Five Things to Know

October 29, 2020

Annual conference info available at

Remember to turn back your clocks on Sunday, November 1

1. Now open: WACD annual conference registration

Registration is now open for WACD's 2020 statewide annual conference. As you'll see on the annual conference web page, all you need to know about the conference will be provided there. You'll also find that some parts of the conference page are not yet complete. We will continue to add information over the next few weeks. There is enough there now to give you a good idea of what is in store for attendees at our annual statewide gathering!

2. Reminder: Commission budget support letters

We encourage conservation districts to express support for the State Conservation Commission's budget proposals as described in two fact sheets. We have a sample support letter available to help you in drafting your own letter. Letters of support are best submitted before October 30 but support at any time is helpful.

3. PMC: One positive COVID test, sales OK, fall planting

One person on the crew tested positive for COVID; she is in quarantine and no other folks have tested positive. Total sales have increased from $760,000 to $787,000 and there are no new cancellations to report. Fall seed planting continues. No Giant Asian Hornets have been located in Skagit but folks are watching for them! Overall, activity at the PMC is increasing. See the full PMC report below for more information.

4. Last call for WACD award nominations

Last week to nominate for WACD award applications! You probably have a conservation district supervisor, staff member, or district worthy of recognition! 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.

5. Save the date: several events in November

Some of this information is also available in the most recent District Digest from the Washington State Conservation Commission!

November 9: WACD Board of Directors work session – The WACD Board of Directors will meet on November 9 in a work session to discuss: legislative priorities, legislative communication strategies, possible bylaws changes, and the Board's 2021 meeting schedule. We expect that WACD's contract lobbyist will be present to assist the Board on the legislative topics. Please do share your conservation district's legislative priorities with your Area Director.

November 16: WACD Board of Directors meetingThe 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.

November 18: Plant sale roundtable – 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.
November 21: CD elections web meeting – The conversation about CD elections continues on Saturday, November 21 from 9 am to noon. The meeting objective is to collect CD input on options for potential changes to CD elections. Participation by CD supervisors and staff will ensure that Commission members hear from you. Your input will be shared with Conservation Commission members to help inform their discussion and potential action on CD elections at their public meeting on December 3, 2020.

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

We are a month away from the WACD 2020 Annual Conference and the time is going very quickly for WACD staff. In a normal year, ramping up for the annual conference consumes a lot of time. This year, we've had many new challenges to overcome in planning our first-ever wholly remote annual conference. Even though we'd like to do even more, it feels like we're doing as well as we can. You should find the annual conference to be informative, fulfilling, and enjoyable this year. We are always happy to hear your suggestions!

Just like we have been pivoting quickly to find ways to present a virtual conference this year, so too will our work with legislators require some different approaches. This week, I was reminded of how challenging it will be to build relationships with legislators and to meet with them when all such contacts are likely to be by telephone or video conference. The legislative session coming up in January will be one of our most challenging sessions ever and we will definitely be calling on conservation districts to help advance their interests.
Renewing or creating relationships with legislators should start now. This is a perfect time to reach out to your legislators to let them know who you are and what you do. It's a small thing that means a lot. It's timely now because their time is not yet completely consumed by the legislative session. This is the time to build stronger relationships with them as we know we will need their support in just a few short months.

“In many ways, effective communication begins with mutual respect, communication that inspires, and encourages others to do their best.” – Zig Ziglar

Do reach out to your legislators. They will let you know how they wish to interact. Share your conservation message and credo with them. Tell a story. Provide testimonials. Link them to reports or videos you have produced.

“Storytellers, by the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning.” – Chris Cavanaugh

What we do cuts across all of the political differences we have. Polluted water affects everyone. Salmon recovery is an ever-present concern. As we saw with wildfires this year, bad air quality impacts people situated far away from active fires. Food systems were caught by surprise by COVID, and many of us are crossing our fingers that a fall/winter resurgence of COVID doesn't create the scarcity issues we saw earlier this year.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

Conservation districts have interests in all of these issues and more. Your legislator deserves to know what is important to your district and what you are doing. The information you provide can help them better represent the interests of their constituents, many of whom are also your constituents. You can't know that they know of your great work until you share it with them.

