2020 Annual Conference

The 2020 WACD Annual Conference and Business Meeting is Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2020

Conference news & announcements

Printable conference schedule now available
November 26, 2020: For those who prefer to have an electronic or paper copy of the conference schedule, it is now available for download: Printable schedule – 2020 WACD conference – 20201129. As the schedule is updated we will also update the printable schedule.
Get to know our speakers! Speaker bios are going up on the conference web page!
November 23, 2020: This is a great time to become more familiar with the interesting speakers we have lined up for the annual conference. Our speakers are bringing us a vast array of knowledge and experience. You’ll get the most out of the conference if you get to know them!
Information needed from speakers, sponsors, and partners!
November 20, 2020: WACD staff are working hard to build out the conference web page.

  • If you are a SPEAKER, please send us your bio as soon as possible!
  • If you are a SPONSOR, please send us your logo and any other materials you wish for us to make available to our members.
  • If you are a PARTNER, we will be happy to post your annual report or similar content.
Envirothon is seeking auction donations
November 18, 2020: The annual auction to benefit WACD environmental education programs will be held virtually this year, in conjunction with the WACD Annual Meeting. Event organizers ask that you support these efforts by providing an item for the auction. For more information, visit the Envirothon Auction page.

Welcome! Registration is now open
Welcome! Registration is now open! Registration for WACD’s 2020 Annual Conference consists of two simple steps:

  1. tell us who will be attending, and
  2. we will invoice you for the appropriate registration fee.

1. Register your attendees

Register your attendees using our online form.

2. Remit payment

The registration fee can be mailed to us or you can remit payment by credit card.

Mail your check
If you choose the send-a-check option, please mail it early enough to arrive before Wednesday, November 25, 2020. The mailing address is:

WACD 16564 Bradley Road Bow, WA  98232

Pay by credit card
If you choose to pay by credit card, we will send you an invoice for the registration fee you selected when registering. The registration fee for the WACD 2020 Annual Conference is $50 per person or $150 for your organization. In most cases, we recommend the $150 registration rate so that you are not limited in the number of people from your organization who may attend.

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Monday, November 30

CHAMPION sponsor LEADER sponsor SUPPORTER sponsor FRIEND sponsor PARTNER

Let's get started!

  • 8:30 Zoom Introduction/Pre-Session Announcements
  • 9:00 Opening Session/Welcome

How Conservation Districts Operate: Now and Future

  • 9:20 Factors Affecting Conservation Districts: a Panel Discussion with NACD Leadership
    • Tim Palmer, President National Association of Conservation Districts
    • Michael Crowder, President-Elect National Association of Conservation Districts
    • Kim LaFleur, 2nd Vice President National Association of Conservation Districts
  • 10:15 Break
  • 10:30 The Future of CD Operations in Washington State: Facilitated Member's Forum 
    • Jointly facilitated by:
    • Michael Crowder, President-Elect National Association of Conservation Districts
    • Kim LaFleur, 2nd Vice President National Association of Conservation Districts
    • Jeanette Dorner, WACD President


Conservation District Spotlight

  • 1:00 Conservation for Every Community – CD Successes with New Communities
    • Joey Breaux, Office of Soil and Water Conservation Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry
    • Dana Bowers, Education Program Coordinator Stevens County Conservation District
    • Sandy Letzing, Cascadia Urban Ag/Outreach to Farm Workers Cascadia Conservation District
  • 1:45 Break
  • 2:00 Taking Professional Development for District Employees to the Next Level
    • Nichole Embertson, Chair Center for Technical Development
  • 2:45 Break
  • 3:00 How to Run a Successful Virtual Board Meeting: Chairs and Managers
    • Chair Larry Cochrane and Director Jennifer Boie Palouse Conservation District
    • Craig Nelson, Executive Director Okanogan Conservation District
    • Chair TJ Johnson and Executive Director Sarah Moorehead Thurston Conservation District
    • Some examples from this session are posted at: https://bit.ly/CDExamples


  • 6:00 Envirothon silent auction – This year’s WACD Envirothon auction will be virtual and all proceeds from the auction will support the Washington State Envirothon team on their road to Nationals. The auction will be hosted online using Bidding Owl and held from November 29th-December 3rd. The Auction begins 8AM on Sunday, November 29th and ends at 5PM Thursday, December 3rd. Find more information – including bidding instructions – at https://waenvirothon.org/support-envirothon/auction/.
  • 6:20 Networking on resolutions – This is discussion on resolutions to be considered on Wednesday afternoon. While we plan for this to be a single Zoom session, it could break into individual Zoom rooms if needed.

