Newsletter Highlights:
  • 2019 AACD Summer Conference Recap
  • 2019 AACD Award Winners
  • 2019 Auction to Benefit Ed Centers & Envirothon
  • Thank you 2019 AACD Summer Meeting Members & Contributors

Arizona Association of Conservation Districts
JULY 2019 Newsletter
AACD President, Frank Krentz; Keynote Speaker - Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Matthew Lohr; National Association of Conservation Districts President Tim Palmer; AACD First Vice President Mark Kuechel
2019 AACD Summer Conference Recap
It was an extremely successful 2019 AACD Summer Conference with over 170 participates and 23 members and contributors! Thank you to all of our wonderful speakers.

Day one kicked off with our Keynote speaker, NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr, followed by NACD President Tim Palmer, Arizona Legislators Gail Griffin and Time Dunn (pictured), Arizona Natural Resource Commissioner Lisa Atkins, NRCS State Conservationist Keisha Tatem, BLM State Director Ray Suazo, Forest Service Regional Forester Cal Joyner, ADA Director Mark Killian, and AZSHPO Cultural Resources Compliance Manager Mary-Ellen Walsh.

Day two featured AZ Assistant Attorney General Paul Katz and NRCS State Leaders Rebecca de la Torre and Emily Fife. District Success stories were shared from Winkelman NRCD by Bill Dunn, Willcox- San Simon NRCD by Tina Thomposn, and Chino Winds/ Triangle NRCD by Dawn Salcito. Conservation funding opportunities were presented by Water Protection Fund Director Reuben Teran, AZGFD Access Program Coordinator Steve Cassady, and AZ Department of Agriculture Marketing Manager Sharma Torrens.

Day three included NACD's Western Issues Specialist Jeff Burwell and NRCD Program Manager Jackie Thomas.

A special thank you to Coconino NRCD for organizing and sponsoring tours to see Picture Canyon and the Fort Tuthill Thinning Project.
2019 AACD Award Winners
District Supervisor of the Year - Mark Kuechel
District Supervisor of the year was awarded to AACD First Vice President, Mark Kuechel. Mark is the owner and operator of Kuechel Farms with more than 40 years of experience in agriculture. He manages 2,000 acres of citrus in Yuma, AZ, and is certified by the Arizona Department of Agriculture to train pesticide handlers and agricultural workers and to issue EPA training verification. Mark is a grower for Duda Farm Fresh Foods and provides custom care and management to his farm as well as others. Mark has put in countless hours for the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts and the Yuma Natural Resource Conservation District. He organized the 2019 Guns "Plus" Raffle to benefit the AACD and sold over $23,000 in ticket sales. Thank you Mark for everything you do!
Conservation Leadership Farmer of the Year - Todd Mellon
Conservation Leadership Farmer of the Year was awarded to Todd Mellon. Todd is a third generation farmer in the Yuma Valley. Todd's grandfather, Archie Mellon, and his wife, Lefty, had two sons, Doug and Dave. Doug had four sons, who have continued the legacy of farming and are raising yet another generation to take over the family farm. Todd and his brothers utilize the services of NRCS yearly: they have water pipes, cement ditches, etc. Todd served on the Yuma Board for three years, and he and his brothers are active in the community. Additionally, their family is pictured on many leafy green vegetable ads and the food safety. 
Teddy Roosevelt Award - Deborrah Smith
The Teddy Roosevelt Award was created this year to honor an individual who has given extraordinary assistance to the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts and all the Natural Resource Conservation Districts in Arizona. Because of her unwavering efforts, Deborrah Smith was awarded the first ever of this award at the AACD Summer Conference.

Deborrah has worked with the Districts for 25 years and held many positions over the years including, Executive Director, Business Manager, Clerk, Ed Center Director, Board Advisor, Elected Supervisor, AACD Secretary, AACD Ed Center Chairman, AACD Communications Chair, AACD Projects Director, and now Operations Director.

