The Conservation Partnership – Pulling Together
The 2011 Annual State Meeting of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts
The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) held its 73rd Annual State Meeting at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City Feb. 27 – March 1, 2011. OACD is an independent organization that promotes natural resource conservation through various activities and functions. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC).
Lt. Governor Todd Lamb kicked off the Monday morning opening session, followed by new state Sec. of Agriculture Jim Reese. Earl Garber, first vice president of the National Association of Conservation Districts rounded out the opening session. Neal McCaleb, Chickasaw Nation; Gary Sherrer, new Sec. of Environment; and Shanon Phillips, OCC Water Quality division director spoke at the Monday luncheon, themed “Navigating Oklahoma’s Waters.”
Chesapeake Energy donated a pickup truck that was given to a conservation district selected by a drawing. Mays County Conservation District won the pickup in the drawing held following the OACD banquet on Feb. 22. “This truck will really help us do our job,” said Jerry Koelsch, Mays County Conservation District board member. “Having this vehicle will help us work more effectively with our local cooperators and help them protect and conserve our natural resources,” said Bud Osborne, also a district board member.
During the meeting, Joe Parker, farmer and rancher in Talala, Okla., and a Rogers County Conservation District board member, was elected as OACD president. He replaces Trey Lam, outgoing OACD president and Garvin Conservation District board member. Alveta Taylor, Deer Creek Conservation District Board member and OACD Area IV director, was elected to fill the OACD vice president’s position vacated by Parker.
Conservation Hall of Fame
The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and the Oklahoma Conservation Commission established the Oklahoma Conservation Hall of Fame in 1985. Each year, one or more friends of conservation and/or conservation district directors are inducted in recognition of a positive influence on Oklahoma’s conservation programs. This year OACD inducted two individuals into the Hall of Fame.
OACD President Trey Lam named Carol Gaunt of Weatherford to the Oklahoma Conservation Hall of Fame during the organization’s banquet on Feb. 28. In addition to serving on the Deer Creek Conservation District Board since 1982, Gaunt served as president of OACD 1999-2000.
Brent Mynhier of Wynnewood was named to the Oklahoma Conservation Hall of Fame as a “Friend of Conservation.” Mynhier had served as a Garvin Conservation District board member and on the OACD executive board as treasurer, but recently resigned to accept a position in Oklahoma City.
OACD President’s Award
The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts has presented its “President’s Award” since 1983 to one or more individuals or an organization that has shown outstanding support of conservation efforts in Oklahoma or the nation. OACD President Trey Lam presented the President’s Award for 2011 to Matt Gard, Major County Conservation District board member and Area I Commissioner of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. Lam commended Gard, who suffered a tragic motorcycle accident in 2010 that left him partially paralyzed. Despite that personal tragedy and a subsequent rigorous rehabilitation program, Gard had only missed one Commission meeting and had continued in his role of public service almost without missing a beat, Lam said.
Clay Pope, OACD executive director presented special awards to Sen. David Myers and Rep. Dale DeWitt for their “tireless support of rural Oklahoma and the conservation of our natural resources.” He also presented special awards to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service state and regional staff for assisting conservation districts with equipment to assist with no-till agriculture and prescribed burning. Both practices help soil conservation and native vegetation while increasing wildlife habitat.
Becky Inmon, secretary for the Oklahoma County Conservation District, was named Employee of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation District Employees (OACDE) and commended for her work helping coordinate the National Land and Range Judging Contest. Robert Toole, OCC Conservation Programs director, also received an OACDE President’s Award for his work with district employees and helping with OACDE bylaws.
NACD Auxilary Honors
OACD Auxiliary members Sylvia Hudson and Betty Lam were honored for their years of service by the Auxiliary of the National Association of Conservation Districts, represented by NACD Auxiliary South Central Region President Dianne Jeans.
NRCS Partnership Awards
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service presented the following awards during the three-day meeting:
Conservation Educator – Wade Warren and Jolene Sparks, Noble County Conservation District; Patricia Kloeckler, Muskogee County Conservation District; and Robert Gibbs, Rogers County Conservation District.
Standing in the Gap – LeFlore County Conservation District
Conservationist of the Year – Robert Toole, OCC Conservation Programs director.
Resource Conservation and Development Council Member of the Year – Reonna Slagell Gossen, Great Plains RC&D
Earth Team Awards
Zone 1 – Wheatland RC&D – William S. Key Correctional Center
Zone 2 – Stilwell Field Service Center
Zone – 3 Purcell Field Service Center
Zone 4 – Poteau Field Service Center