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Tuesday, December 1

CHAMPION sponsor LEADER sponsor SUPPORTER sponsor FRIEND sponsor PARTNER

Emerging Natural Resource Issues

  • 9:00 Keynote Speakers
    • George Geisler, State Forester Washington State Department of Natural Resources
    • Terra Rentz, Forest Health and Resiliency Division Manager Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • 9:20 Water Topic –
    Out of Basin Transfers of Water Rights and a possible role for CDs, case study from the Methow Valley watershed. 
    • Lorah Super, Supervisor Okanogan Conservation District
  • 9:45 Break
  • 10:00 Panel on Soil Health
    • Alison Halpern, Policy Assistant Washington State Conservation Commission
    • Joe Williams, West Area Conservationist Natural Resources Conservation Service
    • Kelly McLean, Policy Advisor to the Director Washington State Department of Agriculture
    • Chad Kruger, Directors of Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center & Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources Washington State University
  • 10:45 Break
  • 11:00 Conservation Easement Panel
    • Kate Delavan, Office of Farmland Preservation Coordinator Washington State Conservation Commission
    • Carlee Elliott, Easement Program Coordinator Natural Resources Conservation Service
    • Nick Norton, Executive Director Washington Association of Land Trusts
    • Nate Lewis, Conservation Manager Washington Association of Land Trusts
  • 11:45 Break


  • 12:00 Lunch Networking: Emerging Natural Resource Issues
  • On Tuesday, when your schedule allows, we invite you to view three videos provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service:

Legislator Panel

  • 1:00 Legislator Panel
    • Representative Debra Lekanoff Washington State Legislature
    • Senator Shelly Short (invited) Washington State Legislature
    • Facilitated by Brynn Brady Ceiba Consulting
  • 1:45 Break
  • 2:00 Conservation Districts and State Funding – A Panel with State Agencies
    • Wendy Brown, Policy and Legislative Director Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office
    • Kelly McLean, Policy Advisor to the Director Washington State Department of Agriculture
    • Alison Halpern, Policy Assistant Washington State Conservation Commission
    • Garret Ward, Budget Policy Manager Washington State Department of Ecology
  • 2:45 Break
  • 3:00 Open Discussion on Legislative Priorities
  • 3:45 Break

Themed Networking

  • 6:00 Themed networking – Suggested topics include:
    • Conservation district operations and COVID-19
    • How conservation districts are dealing with wildfire risk and recovery
    • How to improve working relationships with tribes
    • Diversity, equity, inclusion, justice - how do these relate to our conservation district work?

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Wednesday, December 2

CHAMPION sponsor LEADER sponsor SUPPORTER sponsor FRIEND sponsor PARTNER

Commission Session on Supervisor Development

  • 9:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks
    • Carol Smith, Executive Director Washington State Conservation Commission
  • 9:30 RM updates and intro to the new Supervisor Development Curriculum
    • Shana Joy, Regional Manager Coordinator Washington State Conservation Commission
  • 10:00 Break
  • 10:15 Special Presentation
    • Joe Davis, Director of Risk Management & Member Relations Enduris
    • Susan Looker, Director of Claims Enduris
    • Kelly Allen, Legal Counsel Enduris
  • 11:15 Break
  • 11:30 Office of Farmland Preservation Update
    • Kate Delevan, Office of Farmland Preservation Coordinator Washington State Conservation Commission
  • 11:45 Budget and Outreach Story Telling and Resources
    • Laura Johnson, Communications Manager Washington State Conservation Commission
    • Brynn Brady Ceiba Consulting


  • 12:30 Lunch break
  • 1:30 WACD Awards Presentations / Years of Service Recognition / 2020 CD Photo Contest Winners
  • And view this 30-second video from AgDirect when you have a moment: AgDirect video


WACD Business Meeting

Thursday, December 3

  • 9:00 Washington State Conservation Commission Meeting (notice and agenda)

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CHAMPION sponsor LEADER sponsor SUPPORTER sponsor FRIEND sponsor PARTNER

Our speakers are listed below in random order. Please use the search box to quickly navigate to individual entries.

Name Bio

Brynn Brady

Brynn Brady
Ceiba Consulting, Inc.

Based in Tacoma, Washington, Brynn Brady brings more than 16 years of experience building relationships with state and local elected officials, city and county governments and non-profit communities.

After graduating from Washington State University, Brynn served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala from 1997-1999. Upon her return, she began her career as a Senior Planner in Pierce County where she had direct involvement in developing local, regional and state land use and natural resource policies and regulations.

She applied this local experience toward a new role in government relations as Pierce County's primary advocate for land use and natural resource issues and eventually covered other county government interests including budget requests, transportation, economic development and criminal justice.

