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Five Things to Know

September 24, 2020

Five Things WACD Wants You to Know

1. Thank you for your dues support!

As of September 23rd, WACD has received annual dues support from 41 of our 45 conservation districts. Your support is vital to our mission of serving as the statewide voice of conservation districts. This becomes even more pointed when we are faced with a particularly challenging legislative season just around the corner! We deeply appreciate your trust and help. Thank you.

2. It's election season! What should/can you do?

It seems like every year a situation arises where an official or employee doesn't quite follow the rules for what is, and is not, allowed in supporting ballot initiatives and candidates. Before you take any action for or against initiatives or candidates, we recommend checking to see what is allowed and if there are special restrictions. MRSC has guidance on a wide variety of issues related to campaigns and elections. We suggest that you start with these MRSC resources:

3. PMC sales are growing

Plant Materials Center sales are rebounding for the first time since COVID became a pandemic. As of 9/23/20 the PMC has booked $716,933 in sales, which is an increase of $236,500 since the last sales report on 9/2/20. That compares with $737,077 this time last year and $607,075 this time in 2018. Barring any cancellations or loss of stock, the PMC is 65% of the way to meeting our sales budget for the year. Staff have done a great job of reaching out and working with customers to help meet their needs.

4. Computer viruses are bad for you

We're hearing reports of networks becoming infected with malware. You may also have noticed an uptick in the number of emails that purport to be from someone you know that ask you to do something unusual for them. Just like we are wearing masks and sanitizing to protect ourselves from the novel coronavirus, it's important to innoculate your computer, keep it healthy, and be safe when browsing, reading email, and clicking links.

5. Saturday discussion on conservation district elections

The Washington State Conservation Commission will host a Zoom meeting on Saturday, September 26th at 9:00 am on conservation district elections. Registration is required using this link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIlduyhpzMtGtTU3Cbx6BPIJNcTdcwNlcBX

Opportunities to grow and contribute as an Area Director

If you are a conservation district supervisor, you are already a very busy person. So why might you wish to serve as an Area Director? As an Area Director:
  • You help contribute to a positive future
  • You are part of a large team
  • It takes less time than you might think
  • You are informed and "in the know"
  • You are part of decision making
There may be opportunities to run for election as an Area Director at your upcoming area association meeting. Consider reaching out to your current Area Directors or to a WACD Officer to learn more. This information is expanded in a recent web post on the WACD website.

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

This week I am focusing the Executive Corner on some fundamental work that WACD is doing: developing a strategic plan. This work was requested by WACD members and a team has been refining our thinking for several months. While it doesn't sound very exciting, it is actually deeply interesting because it gives us an excuse to explore our most fundamental beliefs and values.

The resulting draft plan is a high-level framework being built in two parts. The first part contains the relatively unchanging "evergreen" statements of WACD's mission, vision, and principles. The second part covers goals, strategic approaches, and a scorecard for reporting.

Let's look at the evergreen items. Without further ado, here are the draft mission, vision, and principles statements. Please let us know where we have hit the mark and where you think we may have missed.

Mission

Put simply, our mission is why we are here, describing in the briefest terms the unique value that WACD provides:

WACD serves as the collective voice of conservation districts to help them achieve their purposes.

Vision

The vision statement succinctly describes our ultimate desired destination:

WACD aspires to fully support conservation districts in their implementation of locally developed conservation programs.

Principles (values)

Principles are descriptions of our most fundamental shared values. These bind us together and allow us to work effectively toward common goals. Our values frame and support specific goals and strategic approaches.

Principles/values should be thought of as persistent or evergreen: not changing from year to year. They are the foundation upon which to build annual work plans and the signposts to guide our decisions along the way. When the going gets difficult, our common principles serve to hold us together and keep us pointed in the right direction.

We propose ten core principles:
  1. We exist to advocate for, and support, member conservation districts.
  2. We serve people with dignity and respect, acting with integrity and operating with transparency and accountability to all.
  3. We continually seek to become more capable in serving members, including maintaining financial strength, enhancing board capacity, and improving staff capacity.
  4. We value and recognize our people for excellence in performance, including teamwork, innovation, timely completion of tasks, and support of others.
  5. Our responses to conservation issues are founded on proven methodologies and science.
  6. We form and support strategic partnerships to maximize our effectiveness and to reduce duplication of effort.
  7. We seek to conserve natural resources in the way we operate our organization.
  8. We believe in, and uphold, the practice of locally-led, voluntary, incentive-based conservation.
  9. Private lands – and those who steward them – provide unique and valuable conservation of renewable natural resources to be used today and by future generations.
  10. Because natural resources cross jurisdictional boundaries and ownerships, all lands – and the people and entities that manage them – are important in conserving renewable natural resources.
We invite your feedback on the draft strategic plan. Your input is very important because whatever WACD adopts will guide the way your Association works with, and supports, members.

You can find more about the draft strategic plan on the WACD website.
Tom Salzer, Executive Director
exec@wadistricts.org
"Correct principles are like compasses: they are always pointing the way. And if we know how to read them, we won't get lost, confused, or fooled by conflicting voices and values." - Stephen R. Covey

More from the WACD Plant Materials Center...

