Michelle Boone named as new NRCW Director

We are excited to announce that Michelle Boone has been named the new Director of the Natural Resources Conservation Workshop (NRCW)!

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Michelle serves as GACD's Program Manager and provides support to 11 Conservation Districts and 24 District Program Assistants throughout South Georgia.

Michelle has a background in education and is looking forward to having a more hands on role with NRCW!

Congratulations Michelle!

Outstanding DPA of the Quarter

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Tish Edwards has been an invaluable asset to GACD as she has proven herself as a loyal DPA that works hard for her district and for her NRCS office. She has represented her district at a variety of events and works actively to promote her district's activities. With the Coosa River District, Tish has been key in maintaining district administrative needs and she has worked to recruit several new supervisors to fill vacancies. Tish has established strong relationships with her district supervisors, her NRCS office, GACD, and the GSWCC. She always works hard to make sure that she is on top of what needs to be done and that her district is in compliance with their duties. She has fully engaged with the poster contest for her district and works to submit posters to the state and national competitions. She even created a district calendar with the poster submissions and has used it as a fundraiser for Coosa River. 

Tish's District Conservationist, Sheri Teems, says "Tish has made huge accomplishments with Coosa River and they are more active than they have ever been in my 30 year career."

Congratulations to Tish for being GACD's first Outstanding DPA of the Quarter! Tish is being recognized in our Spring newsletter. She will also be presented a certificate and a monetary award.

Water Resource Classes

GACD is working with Dr. Gary Hawkins of UGA and Robert Amos of GSWCC to develop Water Resource Management programs.  

We are asking GACD Group VPs and Alternates to engage your Supervisors within your GACD Group to provide some topics related specifically to Water Resource Management. A few examples of what we have already discussed are: stormwater management in urban areas, runoff and erosion control in rural areas, small scale irrigation for urban and rural farmers, and on-site waste management to name a few. 

 

We will then work with Dr. Hawkins to narrow down the topics to begin the first round of developing workshops and programs to assist you in your District.

Thanks for your assistance in this effort.  Please send your feedback to katie@gacd.us via email by April 12, 2019.

Rural Caucus Luncheon

GACD Group 4 Vice President and Middle South GA Conservation District Supervisor Brian Ponder giving his outstanding presentation on the history and purpose of Conservation Districts.

GACD Group 4 Vice President and Middle South GA Conservation District Supervisor Brian Ponder giving his outstanding presentation on the history and purpose of Conservation Districts.

On March 20, GACD sponsored a lunch for Georgia's Rural Caucus at the State Capitol. The Rural Caucus represents Georgia's rural communities and interests and is comprised of many of our strongest allies in the legislature.

We had the opportunity to network with state elected officials and GACD Group 4 Vice President Brian Ponder gave an outstanding presentation on the history and purpose of Georgia's Conservation Districts! The feedback from Rural Caucus members and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black was extremely positive!

GACD Group Reorganization

Given that the primary partner of GACD and Districts is NRCS, this proposal was offered to reorganize GACD from five groups to four groups, and to align the structure to generally coincide with the current NRCS Areas 1-4. The proposal was approved by the membership body during General Session of the 2019 Annual Meeting.

Changes will officially take place during Fall GACD Group Meetings. All Group VPs and Alternates, including Group 5 VP and Alternate, please assume your regular duties until the change officially takes place.

There will be FOUR Group Meetings this fall where elections for Group VP and Alternate VP will occur.

The reduction in groups caused some Districts to move to a new GACD group. These changes are outlined in the chart below.

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2019 Natural Resources Conservation Workshop (NRCW)

2018 GA Conservation District Scholarship winner Rhys Medcalfe.

2018 GA Conservation District Scholarship winner Rhys Medcalfe.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2019 Natural Resources Conservation Workshop to be held June 9-13, 2019 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, GA.

Available to Georgia’s Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. (Students who have previously attended the workshop are not eligible)

Workshop focuses on the value, protection, and conservation of Georgia’s wildlife, forestry, soil, and water resources, including conservation in Georgia’s mining industry. More than $17,000 in college scholarships will be awarded during the workshop. Features field trips, classroom instruction, and recreational activities.

