Five Things to Know

November 25, 2020


If your conservation district is not able to send a board supervisor to the WACD annual conference and business meeting, we have a solution for you! The Washington Conservation Society has generously earmarked some money to pay the registration fee for one board supervisor for any district that can't afford to attend the conference. That's right: the $50 single registrant fee can be covered by the WCS donation. Limit one per district and there are only 10 of these available in total. Contact Ryan Baye or Tom Salzer if you'd like to take advantage of this gracious offer. The more conservation district voices helping us, the stronger we all are. (Many thanks to our good friends with the WCS!)

1. A new Ash at the Plant Materials Center

We have a new member of the conservation family! – Top billing this week is reporting on a new Ash at the Plant Materials Center. We are pleased to report that John Knox, the WACD PMC Assistant Manager, and his partner Leah brought a healthy 7½ pound baby boy into this world. His name is Ash and he and mother and father are doing fine. We wish them well on this new and exciting chapter.

2. Two WACD committees met this week

WACD's Finance Committee and Legislative, Bylaws & District Policies Committee met this week to review and act on resolutions. The committees studied the resolutions adopted at area association meetings in October. You'll find their recommendations of DO PASS, DO PASS AS AMENDED, and DO NOT PASS under the Resolutions tab of the conference web page.

3. Final WACD Annual Conference details soon

When is soon?

We plan to publish the remainder of the conference information on Saturday, November 28th.


Resolutions will be heard and decided by eligible voters during WACD's annual business meeting on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 2nd. Because of the number of participants and the limited time available, the presiding officer will limit the number of times that individuals will be able to address the group about a resolution, and will also likely limit the length of time to one minute per comment. These measures are necessary to assure that all who wish to speak to an issue will be able to do so.

We encourage you to read the resolutions (find them under the Resolutions tab on the conference web page). Without in-person opportunities to have back-of-the-room or hallway conversations, those who are interested in particular resolutions should read them by Monday or Tuesday. This will give you time to reach out to the originators and to the appropriate committee members if you need more information or want to lobby for your position.


We've received many questions about how voting will be conducted. Find the latest information on the conference web page under the Voting tab. (Late edit: the content under the Voting tab mysteriously disappeared late this evening. We restored the prior content and will get it updated as soon as possible!) Since the conference is being held remotely, and since we have varying degrees of internet connectivity in our widely distributed membership, no single solution perfectly and completely addresses our challenges. Please read the information under the Voting tab to become familiar with how voting will be conducted.

Sponsors and Partners

We encourage you to check out the list of sponsors and partners for the annual conference and get to know the organizations who are graciously supporting the statewide conference.

Printable schedule

We should have a printable schedule available on the conference web page by Saturday morning. This is a fallback just in case some detestable gremlin interferes with the website (knock on wood)!

4. Service recognition

Normally at the WACD annual conference, we hand out certificates and pins in recognition of important milestones in a conservation district supervisor’s years of service to their district. Since the conference is not an in-person event this year, WACD mailed these certificates last week to district offices. We know some have already been received.

Please join us in recognizing the longest-serving supervisor this year. With 45 years of service, we congratulate John Preston of Grant County Conservation District!

5. We hope you are thankful

Research shows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude can make you happier. As we interrupt our normal work week in recognition of the Thanksgiving holiday, we'll make the 5th Thing this week a quote from Psychology Today: "During COVID-19, we can be mindful of the many gifts around us. We can appreciate big things and small. We can appreciate people and experiences. We can marvel at the complex way that life insists on living itself. That people keep trying and that circumstances keep throwing us curve balls. It's ok. We will dodge some and engage some and put our hearts into our lives and make what we can of them. Sometimes, we can feel wonder about what we notice and it does not need to be about ourselves. It can just be noticing." We are thankful for you!

Executive Corner

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:reader],

This week's theme is unity (not uniformity!)

Because the Thanksgiving holiday occurs on our normal publication day, I'm publishing the 5 Things newsletter one day early. The theme today seems entirely appropriate right before we convene the 2020 WACD annual conference and business meeting in WACD's 78th year of existence: unity.

Unity is when we come together: "a situation in which people, groups, or countries join together or agree about something." Sometimes people confuse the concept of unity with uniformity: "the state of being the same as each other or as everything else."

We are most certainly not uniform by any stretch of the imagination! If we all thought the same and believed the same, we would have no disagreements. Gathering together to exchange ideas and understand other points of view would useless because everyone would already have the same thoughts. What dull and boring days we would have without the spice provided by our differences!

Unity is important and useful. It is a goal that we can aspire to attain, a state of being where we join together in agreement about something. It helps us accomplish together that which we could not accomplish alone.

In union there is strength. - Aesop

Maybe that goal, that point in common that we share is protecting agriculture, or conserving natural resources, or leaving the campsite better for our children. Maybe that shared issue is solving conservation district election problems or finding sustainable funding for all of our districts.

