Farmer Focus Groups: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Photo courtesy of USDA-NRCS.

PACD seeks input from farmers and agricultural landowners from the Pennsylvania portion of the Chesapeake Bay/Susquehanna River Watershed about the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) on the afternoons of January 26 and 28, 2021. Farmers can participate in these discussions whether or not you have enrolled land in this program.

Please share this information with your farmer contacts in the Bay Watershed.

Farmers who have CURRENTLY or PREVIOUSLY enrolled some of their land in the CREP program, please register for the focus group on January 26 from 5 to 7 pm:

http://bit.ly/pacd-cb-1

Farmers who have NEVER enrolled any of their land in the CREP program, please register for the focus group on January 28 from 5 to 7 pm:

http://bit.ly/pacd-cb-2

Note: Conservation district staff, directors, and associate directors are not eligible to participate.

Questions? Contact PACD Director of Communications & Education Shannon Wehinger at swehinger@pacd.org.

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Armstrong Conservation District Holds Municipal Workshop

Pictured are Gregg Smith, Resource Conservationist DGLVR (left), and Ken Blake, Mahoning Township Supervisor. Photo provided by Armstrong County Conservation District.

The Armstrong Conservation District held a workshop for municipal officials on December 15, 2020. Thirty-nine municipal officials representing fifteen municipalities attended the workshop. Topics included stormwater management ordinances; dirt, gravel, and low volume road program (DGLVR) updates; MS4 permit requirements; and meeting MS4 compliance using environmentally sensitive maintenance practices on DGLVR and watershed restoration efforts.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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PACD Hiring Program Manager

PACD is hiring a full-time Program Manager. The Program Manager is responsible for planning, coordinating, and administering special programs, meetings, and trainings. The Program Manager will also represent PACD on assigned committees and boards, assist with grant writing, and work with other grant programs as needed. This is a full-time position.

Candidates must submit a resume and cover letter to PACD. Please apply by e-mail with the subject heading “Program Manager” to jobs@pacd.org. All application materials must be received by 4:30 pm on January 21, 2021.

Click here to read the full job announcement. 

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Perry County Conservation District Holds Field Day & Launches Podcast

Photo provided by Perry County Conservation District.

On August 7, 2020, the Perry County Conservation District held an equipment demo day. A diverse audience of farmers attended, ranging from those concerned about soil health to farmers who use 100% tillage. Demonstrations included soil disturbance by running a grain drill and no-till equipment.A rainfall simulator was shared, and many conversations were started about erosion versus the ability to get the seed in the ground in less than ideal conditions.

The district also created a podcast to facilitate sharing farmers’ success stories to create a positive culture around conservation. Click here to listen to the “Carefully Cultivated” podcast, which currently has 11 episodes!

Financial and other support for the NPS Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Staff Conference Forums Focus on Technology

This year’s Virtual Staff Conference will include several Tech Forums for district staff to network and share information on using various tools and apps. Forums will focus on productivity and time management apps (Tuesday 2/9), meeting facilitation and content production (Wednesday 2/10), and drone tech (Thursday 2/11). The conference closes on Friday, February 12, with the First Annual Conservation District Video Awards. This presentation will recognize the best video content produced by districts in 2020 and highlight what makes this content effective in district outreach. The program will also celebrate a commitment to professional development and tech education by recognizing the top districts for overall achievement in the Clean Water Academy.

All district staff are encouraged to attend and participate. Suggestions for specific apps and tools for discussion can be forwarded to Matt Miller at mmiller@pacd.org.

Click here to register for the 2021 Virtual Staff Conference. 

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

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$60,000 Available for 2021-22 Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Educational Mini-grant Program for Conservation Districts

Thanks to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection continuing to support conservation district educational projects, PACD is ready to open a new round of Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Prevention Educational Mini-grants!

