CTD Newsletter: January 2018

Let's All Get Motivated for 2018!

We all experience a dip in motivation now and then (particularly after the holiday break!), and constantly maintaining a high level of energy can be challenging. Here are some great tips to keep yourself, or your team, motivated in 2018:

1. Recognize great work – Who doesn’t feel a boost when recognized for something they have achieved? Take the time at the end of the day to recognize one great thing you accomplished for the day and be proud of it, no matter how small. Also, make a list of all the great things you accomplished in 2017. I bet the list is longer and more rewarding then you thought! Keep up the motivation by recognizing good work by your team/peers to help keep them motivated throughout the year.

2. Set small, attainable, and measureable goals – Setting too high of goals can lead to frustration, demoralization, and a decrease in motivation when you cant achieve them; but having no goals at all leaves us despondent and without a sense of purpose. Setting clear, achievable goals on multiple time frames will provide a boost of self-confidence and increase your motivation to keep going. Look to setting daily, weekly, monthly, and/or long-term project goals and working towards success.

3. Make a to-do list – Making a to-do list with near and mid-term tasks provides a daily motivational boost and feeling of productivity. Be sure to include at least one thing that can be accomplished every day. The best part of a to-do list is the pleasure of crossing things off! Done!

4. Stay positive, even when you don’t feel that way – The whole “fake it till you make it” concept has a lot of merit when it comes to positivity and workplace happiness. Granted, it can be tough to be sunshine and daisies all day, but making a point to stay positive about your work will make it feel more inviting and meaningful. Help your team/peers with a moral boost by providing positive feedback/reinforcement about their work too. Everyone appreciates and benefits from a positive kudo on a regular basis! In fact, you might just see an overall increase in positivity throughout your entire office and other aspects of your life too.

5. Take care of yourself – It is hard to be motivated when we don’t feel good. Be sure to take good care of yourself by staying healthy this season. This starts with eating healthy foods with consistency throughout the day (no one likes a hangry coworker!), exercising regularly by getting up and moving around, taking breaks when you need them, and finding a mid-day boost when you get low such as music, a walk, reading jokes, or doing a puzzle game for a few minutes. You work hard, so reward that by taking care of yourself!

6. Work as a team – Everything feels easier and more inspired when we work as a team. When others are counting on and supporting you, your motivation will increase. Establish project, discipline, task, project, or fun teams within your office and beyond. Reaching out to others across the State can provide a sense of a larger support network and help you feel motivated to do good work. Watching a team succeed is a great reward!

Go forth and do great work this year! The CTD is here to support you with training opportunities, professional certifications, planning templates, technical information, and more. Check out our website for some inspiration and motivation for 2018. Cheers!

Farewell James

Thank you, James!

James Weatherford is retiring from Thurston Conservation District. Most Conservation District technical staff in Washington know James for the passion and drive he brings to improving the professionalism of conservation planners across the state. You may also know that James is a 5th generation farmer/ rancher, as he brings this sensibility and ethic to his conservation work as well.

James has a strong vision for improving the professionalism and the professional recognition of Conservation District planners across the state. His statewide efforts have help us all standardize CD plan templates, expand trainings, establish specialty planner certifications, and his most recent efforts are working towards improving technical quality assurance. He has also been a key Conservation District/ CTD contact with NRCS in all of these efforts. In his individual work, he is a top notch planner and technician, a dedicated mentor with his peers and deeply cares about the land and land managers.

Professional Cat Herder

Bringing CDs across the state to work together on statewide initiatives is cat herding work. James has always been up to the task, tracking down managers and technicians from across the state who may have different concerns and priorities on a topic. James has a great ability to speak to the heart of an issue, listening to and understanding different concerns and perspectives. This work has been critical to the progress of these many statewide efforts.

We at the Center for Technical Development are so grateful to James for his service and his deep commitment and leadership over this last decade and wish him the best with what is next.

Warmest wishes from all of us at the CTD and at CDs across Washington State!

Special CTD Webinar - Advanced GIS Course Preview

Course Preview: Advanced GIS for Conservation Districts

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 @ 1:00-2:00PM

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone:


You can also dial in using your phone.