Ceiba Consulting was created in 2014 in order to realize Brynn's talents in advocacy and facilitation. In Olympia, she has represented clients with a variety of interests including general government, public health, health care, transportation, and natural resources.

Kate Delevan

Kate Delavan
Office of Farmland Preservation Coordinator, Washington State Conservation Commission

Kate joined the Washington State Conservation Commission in June 2020. She brings a broad understanding of food systems to her work, with experience in farmland conservation transactions and policy, land-use planning, farmers markets, food assistance programs, and the grocery industry.

Kate holds a B.S. in Global Business from the University of Redlands and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and exploring Washington’s scenic and wild places.

Shelly Short

State Senator Shelly Short

Shelly was the unanimous choice of the district’s county commissioners to succeed former Sen. Brian Dansel. She went on to overwhelmingly win the 2017 special election for the district’s Senate seat. In 2018, she was re-elected to serve another four year term in the Senate.

Short is a strong leader on energy, environment and regulatory issues and is a recognized local and national leader on climate change and cap-and-trade policy. In November 2018, she was elected by her peers to serve as the Republican Floor Leader in the Senate Republican Leadership.

Shelly has been heavily involved in bringing her district’s concerns about wolves to the state Legislature and is actively working to find solutions to the hardships that many of her citizens are experiencing. She’s an avid advocate for rural Washington and was named the 2018 Legislator of the Year by the Hunters Heritage Council, Washington’s largest hunting-rights organization. She was also awarded Legislator of the Year by the Washington Association of Agriculture Educators.

She was a 4-H leader, has participated in the Colville Valley Gymkhana Club and enjoys skeet shooting, horseback riding, swimming and gardening. Shelly and her husband, Mitch, live in Addy. They have two adult children, Trevor and Brianna.

Carol Smith

Carol Smith, PhD
Executive Director, Washington State Conservation Commission

Carol was appointed as Executive Director in May 2019. She previously worked for the Washington State Conservation Commission from 1998-2014 managing the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program — Washington’s largest streamside habitat restoration program for salmon — and science-related issues.

She returns to the Conservation Commission after spending the last four and a half years at the Washington State Department of Ecology where she managed the Environmental Assessment Program, which is the science-arm of the agency. Smith also has worked for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Morehouse School of Medicine, and she directed a chemistry laboratory in California.

Smith grew up near McCleary, Washington. She worked for Simpson Timber Company for several years while attending college at Saint Martin’s University. She has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in various biological sciences from the University of Hawaii.

Debra Lekanoff

State Representative Debra Lekanoff

Representative Debra Lekanoff represents the 40th legislative district of Washington state, which includes parts of Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties. She is a proud mom who fights every day to ensure younger generations, including her daughter Emma, can continue to flourish. She is inclusive in her decision making process by listening to stakeholders, citizens and governmental bodies. She is known for her experience and capacity to work with vast parties, and on vast issues, and get the job done. Sworn-in to the Washington State House of Representatives in January 2019, Representative Lekanoff is the only Native American woman to currently serve in the Legislature.

Representative Lekanoff has called the Skagit Valley home for almost 20 years. In addition to serving in the Legislature, Representative Lekanoff served as Governmental Affairs Director for the Swinomish Tribe. With over 20 years of government relations experience,  she engages on a variety of issues at the international, federal, tribal, state, and local levels.

Representative Lekanoff’s background and experience provide valuable knowledge and perspectives that allow her to lead on a wide range of policy issues, including but not limited to, environment, natural resources, climate change, education, housing, and agriculture.

Gearing up for the 2020 session, Representative Lekanoff has been working on a number of bills that address issues such as salmon recovery, water quality and quantity, education funding, wildlife management, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and Indian health care reform including youth suicide prevention, behavioral health, and the opioid crisis.

Tim Palmer

Tim Palmer
President, National Association of Conservation Districts

President Tim Palmer operates a 1,200-acre row crop and cow/calf to finish operation near Truro, Iowa. He has served on the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District’s board since 2003, and has held the titles of director, vice president and 2010-2011 president of the Conservation Districts of Iowa, the state’s district association.

Palmer was a governor-appointed member of the Iowa State Soil and Water Conservation Committee from 2012-2014. In 2013, he was elected to represent the NACD North Central Region, where he served for four years. Palmer and his wife Shelly, along with sons Geoff and Greg, use conservation measures extensively on their farm and are active promoters of water quality and soil health initiatives.

