For years, Angela Ehlers
had been in communication with the governor's office, petitioning for increased conservation funding throughout the state and offering ideas for how good work could be done.
"It was tight, but we made the deadline with two weeks to spare," laughs Ehlers
To help secure the grant, Ehlers
needed the recommendation of South Dakota State Forester Ray Sowers, who was well familiar with the work districts had done around the state.
"We thought it'd be an ideal fit," says Sowers.
"Our districts are some of the largest tree planting organizations in the state.
I immediately asked Angela
had some sites in mind."
, "We tried to highlight non-traditional tree planting projects, not just your standard windbreaks on the farm.
Three of the four focused around urban forestry needs; the other was designed to showcase the benefit of using trees through CREP.
A brief summary of each of the four demonstration projects:
A tree bank for boulevard trees was established in Brookings County with the help of the Brookings Conservation District, City of Brookings, Brookings County, South Dakota State University
, and three small communities within the county.
, "(North Dakota and South Dakota) have a large percentage of green ash trees and we were concerned of what the impact emerald ash borer could have on those small communities.
According to Ehlers
the project used a 50 percent cost-share to replant 3,000 landscape-sized trees.
, "We were thrilled by how, when the districts were given a challenge ... they stepped up to the plate."
Ehlers also spoke of how adaptive the districts were in making things work; even when heavy snow prevented the Governor's plane from reaching one of the scheduled briefings.
"No problem," says Ehlers
"Everyone went home, we came back three days later and they had just as big of a crowd, if not bigger."
offers a bit of encouragement to districts in others states leery about approaching government for funding.
"Conservation districts do good things, and we need to remember that," she
"People in government want to accomplish good things.
If you can show the benefits and the partners, government will listen.
But you have to be persistent, and you have to help them understand what you're about and why it's important."
For more information, contact Angela Ehlers, executive director for the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts at (605) 895-4099 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. California RCD Examines Value of Native Seed Use
Thanks to the work of one district employee and the data she
partners have collected, conservation leaders may be able to protect and better restore California's forests.