United States: +1 (872) 240-3212

Access Code: 224-294-341

(First GoToMeeting? Let's do a quick system check: https://link.gotomeeting.com/system-check )

Advanced GIS for Conservation Districts

Instructor: Andrew Phay, Whatcom CD

Webinar Description: The CTD is bringing you a special statewide course on advanced GIS skills for Conservation Districts. This course will build on last years “Basic GIS Course”, and/or give the more advanced GIS user a great opportunity to advance their skills. This special webinar will preview the course and collect information from you on the topics and examples you would like to learn. Space is limited for the in-person courses, so get your vote in during this webinar on where you would like to see the course, or take the survey here to indicate your interest and preferred location: SURVEY HERE.

In-Person Course Description: In this two day class we will go over more advanced subjects in GIS, continuing on what we learned in the basic class last year. Some of the subjects will be Spatial Analytics (working with rasters), Modeling, 3D Analytics, external database connections, Soil Data Viewer, Geocoding, Scripting, ArcGIS Online, and an introduction to ArcGIS Pro. You will get to get your mouse pointer dirty with some hands on exercises, so a laptop with ArcMap on it will be needed for the class.

Prerequisite: Must have understanding of using ArcMap to work with Features and Geodatabases.

Tentative weeks for classes:

Feb 19-23

March 12-16

April 16-20

Location: To Be Determined (cast your vote HERE)

Washington State Soil Health Summit - Feb. 8th & 9th

SAVE THE DATE for the upcoming Washington State Soil Health Summit that will be occurring on the evening of Feb 8th through Feb 9th.

Please consider joining us for this upcoming workshop co-hosted by the Washington State Conservation Commission and Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources. This invite only event will bring together stakeholder representatives in Washington to convey issues and determine solutions to address soil health challenges in a coordinated way.

Event Details: Washington State Soil Health Summit

When: February 8th, 5:00-8:30 pm – February 9th, 8:00am-4:00pm

Where: Banyans on the Ridge, Pullman, WA

Register by: January 26th at http://bit.ly/2BQd7w5

If you have any questions please contact Brooke at brooke.saari@wsu.edu or Leslie at leslie@okanogancd.org.

How To Grow As A Conservationist

Natural Resource Conservation is a unique type of work, and learning it is somewhat unique also. Formal schooling certainly helps, but you must take the initiative to continue learning after you start working. Here are a few ideas to consider to help you to become a better conservationist:

  • Take online courses and in person training through AgLearn, which offers very specific training for conservationists

  • Establish some mentors that can help guide you to grow and learn.

  • Read magazines or journals related to conservation and the type of agriculture in your area.

  • Keep abreast of information and trainings offered by CTD (Center for Technical Development).

  • Join a resource type society such as the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

  • Attend training/informational conferences such as WADE (Washington Association of District Employees)

  • Work on someone’s farm part time.

  • Attend agricultural field days or farm workshops, such as the ones offered by Extension and local farm supply businesses.

  • Attend county fairs and other events in your district such as Equine competitions, cattle shows, or other such events.

  • Go on farm visits with NRCS folks.

  • Make opportunities to go out on field visits with specialists in forestry, wildlife, Cultural Resource, engineering, and other areas of resource management.

  • Learn from others in your office and even surrounding districts.

  • The learning local agriculture in some districts takes place in the coffee shop, the sale barn, or other places where the landowners that you are trying to assist gather.

  • If you have special groups of folks in your district, attend their events to learn their culture, so you can better assist them with their resource conservation.

Most of all enjoy your work!! We have a great profession - finding ways to help people conserve the natural resources they have to manage.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact Larry Brewer at lbrewer@scc.wa.gov or call and leave a message at 360-701-7859.

District Highlight

Grant County CD

District Name: Grant County Conservation District

Size: All of Grant County and the panhandle of Adams County - 3,073 sq mi

Population: 101,358

# Employees: 3 Full time, 2 Part time

Main Programs:

  • Direct Seed Drill Rental for irrigated crops

  • Livestock Facility Management

  • Nutrient Management Plan Development

  • Conservation Planning and Technical Assistance

  • Small Farm Program

  • Shoreline Restorations

  • Vacant Lot Weed Management

  • Low-water Use Landscaping

  • On Farm Energy Audits

  • Voluntary Stewardship Program Implementation

  • Wildlife Conservation

  • Eco-Gardening Symposium

  • Othello Sandhill Crane Festival

  • Trout in the Classroom

  • Water on Wheels

  • Wheat Week

Key Partners:

  • WA State Conservation Commission

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service

  • Grant County Commissioners

  • Adams/Grant WSU Ext.

