Changes to National Envirothon
The National Conservation Foundation has announced that the North American Envirothon is being returned to the National Conservation Partnership for management and fiscal operations. The Envirothon has enjoyed incredible successes over the last 27 years:
Since August 2013, the National Conservation Partnership, led by NACD’s National Conservation Foundation, has been pursuing an orderly transition. The National Conservation Foundation is preparing the restructuring plan and fundraising strategy in order to implement the merger. The National Conservation Foundation Operating and Fundraising/Development Committees have determined that the North American Envirothon needs realignment to support the states’/provinces’ Envirothon programs. They will be releasing draft planning documents in coming weeks for input and guidance.
While the local and state/provincial Envirothon competitions will continue as planned for2014, the new team recognized that a major investment is required to restructure the program, not only for annual operation but also to secure the future of the North American Envirothon well into the future. As such, the National Conservation Foundation has decided to not have a 2014 event to take the next year to retool and position the North American Envirothon to resume as the premier, international high school natural resource program. Missouri has committed to host the North American Envirothon in 2015, Ontario in 2016 and Maryland in 2017.
Together with local and state Envirothon organizations, the National Conservation Foundation, and its National Conservation Partners, is committed to strengthening and ensuring the continued success of the North American Envirothon while inspiring and developing new leaders to address the world’s sustainability and the pressures of tomorrow. This transition and restructuring will expand and improve the Envirothon to meet our expectations.
New Jersey Shines at NACD Annual Meeting
The focus was on New Jersey Conservation District Supervisors and District Employees at the 2014 NACD Annual Meeting this week in Anaheim, California.
The New Jersey Conservation Partnership’s Project Soil Conservation was showcased at a break-out session this morning. Joseph Lomax (Cape-Atlantic SCD), Priscilla Hayes (Mercer County CD) and Dave Reilly (Cape-Atlantic CD) presented an overview of the development of Project Soil Conservation and led participants in a series of hands-on activities from the K-3 portion of the curriculum guide.
Participants from around the nation enthusiastically joined in on hands-on activities from the Project Soil Curriculum Guide. There was great interest in our program and many requests to see the final Project Soil Conservation Curriculum Guide. Kudos to Joe, Priscilla and Dave on a great job.
Tim Thomas (Freehold CD), Joseph Lomax and Robert Dobbs (NJACD) also served as panelists on a NCDEA Workshop Session: Sharpen Up Your District’s Edge! Tim Thomas showcased New Jersey’s Chapter 251 Program and provided tips on how to increase District technical capacity through training plans, cross-training, mentoring and using shared resources. Joe Lomax highlighted ways to improve District Board Capacity through recruitment, ongoing training, diversity, ethics, mentoring and experience. Bob Dobbs provided tips on Maximizing Partnership Capacity through planning, maintaining and expanding partnerships, developing partnership agreements, and how to be an effective partner.
2014 Farm Bill
We are pleased to announce that the U.S. Senate approved the 2014 Farm Bill this week. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Farm Bill earlier. President Obama is expected to sign the 2014 Farm Bill later this week.
We are proud to include the new logo for the New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts in this issue of NJACD news. NJACD, in cooperation with The College of New Jersey, sponsored a logo design contest for students at the college. The winning logo was designed by Brooke Kaminski. Ms. Kaminski received a $100 prize for her winning entry. You will see our new logo in our publications, letterhead and new website. Thanks to Priscilla Hayes, NJACD President, for donating the cash prizes for Ms. Kaminski, and the second place winner in the contest.
The Burlington County Soil Conservation District is sponsoring a Contractor Training Course for Soil Erosion and Sediment Control on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at their office, located at 1971 Jacksonville-Jobstown Road in Columbus, NJ. The class will begin at 8 am and end by 2 pm. The registration fee of $40.00 includes a continental breakfast, lunch and course handout materials. Please make checks payable to “Burlington County Soil Conservation District” and mail to the District Office.
