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Five Things to Know

October 22, 2020

1. Four area meetings done, two to go

We are two-thirds of the way through annual meetings of your six area associations. Last week, the North Central Area and Southwest Area met. This week, the Northeast Area and the Northwest Area met. The 11 resolutions adopted so far are posted to the Members page under the Resolutions tab (password: WACD1942).

You may be wondering why we have area associations. It's part of the grassroots system that has been a hallmark of conservation districts since their formation. Did you know that one person's idea can rise all the way to the state and national levels to guide activities and policies? Here's how that can happen:
  1. Ideas start with individuals;
  2. Individuals gain support for their ideas from their local conservation district board;
  3. The district gains support for the idea (called a resolution) by the regional collective of districts known as an area association;
  4. Resolutions adopted by area associations are considered for adoption by the entire statewide WACD membership; and
  5. Resolutions passed at the state level that would affect the National Association of Conservation Districts or national policies/programs go to NACD to be considered for adoption.

2. Save the date: Plant Sale Roundtable November 18

On November 18th, WACD will host a roundtable for conservation districts who will be holding, or wish to hold, a plant sale. Jessica Oman (WACD PMC Sales Manager) will facilitate a sharing session with conservation districts about delivering a plant sale in the face of COVID restrictions. We'll open the Zoom line at 9:30 am and the roundtable will begin at 10 am and last for an hour.

Zoom connection details:

3. PMC sales still recovering, harvest starts soon

Sales – Since last week’s update sales have increased from $704,337 to $760,000. We are still behind compared to this time last year but sales are catching up. Some conservation districts have expressed concern about how best to hold plant sales in the time of COVID. One CD has cancelled their plant sale. As noted above, we will hold a plant sale round table via Zoom to discuss plant sales in the time of COVID.

Harvest Prep – The start of bare root harvest is approximately six weeks away. That means bringing seasonal crew members on board. We are establishing adequate procedures for operating during the pandemic. Other more typical preparations include bringing in packaging supplies, replacing two worn out strapping machines, servicing equipment, and ensuring there are enough of the myriad of other supplies needed to get through four months of harvest.

4. WACD Board to meet November 16

The WACD Board of Directors will meet on November 16 to conduct regular Association business. This meeting would normally be held in conjunction with the WACD Annual Conference but this year, we felt that we could provide more value to conference registrants if we held the regular meeting early. Meeting information will be announced on the Board of Directors Meetings page two weeks before the board meeting on November 2nd, per WACD procedure.

5. Make your voice count

Should WDFW be added to the Commission? Do you think that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife should have a voting seat on the Washington State Conservation Commission? This topic surfaced recently in the Capital Press: WDFW seeks seat on board overseeing conservation districts. The Commission has a survey out to collect the opinions from our conservation district community. Read more about it and then take the survey. The deadline for your input is October 30.

Last week to nominate for WACD award applications! The State Conservation Commission is announcing their awards at area association meetings. You might have a conservation district supervisor, staff member, or district that has been recognized. Consider nominating one of our great folks from our conservation community for a WACD award. The WACD Annual Awards Program is now available. Nominations are due to Lori McLaughlin by October 30th and winners will be announced in coordination with the WACD annual conference.

Four one-pagers for Area Association Meetings

We have four one-page briefs for review before you attend your Area Association meeting. Find them on the Members page under the Resolutions tab. Please do reach out to Ryan or me if you have questions about any of these items.

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

Driving places with my spouse seems like the very best time to shut everything else off and have quiet, quality conversations. Like you, our lives are busy! On a cloudy-but-bright Sunday, we headed to Oregon to visit our daughter, driving through the occasional patch of mist with glorious sunbreaks punctuating the journey. We like to take rural roads if time allows so we were "backroading it" from Delphi to Rochester and beyond, roughly paralleling I-5. It was bucolic and beautiful, peaceful and pleasant.

As we drove, I kept glancing out over the changing landscape and seeing rainbows in the sky. Jan wasn't seeing them. She commented that apparently I could see rainbows that nobody else could see. Well yes, I guess I do! That's part of how I approach my work with WACD. I see rainbows that others don't see. I see hope others might not see. I see dreams and aspirations and faith and promise.
Photo by Darla Stoneking from Pexels - Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/barn-countryside-farm-farmhouse-246187/
When you have a sense of positive expectation about the future even when the future feels bleak it helps you to find the motivation to get up in the morning and the energy to push forward.

“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” – Helen Keller

I believe in what our conservation district community does. I believe in how we approach challenges every day and create new opportunities. I believe in how we honor every person who makes our work possible. You people make it easy for me to jump out of bed in the morning and to get moving.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu

Over the next week-and-a-half, we're going to see a lot of negativity expressed about campaigns and elections. Our political system is set up as a win-lose system. This means that the candidate or party you prefer may win or may lose. As you visit with your friends and associates, please remember that the outcome of various elections means that some of them will be riding emotional highs and others will be feeling pretty low. In the face of those emotional extremes, the potential for interpersonal conflict is high. Our voters in Washington State tend to be more politically engaged so it is possible that we may feel political outcomes more deeply than our peers in other states.

“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.” — R. Buckminster Fuller

It's important to remember that our success resolving natural resources conflicts stems from our ability to build trust and to influence others. It's important that we remain able to work with people from all walks of life. It's important to resist the temptation to bring politics into the conservation district boardroom.

Especially during this time of passionate-but-tender emotions, I encourage you to do what you always do so well: be patient with each other, act and interact with grace, and focus on what binds us together. Remember to have hope and to look for rainbows!