  • Adams/Grant WSU Master Gardeners

  • National Association of Conservation Districts

  • WA State Potato Commission

  • WA Department Fish & Wildlife

  • US Fish & Wildlife Services

  • Mid-Columbia River NWR Complex

  • WA State Farm Bureau

  • Walleye Club

  • Department of Ecology

  • Department of Agriculture

  • East Columbia Basin Irrigation District

  • Moses Lake Irrigation Rehabilitation District

  • WA State Soil Health Committee

  • Pacific NW Direct Seed Association

Most Proud of:

Located in one of the largest agricultural areas in Washington, Grant County Conservation District provides services to cooperators who manage multi-irrigated crop rotations and large-scale livestock operators providing technical assistance will change in a positive way in 2018 with GCCD being awarded one of 19 National Urban Ag grants funded by NACD.

The Grant proposal is to provide urban agriculture opportunities to underserved seniors who do not have access to local grocery stores for all of their food needs. GCCD worked closely with Administrators from county wide retirement facilities who were eager to learn about the project and were happy to provide the residents with the onsite facilities to grow a portion of their food needs. GCCD reached out to livestock operators who were happy to provide composted material for the food plots.

Various types of garden plots will be set up at 8 different locations. Composted manure from local dairies and feedlots will be delivered to the retirement facilities. The idea of sharing farm produced organic composted material with underserved minority residents at retirement homes is a perfect partnership for assuring sustainable food production.

Additional benefits of this grant project will be recycling livestock wastes, water conservation, opportunities to talk about soil health, and bringing livestock people together with urbanites. Additional indirect benefits include healthy diets, and the positive benefits to residents that maintaining gardens will bring.

Another opportunity GCCD is involved in is the state of the art precision agriculture technology that will be a necessary skill for farming in the future. Interpreting drone imagery for use in variable rate fertility and seeding, managing and applying nutrients and crop protectants, using GPS and soil test zones, monitoring soil moisture for efficient and effective water management, and precision yield monitoring are seeing increased use on farms across the Columbia Basin. The advanced technology was a platform for GCCD to have a demonstration for the Senate's Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development Committee on the growing use of remote sensing systems for crop management throughout the Columbia Basin.

Grant County CD Fun Facts

Did you know that without the 2,320 miles of canals and laterals that deliver water to 670,000 irrigated acres by the Columbia Basin Project, Grant County would not be ranked number 1 in the state by the agriculture census:

  • Value of sales by commodity groups in: vegetables, potatoes, melons, sweet potatoes, cattle

  • Top crop items by acres in: hay, vegetables harvested and corn for grain

  • Market value of products sold in nurseries, greenhouses, livestock, and poultry.

Featured Photo

"Frost on Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)" by Olivia Schilling, Foster Creek CD

Reminder: Current AgLearn Version to Shutdown This Friday, January 5, 2018

For those CD employees who have an AgLearn account:

The current version of AgLearn will be shut down on January 5, 2018. A new version of AgLearn is scheduled to go online January 22, 2018.

Prior to the shutdown you should complete any online AgLearn training that is in progress, otherwise you will need to restart that training from the beginning after the next version of AgLearn goes online.

It is also advised that you make a copy of your training history record from AgLearn, just in case glitches occur during the transfer. This can be done by using screen captures or other means.

And for those who have created FY18 IDPs: If you created an FY18 IDP, it will not transfer over to the new version of AgLearn. If you’d like to keep a record of your FY18 IDP, you will need to create a PDF of the IDP (see instructions here) and then re-enter the IDP in the next version of AgLearn.

For questions, please contact:

Chas Scripter chas.scripter@wa.usda.gov


Kathleen Dickerson kathleen.dickerson@wa.usda.gov