Michael Crowder

Michael Crowder
President-Elect, National Association of Conservation Districts

President-elect Michael Crowder holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in natural resources and environmental sciences, as well as numerous conservation awards, including Benton County and Washington state’s “Wildlife Farmer of the Year” awards, the Washington Association of Conservation Districts’ “Young Tiger” award and the Ducks Unlimited “Wood Duck,” “Bronze Mallard” and “Silver Mallard” awards.

For eight years, Crowder taught wetland restoration, wildlife science and ecology as an adjunct professor at Washington State University Tri-Cities. He currently manages farming operations in Illinois and Washington state and is actively involved in the management of his family’s third-generation farm in Indiana.

Kim LaFleur

Kim LaFleur
Second Vice President, National Association of Conservation Districts

Second Vice President Kim LaFleur is the state advisor and program director for the Massachusetts FFA Association and an independent consultant to agricultural organizations and associations. LaFleur has served as president (2007-2010) and vice president (2010-2012) of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts, an NACD board member (2007 to 2013) and an NACD executive board member (2013-2016). In 2012, she was the recipient of the NRCS/NACD Olin Sims Conservation Leadership Award.

LaFleur, along with her husband Jeff and two sons Cameron and Logan, reside in Plympton, Massachusetts, where they own and operate Mayflower Cranberries, a 112-acre cranberry farm and agri-tourism business. LaFleur also breeds and shows World Grand Champion miniature horses and serves as the chair on the Plymouth County Conservation District’s board. For five years (2009-2014), LaFleur was executive director of the Massachusetts Farm Wineries and Growers’ Association. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife and fisheries biology from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.

Jeanette Dorner

Jeanette Dorner
President, Washington Association of Conservation Districts

Jeanette's first experience with conservation districts is when she was a community volunteer starting in 1996, working with the Pierce Conservation District and her neighbors to take care of the rural creek she grew up on.

In 2009 Jeanette was elected to Pierce's Board of Supervisors and in 2010 she was elected by her fellow board members to be Chair. Almost ten years later Jeanette continues to serve as Chair of Pierce CD's Board and was elected to the WACD board first as Area Director for the Northwest Area and then soon after the Vice President of the Association. She completed two years as Vice President before being elected President in 2018.

When she's not volunteering to support the work of conservation districts she splits her time between her work as the Executive Director of the Nisqually Land Trust, and as a mom of a 17 year old son and a 11 year old daughter. Jeanette has degrees in Earth Science, Environmental Studies, and Restoration Ecology.

Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson
Communications Manager, Washington State Conservation Commission

Laura holds a Master’s degree in environmental communication from Prescott College and a BA in film and video from Grand Valley State University. Her graduate research explored how to design conservation campaigns that foster stewardship behavior, particularly in rural, low-income communities.

Laura grew up in a small, rural town in northeast Michigan along the shores of Lake Huron. She moved to Washington in 2006 and enjoys the activities, beauty, and food afforded by the state’s diverse landscapes.

Shana Joy

Shana Joy
Southeast Regional Manager / Regional Manager Coordinator, Washington State Conservation Commission

Shana Joy joined the Conservation Commission in July 2014. Prior to joining the Commission she worked for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources as the Executive Director of the Natural Resource Conservation and Development Board, a position she held for five years. In this role Shana worked closely with 12 diverse conservation districts statewide as well as state and federal agency leaders to advance conservation districts in Alaska.

Shana graduated with honors from Oregon State University with a B.S. in natural resource management focusing on fish and wildlife conservation. A native of Pend Oreille County, Shana enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, fishing, and birding.

In addition to managing the regional manager staff, Shana provides service and support as a regional manager to these conservation districts: Asotin County, Columbia, Palouse, Palouse-Rock Lake, Pine Creek, Pomeroy, and Whitman.

TJ Johnson

TJ Johnson
Chair, Thurston Conservation District

TJ is a full-time farmer and the owner of Urban Futures Farm LLC, and was previously a visiting faculty member at The Evergreen State College where he taught food and agricultural policy. He was a founder of the Thurston Food System Council, and served as Chair of the Council for two years.

TJ served two terms on the Olympia City Council, chairing the Finance Committee and the Intercity Transit Authority. During his time on the council he was a passionate advocate for a more sustainable community and a more peaceful world. He has held professional positions in the public sector and with various non-profits working on energy conservation and supporting public agency whistle-blowers, and is a former union organizer and shop steward.

He holds a BA in Geography from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College. His master’s thesis, titled Sustainability Planning in Thurston County Washington: Opportunities and Challenges for Eco Civic Agriculture, examined the potential for regional sustainability planning to serve as a catalyst for developing a sustainable local food system.