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” – Tony Robbins

The upcoming legislative session will feature intense competition for limited financial resources. You can help yourself and all of our Washington State conservation districts by making sure that your legislators know who you are, why you exist, and what you are doing. Tell your story. Build that connection. Make your legislators part of your successful conservation district team!

Yours in conservation,

Tom Salzer, Executive Director

More from the WACD Plant Materials Center...

COVID-19 Update – The big thing to report is that one person on the crew has tested positive for COVID-19. She is in quarantine for 10 days after which she will be retested to determine if she is cleared to return to work. She has been doing fine with only limited symptoms. Her husband also works at the PMC and he has tested negative. He is also in quarantine and we will require a negative test after quarantine before returning. Everyone else here continues to feel healthy and we are hopeful that this continues. It is a reminder of the importance in practicing the recommend safeguards. It is also a reminder that running the harvest with a crew of 20 for four months with more and more cases of COVID showing up is going to be a challenge. We will continue to follow sanitation, personal distancing, and other regulations. We will also start taking temperatures. Hopefully we can stay on top of this, protect our people, and not have production affected too much.

Sales – Since last week’s update sales increased from $760,000 to $787,000 so not a big sales week, but at least we do not have any new cancellations to report. Our current sales figure is down from this time last year by $35,750 which is a number we can catch up to. (It should be noted that sales of $787,000 exceeds a similar time 2 years ago when they were $695,500.) Whether or not we do remains to be seen. It is likely that the progression of COVID will dictate our sales performance. All indications are that it will continue to spike so nothing is certain at this point. One reminder is that on November 18 we will hold a Zoom meeting roundtable for conservation district plant sale staff to discuss planning and how to conduct plant sales in the time of COVID. Let us know if you would like to participate.

Fall Seed Planting Continues – Fall seed planting still continues. Seeds for some of the species that are fall sown are still maturing, being collected, and processed. Finding decent weather, prepping ground, and getting them planted is challenging this time of year. One of the attached photos show what a recently planted seedbed looks like when done with a seed drill. The other shows a less efficient method: planting the seeds by hand. We have to do that when the seeds are too big or too oddly shaped to go through the drill. The photo shows Oregon Ash seed being planted. The wing on the seed is a part of the seed coat and dewinging the seed would kill it. Incense Cedar is the same. Most other species with winged seeds are dewinged so they can be planted using the seed drill. As a matter of fact, the seed and soil conditions are adequate for planting today so this report might be a little short. After today's planting is done there will still be another round later when the rest of the seed we need is received.
Oregon Ash Sow 20201028-1024px
Giant Asian Hornet – Many have probably already heard that there is an invasive hornet that was spotted in Whatcom County. The Giant Asian Hornet poses a threat to bee hives as well as to human health and safety. WSDA started a citizen-based trapping program this summer and the PMC participated, along with many others throughout the region. The trapping season ended this week and we are happy to report no sightings in Skagit County. We plan to do this again next summer.

Life Goes On – Activity at the PMC is on the upswing. Finishing seed collections and fall sowing are as urgent as ever, as well as preparing the facility for winter. We are processing and shipping live stakes and getting ready to start lifting bare root seedlings in another month. Between now and then the processing line and lunch room needs to be modified to meet personal distancing requirements so that we can safely bring in and start working the harvest crew. Barring new and difficult-to-implement COVID regulations or a labor shortage we should be ready in time.

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 Executive Office...

Area association meetings completed – We made it! All six area association meetings have been held. A total of 13 resolutions were adopted by area association voters and 12 resolutions are advancing to the WACD annual conference. We have the resolutions posted on the Members page (password: *password removed*) and on the Annual Conference page, in both cases under the Resolutions tab.

Help us with our history of WACD presidents – We continue to add content to the WACD Members page (password *password removed*). Most recently, we've added a history of WACD presidents since 1942 (Members page under the History tab) but we could use your help connecting names to conservation districts. Please 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 much larger community that exists in support of conservation districts and the people they serve.

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.

Remember: Daylight Saving Time to 'fall back' this Sunday

Conservation Community
Agriculture / Food
Climate / Weather
Conservation (not conservation districts)
COVID / Health
Forests / Forestry
Management / Leadership

Partners and Publications

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

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