA
committees and started work on the Mid Year Board Meeting. We are looking
forward to yet another busy year of growth through the partnership and
NCDEA. This year I would like to work on leadership development and
building a strong professional NCDEA. I would also like to continue to
work on keeping our partnerships strong.
What an honor it has been to work with you
and for you as your NCDEA President. We are very fortunate to have a board
and executive director that are dedicated to delivering conservation
programs, maintaining positive working relationships with our partners and
the professional development of Conservation District employees.
In conjunction with the NACD Annual Meeting held in New Orleans, NCDEA held
two bus tours on Sunday. Attendees had an opportunity to see a beautiful
scenic Oak Plantation while the other tour took two buses though the Bayou.
NCDEA held two board meetings: one on Saturday afternoon and one on Tuesday
morning before the NACD general session. In addition to regional reports,
nomination and election of new officers, treasurer’s report, status on
projects and fund raising, the board also made plans for a mid-year board
meeting and continued support to advance the work of conservation districts.
Regional board members were installed. Reports and comments from NCDEA
representatives to the NACD committee reports were also presented. Other
items addressed included updating the NCDEA Strategic Plan, by-law changes
regarding regional boundaries and review of policy and procedures.
We hosted a Luncheon on Tuesday – “Partnerships For Tomorrow”. The keynote
Speaker, R. Neil Sampson, talked on the importance of our conservation
partnership. We heard remarks from our conservation partners; gave
recognition to our NCDEA employee of the year, Phil Griswold from New York
(see more information on the NCDEA web site); and our NCDEA District Board
Member award recognized Pat Sueck of Pennsylvania. Along with the conducting
of our annual meeting, new officers were sworn in.
Wednesday NCDEA conducted a Workshop, “Building A Positive Future For Your
District” for 50 attendees: The Panelists for this four part workshop were:
Irene Moore, District Administrator, Jefferson SWCD, OH
Jerry Scheele, District Chairman, Spokane County CD, Spokane, WA
Don Underwood, Executive Director, Mississippi SWC Commission, Jackson, MS
Robert Dobbs, District Manager, Camden County SWCD, West Berlin, NJ
Cliff Lundin, Chairman of the Sussex County SCD, Andover, NJ
Peter Vigil, District Manager, Taos SWCD, Ranchos de Taos, MN
Brent Van Dyke, District Supervisor, Lea SWCD, Hobbs NM
and NACD Alternate Board Member from NM.
In addition to the activities reported on in New Orleans above, NCDEA was
able to provide considerable assistance to the NACD annual meeting this year
for planning and conducting concurrent sessions including providing
moderators as well as volunteer staff help for a number of the activities
such as the legislative auction.
NCDEA held several conference call meetings, to guide the actions of the
association, in addition to the mid year Board Meeting which was held in
I attended three National Conservation Partnership Leaders meetings in
Washington DC and Charleston, West Virginia. A new partnership agreement was
signed in Charleston, WV. We are working on a National Leadership Training
to be held this year as well as other conservation issues relating to the
NCDEA provided members to the NACD foundation committees.
Communications – Cindy Moon, IL
Stewardship and Education – Pam Hawkins, NC
District Operations and Member Services – Connie Richmeier, KS
Natural Resources Policy – Rick Kirchner, DE
Operating with the Natural Resources Policy Committee, will be Resources
Policy Groups. Two groups already established are:
Forest Resources Policy Group – Garth Davis, WA
Urban and Community Policy Group – Ed Hoxie, NY
A third is a Coastal Resource Policy Group and we will name a member for
this one in the near future.
Tim Riley, Vice President, NCDEA, was appointed to the NRCS Employee
development committee. We have also been asked to serve on short term task
forces and sub- committees in addition to our own NCDEA committee work.
I also attended and participated in the NACD Legislative Conference and the
National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) meetings.
NCDEA completed work on a new Strategic Plan for 2009 to 2012. We are
excited for new challenges ahead of us.
Tim Riley and I will begin calling or meeting, face to face with each state
employee association presidents to strength our working relationship and to
learn what issues and opportunities exist in each state,
We completed streamline visits in two states with a third one to follow next
year. I would like to thank Cindy Moon, Rhonda Vetsch, Mendel Wade, and Rich
Duesterhaus for the outstanding work they did with the streamline projects.
Your national board is dedicated to building the professionalism of district
employees, serving our customers and continuing to help districts provide an
important part of the conservation delivery system.
As my first year draws to a close, I see many opportunities for NCDEA.
Streamlining Visits with Kansas Field Offices
Cookeville, Tennessee Field Office
Kiowa County, Kansas Field Office
Osborne County, Kansas Field Office
Ness County, Kansas Field Office