COVID-19 Update Skagit County remains in phase 2 and all employees remain healthy. Nine new cases of COVID have been reported in Skagit County in recent days so the PMC will remain vigilant in adhering to all required protocols and regulations.

Live Stake Harvest Has Begun – The PMC completed two small orders for live stakes this week. Live stakes such as Willow, Cottonwood, Twinberry, and Ninebark cuttings can be successfully harvested and planted before they go dormant. This is a little earlier than usual but the customers had extenuating circumstances and needed to plant them now. The next live stake orders are scheduled for mid-October which is more typical.

Smoke Clears – Thank goodness the smoke has cleared and the air is healthier to breath! We are lucky that there were not any fires around to worry about but the air quality index was unhealthy. It was over 300 at times last week. The Oregon Department of Ag recommended that farm workers not work outside when the AQI exceeds 150. The PMC had decided not to work outside before that recommendation was announced.

Life Goes On – The rains have returned and none too soon. The ground was unusually dry as were the woods. A brush fire could have turned ugly very quickly. The roads on the nursery were a dusty nuisance but that is in the past now. Of course, in an operation as diversified as this there is an upside and downside to any weather. One can be thankful and curse the weather any and every day of the year. The downside to the rain returning is that it puts a stop to plant dormancy induction through drought stressing. That is nothing new and there is nothing we can do about it anyway. The rain also helps with preparations for fall seedbed planting.
Conifer Seedbed 9.24.20-1024px

More from the WACD Executive Office...

Commission has released budget requests – The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) has submitted 2021-2023 state budget requests to support conservation districts and voluntary conservation work over the next biennium. The Capital Budget request summarizes requests for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Irrigation Efficiencies, Natural Resource Investments, State Match for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and Shellfish Program. The Operating Budget request summarizes requests for Conservation Technical Assistance, Food Policy, and the Voluntary Stewardship Program.

Opportunity to review NACD sunsetting policies – The NACD sunset process removes policies after five years unless challenged. Only NACD Board of Directors members (including alternates) may challenge the sunsetting of policies. If you would like to review the 99-page NACD policy book with sunsetting policies highlighted, please contact Tom or Ryan. Edits proposed for a sunsetting policy must be submitted as a new state resolution. Questions about the policies and process can be answered by our National Director Doug Rushton.

Zoom practice sessions – Don't forget the Zoom practice sessions! We have two standing time slots for you to practice your Zoom skills. Tom Salzer will be available from 3 pm to 4:30 pm on Mondays. Ryan Baye will be available from 9:30 am to 11 am on Fridays. We'll maintain this schedule through September and into October. If you need to practice at a different time, please contact us. Zoom practices sessions will be at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2466479813

Reminder: WACD awards due October 30th – WACD’s Annual Awards Program is now available. Please nominate an outstanding member of Washington State’s conservation community who deserves recognition. Nominations are due to Lori McLaughlin by October 30th and winners will be announced in coordination with the WACD annual conference.

NACD DEI task force: update – Last week we reported that WACD Executive Director Tom Salzer was appointed to serve on a task force about NACD's statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion. That group has held a kickoff meeting and will be meeting every Monday afternoon. This first meeting was productive, with a pathway forward emerging even as we began to get to know each other.

Links to what we are reading

Below are links to interesting items we are reading. Disclaimer: inclusion of these links in this newsletter do not imply official WACD support or endorsement of particular positions or information. Some news sources may be behind paywalls.

Conservation Community
Fire
Economy
Agriculture / Forestry
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Climate and Weather
Leadership and Management
  • Four Signs of a Leader of Hope | John Maxwell - "Given the struggles that our world is going through right now, it saddens me to see men and women in leadership positions and roles who choose to lead by pushing people apart rather than by bringing them together. I see too many leaders leaning into the things that separate us, stoking fear over hope, or leaders who simply shrink back from the moment and allow the darkness to swallow them instead of lighting candle to fight it."
  • Shakespeare and Public Administration | PA TIMES Online - "In government, power is the one element that Shakespeare explores in great detail. His characters grapple with issues that come with positions of power — greed, jealousy, treason and uncertainty."
  • Ethical Dilemmas: The Crucibles of Public Service | PA TIMES Online - "In public service, there is hardly any room for transgressions of ethical imperatives. Most public servants, 'Live in glass houses with the curtains open...' "
  • Shut up first, talk later | Management.Issues - "If more leaders spoke less, or at least later on, there would be increased participation, better information sharing and more effective meetings."
  • Daniel Pink: How to Not Be Overwhelmed Right Now | Inc.com - "Social distancing notwithstanding, you have plenty of company if the global pandemic and social unrest across the U.S. have you feeling extra emotional or sometimes even frantic. Maintaining your focus may be only a matter of making a few adjustments to your routine and mindset, according to management expert Daniel Pink."
Communication

Partners and Publications

Partners and Associations (suggestions welcome)
Resources and Publications
DEI resources for those who are ready to learn more

WACD hears you and is here for you!

We welcome your feedback.
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