GACD names Towaliga Conservation District as District of the Year

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) is pleased to announce the Towaliga Conservation District as the 2019 District of the Year. Towaliga Conservation District proudly serves the counties of Butts, Fayette, Monroe, Pike, Spalding and Upson. The District was recognized at GACD’s Hall of Fame Banquet held January 19 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

District Supervisor Tommy Presley with the District of the Year Award on behalf of the Towaliga Conservation District

District Supervisor Tommy Presley with the District of the Year Award on behalf of the Towaliga Conservation District

After coordinating and attending more than a dozen combined field days and outreach events sponsored by partner organizations, the Towaliga Conservation District has proven itself to be a pillar of the community that it has committedly served since the early 1940’s. One of this district’s major field days for the 2018 year featured the highlights of the Farm Bill on the local level. This event was attended by dozens of interested citizens, young farmers and several legislative leaders. After such a successful year, it is evident that this District is committed to spreading the message of conservation and assisting its citizens for generations to come.

The Award was accepted by District Supervisor Tommy Presley on behalf of the Towaliga Conservation District.

Georgia’s 40 Conservation Districts are organized under state law to carry out the State’s conservation programs. The Districts provide information and education to implement practices that decrease soil erosion and protect water resources. Conservation districts are local people solving local problems. Board meetings are held monthly and are open to the public.

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts is a nonprofit whose mission is to advocate for the conservation of Georgia’s natural resources by providing organization, leadership and a unified strategic direction to the Conservation Districts of the State.

GACD Presents Award for Superior Professional Support

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) is pleased to announce Frank Riley, Executive Director of the Chestatee-Chattahoochee RC&D, as the recipient of the 2019 Superior Professional Support Award. Riley was recognized at GACD’s Hall of Fame Banquet held January 19 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

Each year, GACD presents an award to an individual recognized as providing superior leadership and support of soil and water conservation in GA. In addition to being Executive Director of Chestatee- Chattahoochee RC&D, Frank Riley also serves as the State’s Firewise Liaison, is a developer and administrator of the Appalachian FAC Coalition, and a Volunteer Firefighter and local Bus Driver Hiawassee, GA.  Mr. Riley works countless hours helping Conservation Districts, FFA Chapters, Colleges, and the Georgia Forestry Commission host Field Days and educate the public about a variety of topics including Wildfires, Honey Bee Pollinators, High Tunnels, Farmers Markets, Fruit and Vegetable Crops, Small Farms, No-Till, Forestry, Erosion Control, Cover Crops, Beef Cattle and more. Anyone who has worked with Frank has seen his dedication and passion for conservation. He is always willing to provide a helping hand and strives to be at every event that he can fit into his schedule. He is truly an amazing supporter of conservation work.

Kim McCollum and 2019 Superior Professional Support Award Recipient Frank Riley

Kim McCollum and 2019 Superior Professional Support Award Recipient Frank Riley

Local Students Win GACD Scholarships

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) is pleased to announce the winners of the GACD Scholarship and GACD Auxiliary Scholarship. Scholarship winners were recognized at GACD’s Hall of Fame Banquet held January 19 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

Sadie Lackey

Sadie Lackey

 

GACD awards an annual scholarship of $1000 to encourage study and careers in soil and water conservation related fields. Awards will be given to students majoring in, or intending to major in, a soil and water conservation related area. This year’s GACD Scholarship recipient is Sadie Lackey from Ellijay, GA. Sadie is enrolled at the University of Georgia and plans to graduate with a degree in Agriculture Communication. Her long-term goals include becoming a press secretary or communications director for an elected official in the agricultural sector.

 

Addie Tucker

Addie Tucker

The GACD Auxiliary provides a $500.00 scholarship to a deserving recipient.  This year’s Auxiliary scholarship recipient is Addie Tucker from Fitzgerald, GA. Addie is enrolled as a Masters student in Agriscience Education at Auburn University. Her goal is to teach ag education and FFA in a public-school setting. Addie says that furthering her education will allow her to be a better teacher to her students at Wilcox County High School.