Whatever the issue is, it is likely difficult. Most of the issues faced by conservation districts are difficult. If they were easy, they would already be solved.

If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great. - Tom Hanks

And so we come together once a year to try to seek unity on difficult topics. We sometimes struggle to understand new ideas and different perspectives. It's hard work because each of us brings our own set of life experiences and beliefs with us when we listen and speak.

You don’t get unity by ignoring the questions that have to be faced. - Jay Weatherill

We're not the same. Our disturbing, delightful differences drive our debates and define our decisions. Those differences also allow us to be spectacularly creative, working together to invent solutions that no one person could develop.

None of us is as smart as all of us. – Ken Blanchard

The WACD annual conference starts in just a few days. We will come together with as many different opinions and solutions as there are people present. In previous years, many side conversations would occur at the conference. Many of the sidebar debates were limited to a few people at a time.

This year, we will all be participating remotely. We won't be in the same room or in the same hallway. Opportunities for those important back-of-the-room conversations will be limited. Because we'll be working together remotely, the conference will feel more structured. It will probably feel like it is moving more slowly than in prior years.

These are good things. Having presentations and discussions proceed more methodically means that everyone can have a chance to be heard and everyone will be able to listen to what is being said.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. - Bryant H. McGill

A slower, more pedestrian pace is a positive feature of the conference. This year, more information is available before the conference to help prepare you for the presentations you'll hear and the conversations you'll have. This year, we have a wonderful opportunity to pause and listen instead of jockeying for who gets to speak next.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. - Dr. Stephen R. Covey

As we work together, I ask that you think about how much stronger we are when we can come together on a particular issue and solution.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. - Helen Keller

Our strength is founded upon our commitment to work together toward a common cause, even when we may not wholly agree with the solution. The guiding principles in WACD's new strategic plan are intended to help us find common ground in our work together. We cannot afford to be divided in our most important work.

We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end. - Woodrow T. Wilson

During the conference, please remember these thoughts:
  • You (yes, YOU!) are important. You are part of the unique mix of people that give us energy and ideas, helping to move us toward key actions. We want you there! We need to hear and understand your concerns and for you to hear from others. We depend on you.
  • There will be many bits of wisdom shared during the conference. You can get the most from the conference when you can be open to new ideas. Be a sponge: "When you listen, you learn, you absorb like a sponge - and your life becomes so much better than when you are just trying to be listened to all the time." - Steven Spielberg
  • For our most important work, to effectively achieve our desired outcomes we must become one team: "Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence on one another and of strength to be derived by unity." - Vince Lombardi
We look forward to seeing and hearing you next week. This first-ever wholly virtual annual conference is a grand adventure for us. I know we'll all learn a lot. I hope you enjoy our time together and come out of the experienced enriched and pleased.

I'll end with these thoughts from Henry Ford because they encapsulate the enchanting idea that we are already successful:

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. - Henry Ford

My best always,

Tom Salzer, Executive Director

More from the WACD Plant Materials Center...

COVID-19 Update – The main focus of this Thanksgiving week has always been final preparations for the start of harvest, including hiring a seasonal crew. As one could imagine, things are more complicated with a pandemic going on. Our planning had to incorporate hiring a 20-person crew. That includes stocking up on personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, safety glasses, hand sanitizers, and surface wipes. Hopefully these preparations will help keep everyone healthy, including customers. The procedures for how to pick-up plants has been sent to everyone applicable with corresponding signage posted at key points. There is also an action plan that lists what to do if someone comes in with a fever and what to do if they test positive for COVID-19.

Seasonal Harvest Crew Hired – Last week the PMC called potential employees for the harvest crew and we hope to have all 20 spots filled. The best part is that most of them worked here last year so they should be able to pick up where they left off last year. This week they have been coming in to fill out paperwork so that we will be ready to start harvest on December 1.

See You at The Annual Meeting – The one area where harvest prep has become less complicated are the plans and preparations to travel to and attend the WACD Annual Meeting. We will be sitting in on and participating in several of the sessions. There will also be a brief PMC Report during the business meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Hopefully our virtual paths will cross.

Life Goes On – The attached photos show that plants are going dormant. The days are getting shorter and temperatures colder and the chill requirement of 300 hours below 40° F used to estimate the onset of dormancy is approaching. It will soon be time to go dig plants and there are a number of customers who want to start planting.
1-0 Hardwoods 20201124
Willow 20201124

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...

Nothing extra from us this week – We have gone "all in" this week on the WACD annual conference so we don't have extra items for this part of the newsletter this time around. This is the last push before we deliver the conference experience and we've been burning the midnight oil to bring this event to the finish line for you.

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
Agriculture / Food
Budget / Legislature
Climate / Weather
COVID / Pandemic
Diversity / Equity / Inclusion
Information Technology / IT security
Management / Leadership
Wildlife / ESA
We welcome your feedback.
facebook website email