Sarah Moorehead

Sarah Moorehead
Executive Director, Thurston Conservation District

Sarah became Thurston CD’s Executive Director in August 2019 after serving as Interim Executive Director for 2 years. Prior, Sarah has been with the Thurston Conservation District since 2010 in a variety of roles and positions.

Sarah graduated from The Evergreen State College in March of 2011 with a Bachelors in Environmental Science, focusing in Natural Resources Science Education. Her coursework included: chemistry, aquatic ecology, education, grant writing and photography. She has additional skills in outreach, marketing, event coordination, educational material development and water quality monitoring.

Sarah is passionate about youth outdoor education and working with rural communities, local food systems and agriculture. Sarah is devoted to the work that conservation districts do and believes in the power of voluntary conservation. She plans to continue to help the district grow and respond to the changing needs of the community long into the future. Wise use of our shared resources will continue to be the most important conversation in our lives, and Sarah hopes to help further this discussion. We live in a beautiful place, that with knowledge and a little help, can be just as breathtaking and thriving for generations to come. Sarah hopes to help leave a legacy of clean water, fertile soil, sense of community, recreation, knowledge and happiness for her son and family.

Nick Norton

Nick Norton
Executive Director, Washington Association of Land Trusts

Nick Norton serves as the Executive Director at the Washington Association of Land Trusts, and brings an array of experience in the biological sciences, sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and private land conservation. Prior to joining WALT, Nick worked in the role of Conservation Projects Manager and then Interim Executive Director at the Palouse Land Trust in Moscow, Idaho.

During that time, he had the opportunity to experience the strong network of land trust practitioners and leaders across Washington State, and jumped at the chance to serve this dynamic community as WALT’s Executive Director. He is a strong believer in the importance of place-based conservation, the power of a collective advocacy voice, and the critical role of land trusts in driving a bright future for Washington’s lands and waters.

Generally, you can find Nick out rambling in the wild blue yonder with his wife Nicole and young son Emil as much as possible, whether it is jumping onto a bike trail, wildflower hunting, backpacking in the Cascades, canoeing in Lake Washington, or strapping on cross country skis. Nick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College, as well as a Master’s of Science in Plant Biology from Washington State University.

Alison Halpern

Alison Halpern, PhD
Policy Assistant, Washington State Conservation Commission

Alison joined the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) in July 2018. She came to the SCC after working for the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board for thirteen years, first as its Education Specialist and then its Executive Secretary.

She earned her Ph.D. in Ecology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY, where she studied the ecology of a freshwater invasive plant. Although Alison and her husband Curt are New England natives, they have lived in the Midwest, Southern California, and Upstate New York before calling the Pacific Northwest home.

Joe Williams

Joe Williams
West Area Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Joe is the West Area Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) based in Olympia. For the past 24 years Joe has worked as a soil conservationist, agronomist, district conservationist, and plant materials center manager with NRCS in the states of Oregon, Nevada and California.

Joe received his BS degree in Agronomy from Cal Poly Pomona and was a licensed Certified Crop Adviser from 1998-2013.

Craig Nelson

Craig Nelson
Executive Director, Okanogan Conservation District

Craig Nelson has been with the Okanogan Conservation District since December 1996 and currently serves as their Executive Director. His work at the District has spanned district administration, conservation program delivery, building collaborative partnerships, disaster recovery coordination, public policy development, community outreach, and more.

Craig also has community and philanthropic leadership experience with Washington AgForestry Foundation, North Central Washington Community Foundation, Okanogan Athletic Booster Club, and multiple youth sports organizations. He and his wife love spending time traveling with family and attending high school athletic events where Craig is often the unofficial photographer.

George L. Geissler

George L. Geissler
State Forester, Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Washington State Forester George Geissler joined the Washington Department of Natural Resources in 2018, capping over 30 years of public and private forestry, and wildland firefighting experience. In Washington, he’s leading agency’s efforts in wildland fire management and forest health and resiliency.

George holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University and his Master of Business Administration from Harvard. He is also a Society of American Foresters Certified Forester.

Prior to joining DNR, he served eight years as Oklahoma State Forester and Director of the Oklahoma Forest Service. He also served as the agency’s Forest Management Chief before advancing to the director position where he coordinating the department’s Forest Stewardship program, forest management planning, nursery and genetics programs and prescribed fire program establishment and implementation.

Before joining OFS George managed and directed operations of an investor owned utility holding company with operations in the central US and overseas, and later established and managed a natural resource management firm for 8 years.