GACD is managing registration for this year's workshop so you may notice it will be slightly different.  Interested students must first complete the online registration located on our website at www.abac.edu/nrcw . GACD's District Program Assistants who represent Georgia's 40 Conservation Districts will reach out and work one on one with the students to get their paperwork properly filled out and submitted back to GACD Management for final review (no paperwork should be sent directly to ABAC). The DPAs will secure the signatures from parents, Conservation District Supervisors, and NRCS representatives.  The GACD management will upload the information to the NRCW headquarters at ABAC where it will be combined with the payments in order to complete the registration process and email confirmations.  (Payments will come directly to the workshop at ABAC.)  We believe this new system will allow for the students to have more contact and assistance at the local level and still involve all of our partners. 

Flyers and brochures to advertise the workshop are available online at our website or through your local District Program Assistant.

Last year, GACD and Georgia Conservation Districts awarded a $6,500 scholarship to Rhys Medcalfe of Richmond County. Thank you to the following Districts who donated towards the 2018 Scholarship: Alapaha, Altamaha, Blue Ridge Mountain, Broad River, Catoosa County, Central Georgia, Coastal, Cobb County, Columbia County, Coosa River, Flint River, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Hall County, Henry County, Lamar County, Limestone Valley, Lincoln County, Lower Chattahoochee River, McDuffie County, Middle South Georgia, Oconee River, Ocmulgee River, Ogeechee River, Ohoopee River, Piedmont, Pine Mountain, Rockdale County, Satilla River, Stephens County, Towaliga, Upper Chattahoochee River, Walton County, Warren County, and West Georgia.

Early Bird Registration Deadline May 1, 2019.
*Tuition: $175 prior to May 1st, $200 after May 1st

Tuition is usually provided to the students by local Conservation Districts, local businesses, and individuals.

Register online at www.abac.edu/nrcw .

GACD's Alternative Plan Review

GACD has been working the past 12 months to put in place an Alternative Plan Review Program. This Alternative Plan Review Program will allow Conservation Districts (Districts) to offer an alternative technical procedure for completing the District’s responsibility to review erosion and sediment control plans. GACD will begin this program April 1, 2019.

PROCESS

• GACD and Districts execute a Memorandum of Understanding documenting the

procedure for GACD to assist the District in its responsibility to review erosion and

sediment control plans.

• GACD has obtained a group of third party independent qualified erosion control plan

review consultants (Consultants), which may vary from time to time, to provide this plan

review services.

• Consultants selected by GACD must be prequalified with the GSWCC as a Design

Professional and Level II B Certified Plan Reviewer. Currently, GACD has approved eight

design professionals as Consultants for the Alternative Plan Review Program. GACD will

consider requests for additional Consultants at each GACD board meeting. Qualifications

and applications for Consultants is available at GACD.us.

• Consultants are required to review plans within 10 business days.

*If you are interested in becoming a Consultant, please email Executive Director Katie Sponberger at katie@gacd.us .

PRICING

• Consultants will perform these services a fixed fee of $500 ($300 if disturbed area is less

than 5 acres). Consultant’s Plan Review Fee will be a fixed lump sum price and shall

include the initial plan review and two additional reviews.

BENEFITS

The Alternative Plan Review Program will allow ALL Districts across Georgia, in both

urban and rural areas, a means to complete the District’s responsibility to review erosion and

sediment control plans in an effective and timely manner.

COMMENTS?

If you have any comments or suggestions, please email Katie Sponberger (katie@GACD.us) prior to March 15, 2019. GACD will finalize these documents and initiate the Alternative Plan Review Program on April 1, 2019.

Conservation District Day at the Capitol

We had a great morning at our FIRST EVER Conservation District Day at the Capitol! Around 60 Supervisors and staff in attendance met with members of the Legislature to share the story of Conservation Districts and what the Districts need to continue promoting natural resource stewardship.