 

Local Students win Conservation Themed Poster/ Photo Contest at State Level

Morgan Donnelly, Allatoona Elementary, Acworth, GA

Morgan Donnelly, Allatoona Elementary, Acworth, GA

Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) is pleased to announce the five state level winners of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) 2018 “Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home” poster contest, and the winner of the NACD Photo Contest. Winners were recognized at GACD’s Hall of Fame Banquet held January 19, 2019 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort. All winning artwork will be submitted to the National Competition.

 

The winners in each age category are:

K – 1st Grade: Morgan Donnelly, Allatoona Elementary, Acworth, GA

2nd – 3rd Grade: Jay Faulk, Bleckley Elementary, Cochran, GA

4th – 6th Grade: Brianna Skidmore, Battlefield Primary, Fort Oglethorpe, GA

7th – 9th Grade: Kendra van Loenen, homeschooled, Bartow, GA

10th – 12th Grade: Jennifer Escalente, Cass High School, White, GA

NACD Photo Contest: Devin Doby, Adairsville High School, Adairsville, GA

 

Jennifer Escalente, Cass High School, White, GA

Jennifer Escalente, Cass High School, White, GA

To promote the importance of water, students from kindergarten through twelfth grades entered posters conveying their thoughts and ideas through original artwork. Submissions were judged based on the entry’s conservation message, visual effectiveness, originality, and universal appeal.

 

Devin Doby, Adairsville High School, Adairsville, GA

Devin Doby, Adairsville High School, Adairsville, GA

GACD Announces the Hiring of New Staff

Katie Sanders (North GA Program Manager), Michelle Boone (South GA Program Manager), Mady Barnes (Project Coordinator) and Katie Sponberger (Executive Director)

Katie Sanders (North GA Program Manager), Michelle Boone (South GA Program Manager), Mady Barnes (Project Coordinator) and Katie Sponberger (Executive Director)

The Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD) is pleased to announce the following new additions to our leadership team.

Katie Sponberger is GACD’s new Executive Director. Katie, from Ringgold, Georgia, has previously served as GACD’s North Georgia Program Manager. She has a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness from the University of Georgia. Katie will lead GACD’s projects, develop strategic partnerships, and support natural resource conservation efforts by working with local leaders across the state.

Katie Sanders was promoted to serve as Program Manager for North Georgia.  Katie has a Biological Science degree from the University of Georgia and most recently served as District Program Assistant for Rockdale and Walton County Conservation Districts. Katie resides in Athens, GA.

Katie Sanders will be responsible for the management of 21 District Program Assistants located throughout North Georgia. GACD is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advocate for the conservation of Georgia’s natural resources by providing organization, leadership and a unified strategic direction to the Conservation Districts of the State.

Mady Barnes is serving as GACD’s new Project Coordinator. She is responsible for the development and implementation of GACD’s public policy strategy as well as coordinating other projects to advance natural resource conservation initiatives in Georgia.

Mady Barnes has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Wyoming. She most recently served as District Program Assistant for Broad River Conservation District and held a previous position with the National Wild Turkey Federation as a Conservation Public Policy Intern.

Piedmont Conservation District announces participation in Feral Swine District Initiative

Pictured from Left to right: Pat Hardy, Piedmont Conservation District Chairman, Ricky Yarbrough, Piedmont Conservation District Supervisor and GACD Feral Hog Committee Member, Brandon Griswell and Wesley Griswell, Hog Control Custodians  

Pictured from Left to right: Pat Hardy, Piedmont Conservation District Chairman, Ricky Yarbrough, Piedmont Conservation District Supervisor and GACD Feral Hog Committee Member, Brandon Griswell and Wesley Griswell, Hog Control Custodians  

The Piedmont Conservation District is excited to announce their participation in Georgia Association of Conservation District(GACD)’s Feral Swine District Initiative. Landowners in Morgan, Greene, Taliaferro, Putnam, Hancock, Baldwin, and Jones Counties are invited to participate in the District’s feral swine control services.

Following an Initiative spearheaded by the Brier Creek Conservation District in partnership with GACD, several Conservation Districts in Georgia have acquired feral swine control equipment and are contracting with local Hog Control Custodians to eradicate feral swine within the District.