George has also served with the U.S. Forest Service, as a silviculturalist in Idaho based on the Boise National Forest and was a member of the Boise Hot Shots for six years. George is a past president of the Southern Group of State Foresters and is past president of the National Association of State Foresters. He is also a principal on the Wildland Fire Leadership Council and is Chair of the NASF Wildland Fire Management Committee.

Chad Kruger

Chad Kruger
Director, Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center and Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources

Chad Kruger currently directs WSU’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center (TFREC) in Wenatchee and Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources (CSANR). He received a B.A. in Philosophy and History (1997) and an Academic Certificate in Ecointensive Agriculture Technologies (1998) from Northwest College in Kirkland, Washington, and he completed an M.S. (2003) in Land Resources from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He was an Au Sable Graduate Fellow at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He joined WSU in 2004 and spent the first 11 years of his career located at TFREC in Wenatchee as part of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, and directed WSU’s Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center (NWREC) in Mount Vernon (2015-2020) and the Puyallup Research & Extension Center (2017-2020).

He served on the 2007/2008 Washington State Climate Action Team, co-chairing the Agriculture Sector Carbon Market Workgroup, the Washington Department of Natural Resources Expert Council on Climate Change, the board of the Northwest Ag Business Center, and was a Commissioner on the Douglas County Water Conservancy Board. He currently co-chairs the Sustainable Ag Committee for the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, serves on WSDA’s Dairy Nutrient Advisory Committee, the WDNR Climate Resilience Advisory Council, ex officio for the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, and represents WSU on the Washington Food Policy Forum. He co-chaired the Outreach, Extension, Service and Engagement Concept Team for the WSU 2021-2025 Strategic Planning process, serves on WSU’s Forward Together: Campus and Locations Operations Working Group, and is the lead author of the multi-agency Washington Soil Health Initiative. He was raised in Washington State and is blessed to be from generational farm families in both Eastern (wheat and cattle near Spokane) and Western Washington (berries in Whatcom County).

Kelly McLain
Policy Advisor to the Director and Legislative Liaison, Washington State Department of Agriculture

Kelly McLain is a Policy Advisor to the Director and Legislative Liaison at the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Prior to starting this role in May 2018, Kelly was a Senior Natural Resource Scientist at WSDA for 8.5 years, specifically focused on the addressing the interface between agricultural activities and the state’s natural resources.

She previously spent five years in the Water Quality Program at the Department of Ecology and 2 years in city planning and environmental management. Kelly has bachelor and master of science degrees in environmental science and policy from The Evergreen State College.

Nichole Embertson

Nichole Embertson, PhD
Science and Planning Coordinator - Sustainable Livestock Production Program, Whatcom Conservation District

Dr. Nichole Embertson is the Science and Planning Coordinator at the Whatcom Conservation District since 2008, adjunct professor at Washington State University, Director of the Washington Discovery Farms Program, and chair of the WSCC Center for Technical Development.

Nichole has been working with the Center for Technical Development since 2014 and has a passion for working with partners, agencies, and Districts around the State to improve programs, opportunities, and expertise through better information and training.

Joey Breaux

Joey Breaux
Exec. Director, LA Soil & Water Conservation Commission; Asst. Commissioner, LA Dept. of Agriculture & Forestry/Office of Soil & Water Conservation

Breaux began work with the Office of Soil & Water Conservation in 1994 as a Coastal Revegetation Project Manager working with coastal SWCDs, and in 1996 began helping to administer the statewide Soil & Water Conservation District Program. He also served as the State Coordinator for the Louisiana Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) Program.

He’s a native of Cameron Parish, was raised in southwest LA’s rice, cattle and crawfish production region and graduated from Bell City, LA High School and McNeese State University (B.S. Wildlife Management).

Nate Lewis

Nate Lewis
Conservation Manager, Washington Farmland Trust

Nate brings close to two decades of experience in food, farming, and farmland preservation to his role as Conservation Manager with Washington Farmland Trust (WFT). Additionally, Nate and his wife own and manage Oyster Bay Farm, a 40-acre organic diversified livestock and crop farm on the shores of Puget Sound in Olympia, WA. They started farming in 2002 as caretakers on the farm, and, ultimately, they became owners in 2018 after successfully completing an agricultural conservation easement.

Prior to joining WFT, Nate worked with Washington State Department of Agriculture’s organic certification program and as Farm Policy Director at the Organic Trade Association. He holds a bachelors of science in organic chemistry and agricultural science from The Evergreen State College.

When not pursuing his passion of farmland preservation, Nate can be found working on his own farm, floating his drift boat down local rivers in pursuit of salmon and steelhead, or foraging for mushrooms in our region’s forests.