Grants up to $2,000 are awarded to conservation districts for adult educational projects that offer strategies for reducing and preventing NPS Pollution. Projects should stimulate a local awareness of water quality issues, promote the theme “We All Live Downstream,” and encourage citizen participation in activities to improve water quality in local watersheds.

The deadline for NPS mini-grant applications is January 29, 2021. Click here for the online application and more information. Questions should be directed to Shannon Wehinger at swehinger@pacd.org.  

Financial and other support for the NPS Mini-grant Program is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Staff Conference Keynotes Focus on Managing Stress & Dealing with Conflict

Stress and conflict are two things everyone wants less of and learning to manage them better benefits our personal and professional lives.  The 2021 Virtual Staff Conference launches on Monday, February 8 with From Stressed to Zest: RE-Energizing Yourself & Your Team, a workshop on recognizing, managing, and reducing stress at work and at home, presented by Cindy Aronson.  Cindy has been a professional development trainer for over 25 years and is founder and executive board member of the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, NY.  On Wednesday and Thursday, Rita Coleman Graham will present a two-part workshop on Effective Conflict Management for Conservation Workers which will cover self-awareness, active listening, assertive messaging, and techniques for de-escalation.  Rita’s prior 35 years of experience with the PA Department of Environmental Protection combines a unique blend of expertise in environmental and agricultural issues with facilitation, negotiation, and training.

Register now for the 2021 Virtual Staff Conference.

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

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Template Signage Available

PACD received a PA Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Education grant for Template Watershed Signage. This project aims to provide templates for conservation districts to use for interpretative signage to educate the public on completed stream restoration projects. Draft versions of the signs were shown to the watershed specialists during their annual meeting in October.

The templates are complete and now available at this link. The topics are vegetative buffers, fish structures, and macroinvertebrates. The templates are in Publisher so districts can insert their logo, update the URL and phone number, and swap out photos.

Districts may apply for the Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Mini-grant program (see above) to create a sign using the templates. Contact Shannon Wehinger at swehinger@pacd.org about what should be included in this type of application.

Thanks to Tammy Piper at Franklin County Conservation District for partnering with PACD on this project.

Financial and other support for this signage has been provided by the Department of Environmental Protection’s 2020 Environmental Education Grants Program.

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Change of Format for 2021 Ag Boot Camp Training

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2021 Agricultural Conservation Technical Training (“Boot Camp” Basic Level and Level II) will be held in the same manner as 2020.

Agricultural Conservation Technical “Boot Camp” Training – Basic Level
April 12-15, 2021 (online portion, mornings only)
August 2-4, 2021 (in-person field days) at the Keystone Conference Center, Ft. Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA (Lebanon County)
Both portions must be attended to complete the course.

Agricultural Conservation Technical “Boot Camp” Training – Level II
August 23-27, 2021
Keystone Conference Center, Ft. Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA (Lebanon County) and Holiday Inn Harrisburg (tentative depending on the COVID situation)

The application period will open on January 22, 2021. Look for the link here.  Questions? Contact Shannon Wehinger at swehinger@pacd.org.

These training opportunities are made possible by the following sponsors: Natural Resources Conservation Service, State Conservation Commission, and the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc.

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2021 Board Leadership Webinar Series to Focus on Ethics and Planning

Registration is open for Building for Tomorrow’s 2021 Board Leadership Webinar Series. The event features two weeks of online programming for district boards that builds and expands on last year’s New Director Orientation workshops.

Week 1 (Monday, February 15 – Wednesday, February 17) focuses on ethics, conflict of interest, and the PA Ethics Act for Conservation District Boards with a two-part webinar series presented by Thomas Tupitza of Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C. and Brian Jacisin, Deputy Executive Director for the PA Ethics Commission.

Week 2 (Tuesday, February 23 – Wednesday, February 24) takes a closer look at the importance of board committees in district planning with a workshop presented by Debra Thompson of Strategy Solutions.

Both weeks also include Director Forums that allow boards from around the state to connect and share information and success stories from their districts.

Click here for the agenda and registration.

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

 

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