This course is being offered to anyone involved in implementing soil erosion and sediment control practices. The course will cover a variety of topics from the law and regulations to establishing vegetation to installing and maintaining sediment control devices. Attendees will learn how to comply with New Jersey’s Soil Erosion and Sediment Control requirements, resulting in clean communities and avoiding penalties or construction delays. For more information, contact the Burlington County Conservation District at 609-267-7410.
The 2014 New Jersey Conservation District Supervisor and Manager Regional Leadership Meetings will be held at March 25, 2014 at Mattar’s Bistro (North Region); March 26, 2014 at Villa Romanza (Central Region) and March 27, 2014 at Italian Affair (South Region). This year the meetings will be utilizing a new format and include expanded interaction with participants. The agenda will include an update on our Roadmap for Change; SSCC Subcommittee Status Reports; a presentation on a NRCS/NJACD joint project to increase district capacity and diversify funding; and forum to review District concerns. NJACD and our partners look forward to seeing you at one of these regional meetings. Stay tuned for more details.
As I head into my second year of serving as NJACD President, I am reading a book, Kissed by a Fox, by Priscilla Stuckey, which makes the value of our Conservation Partnership even clearer to me. My namesake writes eloquently about the need to be in relationship with the land and to remember that health of the land and the communities of plants and animals who share it with us is crucial to our own health. I was amazed to hear Dean Robert Goodman, who spoke at our recent annual conference in Avalon, tell us that we humans don’t even have the capacity to study many of the organisms that live in soil, because they resist our attempts to culture them in our laboratories. Soil health, especially, will continue to be primary in sustaining quality of life on the Earth.
I am especially excited about this year, because, with the help of NRCS, we have hired our first Executive Director, and that will give NJACD the opportunity to fulfill more of its unique potential in the proven Conservation Partnership model. NJACD is the only non-governmental body of the partnership, and its unique non-profit status should allow it to seek funding for all partnership members for projects that will benefit the whole state. Because the officers are all volunteers, with many other obligations, wehave been limited in being able to use that potential.
I am also looking forward to getting to know all of the District Supervisors better, and offering you all ways to help the partnership, without overburdening your time. We will have opportunities which run the gamut from needing only some time at your desk to serving as an officer (we do still need a Secretary). I have found getting involved in this partnership one of the most rewarding things I do, and a chance to work with people who are as passionate as any on the planet.
USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will hold a meeting of the State Technical Committee, Wed. 1/22/14, 10 a.m., NJ NRCS State Office, 220 Davidson Ave., Somerset, NJ, to discuss conservation program delivery. Agenda includes status reports on 2014 Farm Bill programs, a recap of 2013 programs and practices, and the 2014 Soil Health Initiative. Access meeting minutes and information from the State Technical Committee link on NRCS website: www.nj.nrcs.usda.gov.
The Cape-Atlantic Soil Conservation District has issued a challenge to all of New Jersey’s Soil Conservation Districts to match their $100 donation to support the New Jersey Conservation Partnership’s Exhibit at the 2014 New Jersey Flower and Garden Show. The New Jersey Flower and Garden Show will be held February 13 – 16, 2014 at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, NJ.
At the New Jersey Flower & Garden Show you can expect rivers of color and fragrance in beautiful display gardens, sit in on seminars and shop ‘til you drop in the Great Garden Marketplace.
The New Jersey Flower Show attracts over 25,000 flower and garden enthusiasts annually, highlighting fabulous display gardens, a Standard Flower Show presented by the Garden Club of New Jersey, the Garden Marketplace, top-quality seminars and so much more!
Get away from the cold and snow and visit the New Jersey Conservation Partnership Exhibit at the Flower Show!
The 2014 NACD Annual Meeting will be held February 2-5 at the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, California. The theme of the national conference is “Conservation: Locally Grown, Nationally Known.”
We are pleased to announce that “Project Soil Conservation,” a K-12 curriculum guide, will be featured at the NACD Annual Meeting at a workshop session on Wednesday, February 5, 2014. Project Soil Conservation was developed by NJACD and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.