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CHAMPION sponsor LEADER sponsor SUPPORTER sponsor FRIEND sponsor PARTNER

The helping hand provided by sponsors provides critical support to WACD's annual conference, allowing us to better use other resources to support our member conservation districts. We encourage you to visit our sponsor's web pages. If you interact with a sponsor, please let them know that you saw their information at the WACD annual conference! We deeply appreciate the commitment of our sponsors to the success of our Washington State conservation delivery system! (Would you like to help sponsor our annual conference? Please contact us as soon as possible. Sponsors also receive free registration to the conference!)

We deeply appreciate the support of these sponsors!

More about our sponsors
Washington State Conservation Commission

Washington State Conservation Commission

CHAMPION sponsor

The Washington State Conservation Commission is our Champion sponsor for the 2020 annual conference.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

LEADER sponsor

NRCS has provided these three YouTube videos for our conference attendees:




AgDirect has provided one video for our conference attendees:

Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited


The McGregor Company

The McGregor Company


Plants of the Wild

Plants of the Wild

FRIEND sponsor

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife


WDFW has provided these three YouTube videos for our conference attendees:

Northwest Farm Credit Services

Northwest Farm Credit Services

FRIEND sponsor

Upper Columbia RC&D

FRIEND sponsor



FRIEND sponsor

West Seattle Nursery & Garden Center

West Seattle Nursery & Garden Center

FRIEND sponsor

Dear Sponsors and Conservation Friends...

Dear Sponsors and Conservation Friends:

Despite unexpected challenges this year, our Washington State conservation districts have continued to do what they always do: persevere in the face of adversity and produce meaningful results. This has been a year that demonstrates their responsiveness, resilience, and resourcefulness. They have remained on the job, finding ways to help people resolve natural resource challenges because those issues don’t go away on their own. The Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) has also had to make adjustments in response to new conditions. This year, our statewide annual conference will be an entirely online event. That changes many things about how to participate in the conference and what it means to sponsor it. We want you to know how much we appreciate your support of Washington’s 45 conservation districts. They are leaders in their communities, in Washington State, and often nationally. None of that could happen without your help. If being a sponsor appeals to you, we have some simple choices for you to consider:

  1. If your focus is primarily on supporting your local conservation district, please consider donating time, money, or other resources directly to them. They can use the help to get the job done in your community and your contributions may be tax deductible.
  2. If you appreciate the work of conservation districts in Washington State, year in and year out, please consider sponsoring our WACD annual conference. We need your help in providing the best possible support to our conservation districts.
  3. If your contribution must be tax-deductible, please consider supporting the Washington Conservation Society, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit.
  4. If you do not want to be a sponsor or contributor, but do wish to support conservation district purposes, please consider making your Amazon purchases through Amazon Smile with the Washington Conservation Society as your selected charitable organization.

WACD is a voluntary nonprofit association that serves as the collective voice for our 45 conservation districts in Washington. We are fierce advocates for conservation districts. We work to advance the purposes of conservation districts. We provide leadership, representation, influence, and information. We deliver services, programs, and assistance in support of the purpose and vision of conservation districts. We promote the role that conservation districts play in helping people become the best stewards of natural resources they can be. And we advance and protect the locally-led principle and incentive-based conservation choices for our citizens. What we do costs money. While conservation districts cover most of that cost through their payment of annual dues, they can’t cover the entire cost of the work we do for them. That’s where you or your company can make a real difference. This year, our annual conference sponsorship packages are simpler. We are offering four sponsor levels: Friend, Supporter, Leader, and Partner.

Sponsorship value: $250 $500 $1,000 $2,000 or more
Website (1 year): Small logo Small logo with link Small logo with link, featured video Large logo with link, featured video
Newsletter (1 year): Small logo Small logo with link Large logo with link Large logo with link
Conference materials: Small logo with link Small logo with link Large logo with link Large logo with link
Session introductions: One 5-minute block One 10-minute block Two 10-minute blocks
Showcase videos at conference: Up to 15 minutes of video Up to 30 minutes of video Up to 60 minutes of video

If you might wish to have a virtual vendor booth, please visit with us. We are happy to discuss what else we can do to gain your support for the WACD 2020 Annual Conference. Thank you for your help and we look forward to visiting with you! Tom Salzer, Executive Director, Washington Association of Conservation Districts Sponsor support should be sent to: Lori McLaughlin WACD Plant Materials Center 16564 Bradley Road Bow, WA 98232

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CHAMPION sponsor LEADER sponsor SUPPORTER sponsor FRIEND sponsor PARTNER

Our partners help make our conservation delivery system succeed. They form a rich network of people and organizations working toward our common goals. We share with our partners a desire and commitment to make sure that healthy, abundant natural resources are available today and for future generations!

