Working for the Wyoming Way of LifeWritten by Shaun Sims
By Shaun Sims, President of the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts
Our commitment and goal at the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts is to work for the Wyoming way of life, so it is fitting to have “Working for the Wyoming Way of Life” as our theme for the 69th Annual Convention coming up Nov. 18-20 in Sheridan. As elected conservation district supervisors and staff, we work day in and day out to meet our responsibilities to Wyoming’s natural resources – delivering conservation assistance, programs and projects aimed at enhancing some of the best natural resources in this country, if not the world. The districts do this by developing a relationship with our local landowners, homeowners and communities and working with a variety of partners and a myriad of local, state and federal entities.
The whole purpose behind having a locally elected board was to ensure that the local perspective and local conservation priorities were addressed. Each of us is different in the challenges we face, all dependent on our resource base.
The purpose of our annual meeting is to provide an opportunity to learn from one another, experts in the natural resource field and determine our collective voice on matters of policy and legislation.
We are excited about this year’s convention. Two researchers from the University of California – Davis will be joining us to share their cutting-edge research. We will get to learn first-hand about what Dan Dagget, a conservative environmentalist, has observed about the conditions of rangelands across the West. We have many important topics and issues that will be addressed during our committee meetings and during Nov. 20’s breakout sessions.
It is exciting to see the work districts are doing across this great state. Whether it is reclaiming a Brownfield site in the Laramie Rivers Conservation District, establishment of a Conservation Education Center in Lusk, tackling the mountain pine beetle epidemic in Crook and Weston County or restoring water quality and successfully delisting a waterbody in the Little Snake River Conservation District, just a name a few, the districts working with their local communities are accomplishing a lot.
The Soil and Water Conservation Act was adopted in Wyoming in 1941. Districts began forming through an election process initiated by local people who recognized the value of a local government entity whose primary purpose and mission was to address the challenges faced at the time, primarily a significant event called the “Dust Bowl.” With our partnership and the outstanding technical assistance from our partners at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), districts, the landowners and those who have implemented high-quality conservation have successfully addressed many of these early challenges. This is a testament of what can be accomplished when we have a common goal and a dedication and passion for grassroots natural resource conservation.
Over the past 69 years, districts have recognized resource challenges and opportunities change. However, we continue to recognize the most successful conservation work comes from working with those on-the-ground and from the grassroots level.
Our convention agenda is packed with a really high-quality technical sessions and topics, as well as policy and legislative matters and educational opportunities.
To learn more and register to join us in Sheridan, please visit our website at conservewy.com.