Five Things to Know

December 23, 2020: The Christmas/New Years Edition

What does Christmas mean to you? The history of Christmas is fascinating. If you're interested in this topic, here are some links to get you started on an interesting journey:
All of us at your Washington Association of Conservation Districts extend our best wishes to you that this season will be a time of good health, happiness, and hope.

1. WACD offers scholarships to NACD annual conference

Since the NACD Annual Conference (February 1-10, 2021) will be virtual and the cost is low, WACD sees an opportunity to increase participation/representation from Washington conservation districts. We are pleased to announce that WACD will cover the NACD registration fee for one district supervisor from each of our 45 conservation districts!

We need your district to respond with the name of the board supervisor and his/her email address in order to complete the registration on their behalf. The deadline for this is January 22nd. Please contact Ryan Baye with your conservation district's selection.

For more information about the NACD annual conference, visit NACD’s conference website (https://events.bizzabo.com/NACD/home).

Potential conference highlights include: a presentation in part by Laura Johnson on district communications, a session hosted by Pierce CD on two of their projects (Floodplains by Design and a new carbon credit program), and the inauguration of NACD President-Elect Michael Crowder.

2. No COVID at Plant Materials Center!

Great news this week that our WACD Plant Materials Center folks were tested for COVID and everyone tested negative! We continue to follow our COVID plan to keep people safe and well.

3. House RDAN committee members appointed

2021 House Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee members:
  • Chair: Rep. Mike Chapman (D – Port Angeles), Ranking Member: Rep. Bruce Chandler (R – Granger)
  • Democratic Reps: Shewmake (Vice Chair), Fitzgibbon, Kloba, Lekanoff, Morgan, Ramos, and Springer
  • Republican Reps: Kretz (Assistant Ranking Member), Dent, Klicker, McEntire, Orcutt, and Schmick

4. Senate Ag committee members appointed

2021 Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources, & Parks Committee members:
  • Chair: Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D – Sequim), Ranking Member: Sen. Judy Warnick (R – Moses Lake)
  • Democratic Senators: Salomon (Vice Chair), Stanford, and Rolfes
  • Republican Senators: Honeyford (Assistant Ranking Member) and Short

5. See you next year

The WACD-Olympia staff are taking a post-conference break between Christmas and New Years. That means this is the last 5 Things newsletter in calendar year 2020. You can still email us and leave us phone messages. It's likely that we'll succumb to temptation and check our email and messages at some point next week so do reach out if you have questions! Our very best wishes to you!

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

This week I am focused on spending time with my family. Particularly this year, I feel the need to hold my family close. While we can't all be together in person, we can be together in spirit. While technology can divide us, it can also help us to stay connected.

As we approach the end of calendar year 2020, I want to express my appreciation to many folks.

You welcomed me back from my nine-year sojourn in Oregon. There were a few curve balls tossed my way but nothing too hard to handle. You expressed how you really felt, and even when that was uncomfortable, the underlying spirit of caring about each other was there. You remained committed to your success in your local community and to the success of your collective community in Washington State and beyond.

I appreciate that most of us have retained our health despite enduring COVID-19 and wildfires this year. I appreciate that our conservation districts and partners have found ways to weather those challenges and still focus on delivering services to the people in their local communities.

I appreciate that the reputation and credibility of our conservation district community not only remains strong, it is ascendant. I appreciate the many partners and sponsors who lined up with us this year to help us deliver better service and support to our conservation district members.

I appreciate the flexibility and adaptability of our entire Washington conservation district community: your sense of grace and patience, and your continued desire to serve when and where needed.

Within Washington State, the one entity that consistently shines like a beacon of hope is our very own Washington State Conservation Commission. Having seen how state conservation agencies operate in several other states, I know how unique and precious are our Conservation Commission folks...not just the staff but also the commissioners. Our community is much stronger because of guidance and assistance from the Commission.

I appreciate our incredible, steadfast national partners...not only the National Association of Conservation Districts and the National Conservation District Employees Association and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, but also the National Association of State Conservation Agencies and the National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils.

Even though we have had many moments when we weren't sure how the year was going to go, we have a lot to be thankful for. I am thankful for my entire family -- not only the people I am related to, but also the people I relate to.

I am looking toward 2021 with a sense of hope and anticipation.

With deep appreciation,

Tom Salzer, Executive Director
As we begin to work on updating our five-year summary of adopted resolutions and the status of each, we begin with an updated list of all such resolutions.

We will work on updating the status of each during January. Download the five-year summary in PDF format from the Resolutions page. Once we finish updating the status of each resolution, we'll post that information to the Members page under the Resolutions tab.

We need you on Slack!

Slack stands for Searchable Log of All Communication and Knowledge. The Slack account exists to promote conservation community success in Washington State by facilitating communication and the exchange of information. Contact Tom for an invitation. We would love to see you there!

More from the WACD Plant Materials Center

COVID-19 Update – As mentioned last week, two employees tested positive for COVID and the Skagit County Health Department requested that we have all employees tested to determine if there were more employees that have it. As it turns out, everyone tested negative, thank goodness. All precautions continue since there are around 30-40 new cases being reported daily in Skagit County.

Sales – There is not a new sales report this week to review but several new sales have been posted. Sales should still be close to this time last year which is a pleasant surprise, what with a pandemic going on.

Harvest Continues – The PMC continues to lift plants from the field and bring them in for processing, adding more and more stock to the cooler. The crew deserves kudos for their hard work, especially the outside crew that help bring in the plants from the field. They worked in cold, windy rain yesterday. The temperature was almost freezing and we got over an inch of rain that was blowing sideways in the wind. Another thing to be thankful for is the sandy soil at the PMC. If we had heavy clay soil, we would have been shut down by muck and standing water.

The Holiday Season Nears – The PMC is going to be closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so if anyone needs anything please let us know ASAP. We will also be closed for New Year’s. A short break is welcome after three solid weeks of harvest. The staff at the PMC wishes everyone Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and many thanks for hanging in there in 2020, a year that will live in infamy.

Life Goes On – As demanding as the job is this time of year, I think everyone here appreciates that there is still a job to do and most importantly for their health and everyone’s health. We wish the same to all.
PMC Sunrise 20201223-1024px

More from the WACD Executive Office

Olympia office closed between Christmas and New Years Ryan and Tom will be taking annual leave starting December 24th. Call (360-999-5151) or write if you need us but please don't expect an immediate response!

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!

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.

Our conservation community
Agriculture / Food
Budget / Legislature
Climate / Weather
COVID / Pandemic
Diversity / Equity / Inclusion
Fish / Wildlife / ESA
  • For the first time in more than 80 years, salmon spawning in the upper Columbia River | The Spokesman-Review - Colville Tribal biologists counted 36 redds (a gravely nest in which female salmon lay their eggs) along an 8-mile stretch of the Sanpoil River, a tributary of the Columbia, in September. “I was shocked at first, then I was just overcome with complete joy,” said Crystal Conant, a Colville Tribal member from the Arrow Lakes and SanPoil bands. “I don’t know that I have the right words to even explain the happiness and the healing.”
Forests / Forestry
Management / Leadership / Governance
Technology / Information Technology

We appreciate our sponsors!

Many thanks to our generous sponsors for helping us support Washington State's conservation districts. Find links to these organizations at https://wadistricts.org/sponsors
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