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” – Nelson Mandela

The ten principles described in WACD's draft strategic plan are messages of hope. They are intended to clearly express the foundational elements that bind us together despite all of our wonderful differences. Particularly valuable in times of conflict or crisis, they provide central themes that can help to hold us together or even bring us back together:
  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.
These principles give me hope and direction. They form a tent that is big enough for all of us. To me, they also point not only to who we are in our conservation community but also to who we want to be. These draft statements could use your help! We will gladly take your suggestions to make them better!

"I think our big tent is our greatest strength." — Tom Perez

In closing, let me share the real reason I was seeing rainbows: I was wearing polarized sunglasses! There was no special magic that allowed me to see rainbows that Jan couldn't see. Or maybe I was seeing them because I prefer to feel good about our future. I want to have hope and I want to have a sense of expectation that great things are ahead of us. I want to see rainbows.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” — Peter Drucker

Be well, be careful, and thank you for your commitment to local conservation district success!

Tom Salzer, Executive Director
exec@wadistricts.org
Covey-57

Give the gift of Envirothon!

From our friends at the Washington Conservation Society: We ask you to consider designating the Washington Conservation Society as your AmazonSmile charity. Donations created from purchases made October 1, 2020 thru January 31, 2021 will go toward supporting the Washington State Envirothon. Recent budget cuts, COVID19, and other challenges have put the amazing Envirothon education program at risk. Please join WCS in supporting this wonderful and worthwhile program by giving the gift of the Envirothon for Christmas!

More from the WACD Plant Materials Center...

COVID-19 Update Skagit County is still in in phase 2 and all employees remain healthy. There have been two new cases in the county since yesterday so hopefully everyone can take the recommended precautions to keep that number down. The PMC continues to adapt to that reality. One change concerns how orders are picked up: a notice is sent out in advance requesting that customers park outside the packing shed door and their plants will be brought out. That has worked successfully with the few live stake orders that have been picked up so far. Before harvest starts the lunchroom will be rearranged so that tables are more than six feet apart. Stations on the processing line will also be spaced out further. Once the full crew arrives there will be talks on wearing masks, personal distancing, and sanitation.

Gravel Beds – This summer PMC Assistant Manager John Knox designed and conducted trials on the efficacy of using gravel beds to hold unsold or unused bare root seedlings after the planting season is over. The ornamental nursery industry has tried it with larger bare root trees and shrubs. The theory is that by using pea gravel as a media for these beds the plants can be pulled and planted while not dormant. Twice during the summer plants were taken out and planted here on irrigated ground. They did pretty well. The remaining ones were pulled yesterday and planted in a Reed Canary Grass choked riparian area to see how they do in real life conditions. These trials will be scaled up next year and include more species in real life trials and we will post this year’s results to the PMC web site.

Life Goes On – Last week we reported on the onset of shorter days. That is typically followed by colder temps which certainly seems to be the case this year. Last night was the first time it got below 40°F. The forecast for Saturday night currently calls for a low of 29° which means that frost control measures may be needed. The Western Hemlock trees have tender growth on the tips that may need protection from a moderate frost. Frost protection takes the form of irrigation. Water has latent heat that can provide a modicum of protection from unseasonably cold temperatures. An irrigation set is set up in advance and the pump is turned on as the temp nears freezing. It runs through the night into the next day when it warms above freezing, hopefully. We will be ready and will let you know how it goes!
Gravel bed 20201022
John Abby and Regina Planting 20201022

More from the WACD Executive Office...

WACD Members page – We continue to add content to the WACD Members page (password WACD1942). Most recently, we've added a history of WACD presidents since 1942 (Members page under the History tab) but we could use help connecting names to conservation districts. Please do take a look and let us know where we can fill in some gaps. Remembering those who came before us honors their contributions and helps us to remember we are part of a larger community that exists in support of conservation districts and the people they serve.

Advocacy and legislative priorities WACD will be holding a legislative priorities work session in November. Final details are being planned now so we'll get this information posted to the WACD Members page very shortly. Meanwhile, please do share your conservation district's legislative priorities with your Area Director. Your input will help inform the WACD Board as it works on legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative cycle.

Should WDFW be added to the Commission? Do you think that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife should have a voting seat on the Washington State Conservation Commission? This topic surfaced recently in the Capital Press: WDFW seeks seat on board overseeing conservation districts. The Commission has a survey out to collect the opinions from our conservation district community. Read more about it and then take the survey. The deadline for your input is October 30.

Thank you to those who participated in the NACD DEI survey! – Your responses significantly increased the feedback to NACD. The five-minute survey remains open until Friday, October 23. Find it at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZYGNSWD. Every individual in a conservation district may participate. (Background: During the National Association of Conservation Districts’s 2020 Summer Board Meeting, the NACD Board of Directors took up, voted on, and approved a formal statement on diversity, equity and inclusion. The statement included creation of a task force to provide recommendations back to the board on DEI issues for NACD and the 3,000 conservation districts represented by NACD. NACD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force began work earlier this fall and needs feedback from conservation districts.)

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.

One website we ran across is very simple but oh so useful for the local community: the Ferry County View. It is deceptively basic and simple, but these characteristics are exactly what make it so easy to use. There's a lesson there that we've all heard before: keep it simple!

Conservation Community
Agriculture / Food
Budget / Economy
Climate / Weather
Conservation (not conservation districts)
COVID / Health
Diversity / Equity / Inclusion
These resources will also be added to the For Members page of the WACD website.
Fire
Forests / Forestry
Management / Leadership
Salmon / Orca / Fish Recovery
Soil
Water

Partners and Publications

This content has been moved to the WACD "For Members" page for the sake of brevity.

WACD hears you and is here for you!

We welcome your feedback.
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