Save the Date: 2021 Virtual Staff Conference

Mark your calendars for Building for Tomorrow’s first Virtual Conservation District Staff Conference, scheduled for February 8–12, 2021. The week-long program will include interactive webinar workshops and round-table forum discussions on a variety of topics and tools relevant to current challenges faced by conservation district staff. Stay tuned for more information and a draft agenda coming soon.

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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Save the Date: PACD Executive Council Video Conference

The winter 2021 PACD Executive Council Meeting will take place as a video conference on January 28 at 10:00 a.m. Committees will meet virtually prior to the Executive Council session, so watch future editions of Front Page for committee dates. Need to update your district’s slate of voting delegates prior to January? Contact Molly with PACD at mburns@pacd.org.

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PACD Hiring Agricultural Conservation Technician in Lebanon Office

The Conservation Technician for the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD) in the South Central Region provides technical assistance to the Growing Greener program and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

This position will: provide technical assistance to area partnership Growing Greener personnel and NRCS in the planning, design, and construction of engineering practices; prepare designs of agricultural conservation practices and water quality best management practices (BMPs), which are site-specific and require coordination among various groups and individuals; and provide engineering assistance in conducting preliminary investigations.

Click here for the full job description. Candidates must submit a resume and cover letter to PACD at jobs@pacd.org. All application materials must be received by 4:30 p.m. on October 22, 2020.

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Watershed Specialists Attend Virtual Statewide Annual Meeting

Stroud Water Research Center Executive Director David Arscott demonstrates Model My Watershed during the Watershed Specialist Meeting on October 7, 2020.

Nearly 100 attendees, including 69 watershed specialists, participated in the 20th Annual Conservation District Watershed Specialist Meeting, held virtually October 6-8, 2020.

Each day featured over four hours of virtual learning. Over the three half-days, participants: learned how to develop a community data collection project that delivers results; received an update on the 2020 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report; learned about stream redesignations and water quality standards; discovered how the 10 Million Trees project could contribute to their projects; and learned how to use online tools such as Macroinvertebrates.org, Model My Watershed, and Leaf Pack Network.

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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2021 Poster Contest is Open!

The 2021 Poster Contest theme is “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities.” Conservation districts that wish to participate can collect nominations via email, judge them, and forward the winners in each grade category to PACD. PACD will then select the statewide winners to move on to the national contest.

PACD will accept photos of your county’s winners until June 30, 2021. Entries can be emailed to pacd@pacd.org. Click here for more information on the contest. 

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Chester County Conservation District Holds Municipal Workshop

A municipal workshop was held at a fire hall on October 1, 2020. Photo provided by Chester County Conservation District.

On October 1, 2020, the Chester County Conservation District held a Green Stormwater Infrastructure for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems training. Participants learned how the recently installed West Grove Borough rain garden was planned, funded, and implemented to help improve the water quality of the White Clay Creek. The design, engineering, and construction processes were discussed first-hand by Rutgers University, West Grove Borough Public Works Department and staff, and the White Clay Creek watershed manager.

The district held the workshop in-person with masks required. They also made the workshop available virtually by broadcasting live and recording it. The first part of the in-person workshop was held in a fire hall with the door open. The second portion was held outside at the site of the new rain garden.

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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Schuylkill Conservation District Holds Birthday Bash

Photo provided by the Schuylkill Conservation District.

The Schuylkill Conservation District celebrated its 65th anniversary with festivities at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park on September 27, 2020.

Since its founding in 1955 by Dr. James S. Shadle, the district has evolved from an emphasis on soil conservation to one of all natural resource conservation efforts. District Manager Jenna St. Clair said the district began as an all-volunteer organization but currently has 14 staff members and a host of volunteers.

In celebration of the district’s growth and success, St. Clair said the birthday bash was planned with something for everyone, from young children to adults.

Click here read the entire article and here to view photos from the event. 

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Congratulations to Somerset Conservation District and Len Lichvar

Photo of Len Lichvar from PA Environment Digest Blog.

From PA Environment Digest Blog, September 25, 2020

On September 25, the PA Association of Environmental Professionals recognized Len Lichvar, Manager of the Somerset Conservation District, with the Walter Lyon Award. The Walter Lyon Award honors an organization, project, or program that made a unique, creative, or significant contribution toward maintenance or restoration of Pennsylvania’s environmental quality or to the field of environmental management.

Somerset County Conservation District Manager Len Lichvar is deeply involved in conservation matters in his county, region, and statewide. Over the past 30 years, the Somerset Conservation District has planned and developed large scale projects to ensure that clean water is available for residents and visitors.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Directors and Managers: Register now for Adaptive Strategies and Contingency Planning Webinar Workshops in October & November

2020 has been a year of significant uncertainty, and being prepared to adapt quickly is imperative for all organizations in the “new normal.”  Contingency planning identifies potential crisis scenarios and proactively seeks to mitigate disruption by establishing timely, appropriate, and effective responses to emerging situations.  It is a process in which stakeholders work together to develop a shared agreement and understanding of the risks. This planning style helps establish a common set of principles and mechanisms that would guide organizational decisions during a potential crisis.

Starting in October, Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development offers a webinar workshop series on Adaptive Strategies and Contingency Planning for Conservation Districts.  Hosted by Deb Thompson of Strategy Solutions, this series will examine the lessons learned during the recent crisis and potential opportunities for the future as we identify issues, challenge assumptions, and develop action plans for possible future scenarios.

On Tuesday, October 20, Session 1: Adaptive Strategies & Scenario Planning for Managers will define the parameters of contingency planning as they relate to technology, staff support, program operations, stakeholder advocacy, and fundraising. Managers will discuss the challenges and hazards they have faced during the pandemic and beyond and lessons learned. They will also discuss challenges yet to come and collectively develop an action list to increase awareness with their boards.

On Tuesday, October 27, Session 2: Adaptive Strategies & Scenario Planning for Board Members will introduce the concept of scenario planning and examine the board’s role in helping staff work through a contingency planning exercise based on the discussion from Session 1. Session 3: Finalizing Scenario Plans: Identifying “Must Do” Strategies for Conservation Districts is scheduled for Tuesday, November 17, and will allow Managers and Directors to work together in groups to identify top-priority strategies and share ideas and best practices for implementation.

Managers, please click here to register for the October 20 workshop

Directors, please click here to register for the October 27 workshop

All participants will receive an invitation to the November 17 combined workshop.  For more information, visit the Building for Tomorrow website or contact Matt Miller, mmiller@pacd.org Leadership Development Coordinator.

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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Franklin County Conservation District Holds Photo Farm Tour

BMP photo provided by Franklin County Conservation District.

The Franklin County Conservation District (FCCD) held a Summer Conservation Farm Tour and Luncheon on August 8, 2020, with approximately 40 people in attendance. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, FCCD had to cancel the original farm tour as there was no way to maintain social distancing on busses to transport attendees from the lunch venue (an outdoor pavilion this year) to the farm. Instead, the district hired a professional photographer to take pictures of the best management practices (BMPs) so attendees could still “see” them up close and personal. The Conservation Farmer of the Year spoke about his experiences with BMPs, as shown in the photos, and how they improved his farm.

Kudos to FCCD for adapting and finding a creative solution to hold their event and educate local farmers about BMPs.

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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