Her dedication to conservation and to the Districts is extraordinary. Deborrah works 24/7 (literally!) answering calls, organizing meetings, maintaining financials, working on agreements, and managing different projects to benefit the NRCDs. She has stuck around through the good and bad. On behalf of the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts we thank you for everything you do!
Outstanding District Employee - Chris Postel
Chris Postel is the 2019 Conservation District Employee of the Year. Chris began working with the Pima NRCD in April of this year, and has already established himself as highly organized, self-directed and self-motivated. He is actively and enthusiastically involved in the overall performance of the District.

Chris is tying together the three Districts for which he works–Pima, Santa Cruz and Winkelman–and has made himself the central coordinator for this regional group of NRCDs. Already, we are seeing the benefits of shared costs for some of his time. Chris has already made the arrangements for a Tri-District Supervisors training program in September. When the Pima NRCD put out a request for donations to pay for comments on the Coronado Forest Livestock Grazing Biological Assessment, the Santa Cruz NRCD immediately responded, thanks to Chris providing information at their meeting. He hand-delivered a large check from them the following day.

Of his own accord, Chris researched and compiled an updated contact list for our cooperators. This necessary task had not been done for about six years. Chris also created a survey to send to Cooperators to discover their needs and to inspire them to become more involved in the District.

Chris has also brought forward many good suggestions (which have been adopted) for improving cooperator participation such as: quarterly luncheon meetings rather than monthly afternoon meetings; re-designing the District’s website to be more user friendly and responsive to our Cooperators’ needs (he will carry this out as soon as possible); and conservation projects the District might tackle in order to better serve our Cooperators.

Currently, Chris is developing Plans of Work for the District and its Education Center. 

Chris also brings a highly social element to the District, with his love of cooking, entertainment, and conversation. In the months to come, it would not be at all surprising to see a much needed increase in Cooperator participation in the Pima NRCD, thanks entirely to Chris
Outstanding Staff Member - Sari McLaurin
Sari McLaurin is the 2019 Outstanding Staff Member of the Year. Sari has been a valued member of the Wellton-Mohawk Valley NRCD for over 20 years. She and her husband Bruce have farmed in the Valley for over 30 years.

Sari is an accomplished records keeper, keeping the board well informed of budgets, correspondence, and other district activities. She fields all communication and completes all necessary documentation and requirements of the board. She keeps the minutes as well as a detailed report on all the financial transactions. Sari maintains the District social media page on Facebook, and designs and posts a periodic newsletter of the Wellton-Mohawk Valley NRCD.

Her organizational skills, dedication, and patience guide the Board in their quarterly meetings. Sari has been cited as "by far the best and most efficient clerk the District has ever had"; "just a great person to work with"; and is good at "keeping the Board in line with the things that need to be done yearly...and is always there to help with whatever we need".

Within the community, she was a community 4-H leader and volunteer for many activities including the Tractor Rodeo for Yuma Regional Medical Center, Antelope FFA, and Booster club.
2019 AACD Auction to support Education Centers & AZ Envirothon Raises $9,000
A huge thank you to all of our contributors to the 3rd Annual AACD Auction to benefit Arizona Envirothon and NRCD Education Centers! A special thanks to our amazing Auctioneer, Frank Krentz! Without your support we wouldn't have been able to raise $9,000!
Thank you 2019 AACD Summer Meeting Members & Contributors!
AACD President Frank Krentz receiving a $5,000 contribution from Suzanne Menges, CKP Insurance
A huge thank you to our 2019 AACD Summer Conference Members and Contributors! Without your generosity we would not have been able to put on such a successful summer conference.
For vendor's contact information please visit:

Billy Thompson
(520) 384-4688

Lamar Smith
(830) 719-5978

Bill Dunn
(520) 384-4688

Daric Knight
(928) 521-9897
Arizona Association
of Conservation Districts
P.O. Box 50518
Phoenix, AZ 85076
Have a story you would like to share in our next newsletter?

Contact: Brooke Gladden (Phelps)
(520) 668-3348
"To support Conservation Districts in providing conservation leadership and education to address local conservation priorities in partnership with landowners, federal and state agencies, tribal & local governments and other partners"