 

Landowners and producers across the state report that the Feral Swine District Initiative has made a tremendous difference in reducing feral hog damage. Farmers who have been forced to make a decision not to plant peanuts, corn, or soybeans in some of their best soils due to feral swine damage are now considering planting these crops.

For more information about feral swine control within the Piedmont Conservation District visit www.gacd.us/feralswine , call 1-833-411-GACD or email District Program Assistant Kristi Callaway at Kristi.callaway@gacd.us .

Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts

Cindy Drew, GA Farm Bureau of Dougherty County & Michelle Boone, GACD Program Manager

Cindy Drew, GA Farm Bureau of Dougherty County & Michelle Boone, GACD Program Manager

In October 2019, Georgia residents were struck with loss of property, crops, and more after Hurricane Michael made its way through our state.  GACD, along with Georgia’s Conservation Districts, began gathering supplies and funds to help our communities hit the hardest by Hurricane Michael.

Districts helped to raise over $4,500 to help with relief efforts.  With these funds GACD staff was able to provide water, food and supplies to five counties in Southwest Georgia.

On December 14, GACD partnered with the Dougherty County Georgia Farm Bureau to provide a Hurricane Michael Relief Program Public Meeting in Albany that provided valuable updates on available disaster assistance programs.  Funds were used to help provide Christmas presents including clothes and toys to children that suffered greatly in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Thank you to the districts and businesses that stepped in to help our communities in their times of need.

Welcome Newly Elected District Supervisors!

Charlotte Stanley-Blue Ridge Mountain

Jennifer Logan-Blue Ridge Mountain

Ted Hughes-Broad River

James Tanner-Central Georgia

Barbara Gibbs-Hodge-Clayton County

Lawrence Kemp-Columbia County

Brian Hart-Coosa River

Carol Hayes-DeKalb County

Jason Ulseth-Fulton County

Vicki Temple-Henry County

Thomas Sappington, III-Lamar County

Billy James-Limestone Valley

Chris Heitmann-Lincoln County

James Dumsmore-Lincoln County

Riley McRee-Lower Chattahoochee River

Wesley Griffin-Middle South Georgia

Blake Reid-Ocmulgee River

John Trapnell-Ogeechee River

Marshall Mosley, III-Ohoopee River

Michael Buckner-Pine Mountain

Kenny Johnson-Rockdale County

Thomas Thrift Sr-Satilla River

For more information on becoming a District Supervisor visit http://www.gacd.us/beingasupervisor/

Conservation Districts Announce Participation in Feral Swine District Initiative

Following an Initiative spearheaded by the Brier Creek Conservation District in partnership with GACD, several Conservation Districts have acquired feral swine control equipment and are contracting with local Hog Control Custodians to eradicate feral swine within the District.

Landowners and producers report that the Feral Swine District Initiative has made a tremendous difference in reducing feral swine damage. Farmers who have been forced to make a decision not to plant peanuts, corn, or soybeans in some of their best soils due to feral swine damage are now considering planting these crops. 

Contact the following participating Conservation Districts for more information about

Feral Swine Control on YOUR land!      

Blue Ridge Mountain: Fannin, Rabun, Towns, Union Counties

Brier Creek: Burke, Glascock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Richmond Counties

Ogeechee River: Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Evans, Screven, Tattnall Counties

Piedmont: Baldwin, Greene, Hancock, Jones, Morgan, Putnam,Taliaferro Counties

GACD Accepting Sponsors and Exhibitors for Annual Meeting

Conservation Districts from across the State of Georgia will be convening on January 18-20, 2019 at Lake Lanier Islands Resort for their Annual Meeting. This meeting is conducted annually by the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts (GACD— a 501c3 corporation). Conservation Districts and the work they do are vital to the stewardship of our state’s natural resources. In addition to bringing over $95 million in federal funds to the state each year, local Districts complete a wide array of outreach, education and local conservation programs in their communities.

Take this opportunity to support Conservation Districts by becoming a sponsor at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Not only will you be supporting through the non-profit association, but you will be recognized by Georgia’s conservation community as a friend of conservation.

More information at http://www.gacd.us/annualmeeting