Our meeting theme this year was: “Conservation through Partnerships – Strategies for Success”. That concept was started off on Tuesday morning, despite the wintry weather, with a special keynote address to the CACD General Assembly from Don Brown, CO’s new Commissioner of Agriculture. The other speakers that morning included: Gary Moyer, CACD’s current President; Clint Evans, CO’s State Conservationist; Brent VanDyke, NACD’s First Vice President; and Brett Moore, CACD Lobbyist. Tuesday’s networking luncheon included an introduction to and a brief address by Jeff Burwell, who is the new NACD Western Issues Specialist.
Tuesday afternoon was filled by the Resource Committee meetings and the 2015 Resolution hearings. This year, there were a total of twenty-one By-Law or Policy resolutions that were reviewed, with twelve passing out of Committee and then sent on to be voted on by CACD’s General Membership.
The 2015 Live Auction Fundraiser on Tuesday evening was a great success as well as being an entertaining event, which included live music by Tim Sullivan from the Durango area. Travis Hakert, from the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, came down to provide his regionally renowned services as our auctioneer. Over $9100 was raised that night, with the help and generosity of the members and partners that attended and participated! CACD profusely thanks those folks that helped out at our only annual fund raising event for the state association. A good time was had by all!
On Wednesday morning, the General Assembly resumed with Cindy Lair, the CO State Conservation Board’s Program Manager; John Swartout, Governor Hickenlooper’s Rural Policy Advisor; and Connie Richmeier, the past President of the National Conservation Districts Employee Association. These speakers were followed by a variety of Breakout Sessions that continued throughout the day. Some of the session topics included information on: Oil and Gas in CO; Youth Educational Programs; CO Water Plan updates; “Duct Tape/WD40” and “Annual Plan of Work Rx” for Conservation Districts; Endangered Species in CO updates; Local Land Use Plans for CD’s; Farm and Ranch Succession Planning; Nutrient Impairment to Waterways in CO; and NRCS Program updates.
Wednesday evening’s Awards Banquet recognized the 2015 Conservationists of the Year in the categories of Farmer and Rancher. Lawrence Ortega, from the San Luis Valley won the award for the 2105 Farmer Conservationist of the Year and Triple R Farms, from Agate, won the award for the 2015 Rancher of the Year. Other conservation awards that were given out are as follows:
- NRCS Earth Team Award: Platte Valley CD, Southeast Weld CD, and West Adams CD
- Soil Water Conservation Society: Jim Anderson, Anderson Farms, Erie, CO
- CSCB Direct Assistance Award: White River Conservation District
- CSCB Certification Program Award: Numerous!
- CACDEA District Manager Length of Service Awards: Judy Lopez, Sheryl Wailes, Judy Garrigues, and Pam Brewster
- CACDEA District Employee of the Year: Caitlin Hansen, East Otero, Olney Boone, West Otero Timpas CD’s
- CACD Poster and Photo Contest Winners: Diego Loranca (Montrose) and Patrick Hladkey (Brighton)
- CACD Camp Rocky Volunteer Recognitions: Beth Fortman and Ben Berlinger
- CACD Legislator of the Year – House: Representative Don Coram, CO District 58
- CACD Legislator of the Year – Senate: Senator Randy Baumgardner, CO District 8
- CACD Educational Program of the Year: Montezuma Farm to School Project, Sarah Syverson
- CACD Hall of Fame Award: First Board of Supervisors, Branson-Trinchera CD; Charles Ryden, Bookcliff CD
- CACD Conservationist of the Year – Small Acreage: Fred and Joan Clifford, Boulder Valley CD
- CACD Communications Award: Brian Allmer, BARN Radio; Lorrie Boyer, KSIR Radio
Congratulations to all of the CACD 2015 Award Winners!
Finally, at Thursday morning’s 2015 General Membership Business Meeting, the 2014 Minutes were approved, along with the 2016 CACD Annual Budget. The twelve 2015 Resolutions that passed out of the Resource Committees, were passed by the General Membership present, or there represented by proxy, at the conclusion of the 2015 Membership Business meeting.
I, along with the CACD Board of Directors, would like to thank ALL of those individuals and partners that volunteered countless hours to help make CACD’s 71st Annual Meeting a success. Many thanks also to our 2015 Annual Meeting attendees and sponsors—we couldn’t hold this meeting without your participation and generous financial support.
Best wishes to you all in 2016!
Submitted by CACD’s Executive Director, Sharon Pattee
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