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Front Page: Your Weekly News & Updates
Conservation district week resources, employment law webinar, Intro to Conservation Planning dates, environmental education resources, news from Columbia and Berks Counties, PACD awards and poster contest, and NRCS extends deadlines.
Conservation District Week Resources Available

The Pennsylvania State Senate and the House of Representatives declared May 3-9, 2020, as "Conservation District Week." During this week, district offices will hold conference calls and virtual meetings with legislators.
 
Conservation district resources are available here

Resources include:
Please take advantage of these resources PACD created for conservation districts to use.
 
Pennsylvania's conservation districts thank Governor Tom Wolf and members of the PA House and Senate for supporting the districts through the state budget.
Register Now for Employment Management & Law Webinar Series

Adam Long of McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC will present a webinar series on Employment  Management & Law for Conservation Districts, scheduled for Wednesdays June 3, July 8,  and August 5 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. An in-person follow-up session is scheduled for Thursday,  September 3, at the 2020 Management Summit.
 
The program agenda for the first session on June 3 will feature topics that are crucial to effectively and lawfully managing the conservation district workforce during times of disruption: furloughs, layoffs, and work-from-home policies. This presentation will also cover key hiring considerations for employers, leave, and other important workplace and employment policies.
 
Topics for the July and August webinars will include harassment training and policy, managing employee absences, wage and employee classification, and best management practices for employee communication, confidentiality, conduct, and performance concerns.
 
All conservation district managers and directors are encouraged to participate in these sessions. Click here for more information and to register.
 
Adam Long practices in the Labor and Employment Law Practice Group at McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC, where he represents employers in single-plaintiff and class-based employment litigation matters and provides advice and counseling to employers on a wide range of labor and employment law issues. Adam has worked with Building for Tomorrow to present on employment law and management topics for conservation districts for over ten years.
 
Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership's Leadership Development Committee.
Intro to Conservation Planning Course Tentatively Scheduled for November

PACD is partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the State Conservation Commission (SCC) to deliver a three-day Introduction to Conservation Planning course. This free training is tentatively scheduled to take place on November 4-6, 2020, at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg (Hershey area) in Grantville, PA.
 
The event is for entry-level employees of all organizations in Pennsylvania delivering conservation planning technical assistance, including but not limited to NRCS, conservation districts, SCC, farmland preservation entities, non-profits, and private consultants. The training is free, and lunch will be provided.
 
To receive information on this training as it becomes available, including the online prerequisite, email Shannon Wehinger at swehinger@pacd.org .
New Environmental Education Resources 
More resources for teaching environmental education from home are now available. Huntingdon County Conservation District (HCCD) and the PA Envirothon have new things to share.
 
HCCD is creating some virtual field trips in the form of short videos and photo albums, including:
  • Learn how we monitor water quality and about what lives in the stream
  • Look at invasive species
  • Tour a vernal pool
  • Sample macroinvertebrates
Click here to view the videos and consider sharing them on your social media! (You must log in to Facebook to view.)
 
Pennsylvania Envirothon is hosting an online challenge week ("Pennsylvania Envirothon Week") from May 18-22, 2020, to give this year's students a chance to test their knowledge and stay engaged in the program. This challenge will only be available for high school students who were already participating in this year's Envirothon. Click here to learn more.
 
Photo caption: Screenshot from HCCD's video of Watershed Specialist Logan Stenger demonstrating a stream study.
Columbia County Conservation District Holds Rain Barrel Workshop via Webinar
On April 18, 2020, the Columbia County Conservation District converted their DIY Rain Barrel Workshop to a webinar! The webinar ran 1.25 hours on the Zoom platform. The district had 49 people attend the webinar and have all 50 rain barrels reserved for pick up at a later date.
 
Watershed Specialist Brittney Hartzell said, "I was pleasantly surprised to see the enthusiasm for the webinar and that almost everyone attended. Offering it via webinar allowed for more participants because it could be open to the public. We were not limited on space like we would have been in the original plan for an in-person workshop."
 
Click here  to view the PowerPoint and here  for the recorded webinar.
 
This project was funded through a 2019-2020 PA Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Education grant.
$2.2 Million Awarded to Berks County Farms
Agricultural Best Management Practice (BMP) Implementation in the Chesapeake Bay

The Berks County Conservation District (BCCD) is excited to announce good news is on the way for Berks County farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Last week, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) awarded more than $200 million for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), including $2,232,143.00 toward Berks County agricultural operations within the Chesapeake Bay to implement agricultural best management practices (BMP's.) RCPP is a partner-driven approach to conservation that funds solutions to natural resource challenges on agricultural land. By leveraging collective resources and collaborating on common goals, RCPP demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships in delivering results for agriculture and conservation.
 
BCCD will be the lead partner for the Chesapeake Bay RCPP project. Collectively, RCPP partners have also committed an additional $2,294,875.00 in contributions, totaling over $4.5 million toward the implementation of agricultural BMP's to improve and protect local water quality. In collaboration with the USDA-NRCS, BCCD and project partners will implement Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs) or a "Whole Farm Approach." This includes implementing manure handling systems, animal heavy use area protection, and near-stream conservation practices such as riparian buffers, filter strips, and animal exclusion fencing, all while providing much needed technical assistance and conservation planning.
 
Photo caption: Photo provided by Berks County Conservation District.
Last Call for Nominations for PACD Conservation Awards

Do you know a staff person, director, or associate director who has gone above and beyond the call of duty? A legislator who champions conservation legislation? Or a Pennsylvania resident or Pennsylvania-based organization you would like to recognize for their contributions in support of environmental recreation? If so, nominate them for a PACD award!
 
The awards are:
  • Ann Rudd Saxman Conservation District Director or Associate Director Excellence Award
  • Conservation District Employee Excellence Award
  • Legislator Leadership Award
  • Maurice K. Goddard Award for Excellence in Environmental Recreation
The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2020. Click here  for more information and the nomination forms.
 
Nominations should be emailed to Jann McNamara at jmcnamara@pacd.org .
Poster Contest Offers Opportunity for At-Home Activity

While kids are home from school and parents are looking for activities, why not suggest the 2020 Poster Contest to your county residents via Facebook? The 2020 theme is, "Where would we BEE without Pollinators?"
 
Conservation districts that wish to participate can collect nominations via email, judge them, and forward the winners in each grade category to PACD. PACD will then select the statewide winners to move on to the national contest.
 
PACD will accept photos of your county's winners until June 30, 2020. Entries can be emailed to jmcnamara@pacd.org . Click here  for more information on the contest.
USDA Extends Deadline to Submit Project Proposals for On-Farm Demonstrations and Alternative Funding Arrangements

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced it would extend deadlines for project proposal submissions to May 29 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program Alternative Funding Arrangements. Originally deadlines were mid-May, but NRCS is providing additional time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Click here to read the entire press release.
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Conservation Districts in the News 
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Upcoming Events

April 30, 2020, 10am

June 16-19, 2020
102/105 Basic Technical Training
Wyndham State College, Boalsburg, PA

PA Association of Conservation Districts | 717.238.7223 | pacd@pacd.org | www.pacd.org
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