As the six annual meetings of Washington’s area associations of conservation districts conclude, I am reminded how incredibly lucky we are to have so many fine, caring people who are willing to work together to improve our natural resources. I am always left in awe by our people when they join forces to move their ideas forward.
Area association annual meetings are where the ideas born in local conservation districts rise to be considered by neighboring districts. Resolutions that are supported by a majority of voters then rise to WACD’s statewide annual business meeting for discussion and decision by eligible voters. Our system is strong because our foundation at the grassroots level — local conservation districts, serving their local community’s needs — is strong.
WACD aspires to fully support conservation districts in their implementation of locally developed conservation programs. That is our role and our purpose.
I always enjoy area association meetings. They are personal. Great, gritty ideas bubble up. Some ideas are generated before the meetings and some occur during the active ferment of discussion. The huge hearts of our people and their commitment to conservation always shine through, even in the midst of difficult topics.
Not all ideas survive the resolution process, or perhaps I should say that sometimes an idea doesn’t survive the first attempt to gather support on a regional basis. Good ideas are often held onto, not discarded. Those come back in the future, perhaps when people have had more time to let those ideas swim for a while in their minds. This thought reminds me of a recent quotation from one of my favorite inspirational (yet practical) authors, James Clear:
Your time is better spent championing good ideas than tearing down bad ones. The best thing that can happen to a bad idea is that it is forgotten. The best thing that can happen to a good idea is that it is shared. Feed the good ideas and let bad ideas die of starvation.
WACD takes direction from the resolutions that are adopted at the WACD annual business meeting. We are informed, though, even by the resolutions that don’t receive sufficient support to be adopted. We work to feed the good ideas so that they may survive to be considered again.
For those who like the acerbic humor of Dave Barry, you might enjoy this quote from him about meetings:
“Meetings are places where dead ideas rise from their graves and eat the brains of the living.”
For those who see the value of key people in their organization, this quote from Nancy Kline might be of interest:
“A manager’s ability to turn meetings into a thinking environment is probably an organization’s greatest asset.”
And as we quickly approach the WACD annual conference and the subsequent WACD annual business meeting, this quote from Tony Robbins is on point:
“Engaging people is about meeting their needs, not yours.”
As I type this, the first session at the WACD annual conference starts in just five days! Please remember to register for the annual conference and the annual business meeting. We still need sponsors (sponsorships help hold down costs for our members).
Always yours for conservation,
Tom Salzer, WACD Executive Director