District Supervisors and GACD Staff with Governor Brian Kemp

District Supervisors and GACD Staff with Governor Brian Kemp

Governor Kemp also declared February 26, 2019 as Conservation District Day in Georgia!

Thank you to all the District Supervisors and our partners at USDA-NRCS and Georgia Farm Bureau for attending. A special thank you to our DPAs for coming and helping to represent their districts!

We would also like to thank the following members of the Georgia Legislature for all they do for our great state and for stopping by to address our group: Senator Tyler Harper, Senator Brian Strickland, Senator Frank Ginn, Representative Matt Dubnik, Representative Clay Pirkle, Representative Matt Hatchett, Representative Karen Mathiak, and Representative Don Hogan.

GACD Board Members, District Supervisors and USDA- NRCS State Conservationist with Governor Brian Kemp holding our proclamation for Conservation District Day in Georgia.

GACD Board Members, District Supervisors and USDA- NRCS State Conservationist with Governor Brian Kemp holding our proclamation for Conservation District Day in Georgia.

GACD now accepting submissions for Poster and Photo Contest

The annual GACD Poster Contest provides students from kindergarten through 12th grade the chance to have their art displayed as part of a national conservation outreach initiative. Each year, the winning posters reflect the National Association of Conservation District’s (NACD) annual Stewardship theme and highlight the work of Conservation Districts to protect and enhance natural resources.

2019 Stewardship theme

2019 Stewardship theme

The GACD Photo Contest is open to all amateur photographers who reside in Georgia. Contestants are allowed to enter as many as five photos each year that each fit into one of the following four categories:

Conservation Practices, Close-up Conservation, Conservation in Action, Agriculture and Conservation Across Georgia. One winner will be selected for each category and age division (adults are ages 19 and older).

Both contests start at the local District level; winners advance to the state competition, and then to the national level, where winners receive recognition and a cash prize at the National Association of Conservation District’s (NACD) Annual Meeting.  All state winners will receive recognition and a cash prize at GACD’s Annual Meeting.  State level winning photos will be on display at the State USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Athens, GA and used in future publications.

Posters and photos are due by May 31, 2019.

If you are interested in participating, visit www.gacd.us/education or contact your local Conservation District.

Forsyth, GA Farmer receives National Award

James Vaughn was named the 2019 “Friend of Conservation” by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) at their Annual Meeting Appreciation Banquet on February 5. This award “recognizes an individual, business or agency for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our nation’s natural resources.” Mr. James Vaughn, owner and operator of Vaughn Farms, LP, was nominated for this esteemed honor by the Towaliga Conservation District and the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts.

Based out of Forsyth, Georgia, Vaughn Farms is a family-owned and operated large scale cattle and forestry operation recognized for decades of farm conservation practices and sustainable development in Monroe County. The Vaughn family's decades-long partnership with the Towaliga Conservation District and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has led to preserving the family farm for decades to come and continues to highlight the benefits of the Farm Bill on the local level to farmers and producers throughout the state of Georgia.

Mr. Vaughn gives a great deal of credit for his farm preservation and his knowledge of conservation to USDA-NRCS District Conservationist Carmen Westerfield out of the USDA Service Center in Barnesville, GA. Mrs. Westerfield has worked with Vaughn Farms for decades to design and implement longstanding conservation practices on his farm.

The Towaliga Conservation District has proudly served Butts, Fayette, Monroe, Pike, Spalding and Upson Counties since 1944, providing technical assistance, conservation education and community outreach to conserve the area’s natural resources for future generations. More information can be found at www.gacd.us/towaliga .

James Vaughn, NACD’s 2019 Friend of Conservation with Brent Van Dyke, NACD President.

James Vaughn, NACD’s 2019 Friend of Conservation with Brent Van Dyke, NACD President.

Left to Right: GACD’s NACD Representative Danny Hogan, Beth and James Vaughn, NACD Past President John Redding & Levon Redding, GACD President Woody Snell

Left to Right: GACD’s NACD Representative Danny Hogan, Beth and James Vaughn, NACD Past President John Redding & Levon Redding, GACD President Woody Snell