  • Would you like to be a partner in our annual conference? Please contact us as soon as possible!
  • Conservation districts: please do visit the websites for our partners and let them know that you appreciate their support!

Our partners in providing the 2020 WACD annual conference

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  • Eugene Schloz Outstanding Supervisor Award - An active district supervisor or associate supervisor who made an especially valuable contribution to district conservation programs or to the state conservation movement.
  • Wayne Reid “Young Tiger” Award – A supervisor or associate supervisor with six years or less who has made an extraordinary effort to assist their district to meet its goals in a short period of time.
  • Wildlife Farmer of the Year Award – A cooperator actively engaged in farming, ranching or forestry on over 50 Acres.
  • Wildlife Steward of the Year – A cooperator actively engaged in farming, ranching or forestry on less than 50 Acres.
  • Conservation District/Tribal Partnership Award – A successful CD-tribal partnership that demonstrates successful regional conservation.
  • Special Service Award – For anyone who has provided assistance on a CD-sponsored project and has made an outstanding achievement and contribution in the field of conservation.
  • Vim Wright “Building Bridges” Award – A person within the arena of conservation working to foster understanding, partnership, and greater conservation through collaboration.
  • Conservation Educator of the Year award
  • Conservation District of the Year award

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Resolutions as adopted on December 2, 2020

Resolution section before action by members
Resolutions will be addressed as part of the Wednesday afternoon WACD business meeting.

Below are the resolutions as recommended by WACD’s committees. The original resolutions, as adopted by the area associations, are still posted in the Members Only section of the WACD website.

  • Download all resolutions in a single ZIP file: RESOLUTIONS

Committee recommendations are just that, recommendations that do not constrain the will of the membership. Resolutions receiving a Do Not Pass recommendation do require an additional step to be reconsidered. This step consists of gathering signatures from twenty voters (supervisors and authorized associates) from member-districts or by receiving a majority vote of the membership present at the business meeting to consider the resolution.

In this virtual year, “signatures” will be accepted electronically. A voter looking to “sign” a resolution can send an email from their conservation district-affiliated account or call from the number listed in the WACD Directory, any form of communication that can be verified as affiliated with that supervisor will be accepted. Signatures should be directed to WACD’s Legislative & Membership Lead Ryan Baye at or 360-999-0361 and should be received before the start of the annual business meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

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In October and November, WACD and WSCC worked with districts to confirm the email addresses of every conservation district board supervisor. This was in anticipation for using an electronic voting system called Election Runner to supplement regular voting practices at our annual business meeting. WACD staff has consulted with Roberts Rules of Order 12th Edition and its guidance regarding electronic business meetings. We have also incorporated feedback from similar statewide meetings and the area association meetings with similar structures into this year’s planning.

As we proceed with the 2020 WACD Annual Business Meeting, we ask for patience and grace for all the membership as we all adapt to a new set of meeting procedures.

Voice Votes

In many cases, we will use voice votes to resolve questions that are before the membership. At the appropriate time, the presiding officer will ask for the voting members present (supervisors and authorized associate supervisors) to unmute their microphone or telephone to provide an “aye” or “nay”.

Zoom Options

In the instances where voice votes are not conclusive, we will be utilizing a combination of Zoom services to provide a more accurate tally. One feature is to have the voting members participating turn on their video cameras and raise/wave their hands when called to vote “aye” or “nay”. The second feature is to open a Zoom poll and ask voters to simultaneously input their vote. Voting members who are participating through telephone will be asked to text their votes to WACD Legislative and Membership Lead Ryan Baye at 360-999-0361 for inclusion. Coverage between these two methods will provide a more accurate count than a simple voice vote.

Roll Calls

If the Zoom combination is still too close to call, the presiding official has two options. If the meeting proceedings cannot continue without knowing the outcome of the vote in question (for example, an amendment to a resolution), a roll call vote of the voting members present will be conducted. Based on the roll call at the start of the meeting and any late voters who joined, each voter’s name will be called and they will be asked for their vote.


When the outcome of the vote is not critical to the continuation of the meeting (for example, final adoption of a resolution), the presiding official has the option of using the Election Runner system. At the end of the business meeting, each voter present will be sent an individualized voter ID number and security key to their conservation district-affiliated email address. The supervisors who have opted out, or do not have an email address, will be provided this information through a telephone call.

Voters will then have until 8 PM, Wednesday December 2nd to vote, either via hat initial email or through a link WACD will be posting in this section. The ballot will contain any and all votes that were deferred, as well as any competitive WACD Officer election. Confirmation their vote was received will be sent to the initial email address.

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