Tribal Outreach Task Force

Tribal Outreach Task Force Update
October, 2013

For years, the Washington Association of Conservation Districts (WACD) has endeavored to provide increased communication and cultural exchange with our state’s tribal nation members sharing similar interests in natural resources conservation.  During the 2012 WACD annual meeting, NACD President Earl Garber, then NACD Western Issues Specialist Mark Truax, NRCS State Conservationist Roylene Rides-at-the-Door, and WACD leadership held a listening session with tribal representatives from the Yakama, Cowlitz, Colville, Quinault and Swinomish tribes to discuss mutual concerns and opportunities for working together.  WACD continues to seek opportunities for tribal representatives to attend and participate in technical and partnership meetings at WACD and Washington Association of District Employees (WADE) conferences, to improve our communication and exchange of interests.

Task Force Appointment:

In July, 2013, WACD President David Guenther appointed a Tribal Outreach Task Force to coordinate and accelerate this outreach processThe task force is comprised of eleven members.  The following persons have volunteered to serve on the task force for 2014-15:

  • Tanna Engdahl, Task Force Chair, and Cowlitz Nation representative
  • Lynn Engdahl  (Clark CD)
  • Kathy Whalen, WADE President
  • Larry Davis, Supervisor, Whatcom CD
  • Robin Slate, NRCS tribal liaison
  • Michael Crowder, WACD National Director to NACD
  • Jackie Richter, Colville Tribal Conservation District
  • Michael Stamon, Quinault Nation
  • Mark Clark, Executive Director, Washington State Conservation Commission
  • David Guenther, WACD Past President
  • Vacant, WADE Representative

Others who support task force activities include NRCS State Conservationist Roylene Rides-at-the-Door, State Conservation Commission Chair Jim Peters, and WACD Executive Director David Vogel.  Representatives from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) may also participate.  Task force members may also identify others to participate as appropriate from time to time.

The purpose of the task force is to assist WACD in developing and implementing an outreach strategy to Washington’s twenty-nine tribes, to increase opportunities for communication and collaboration between conservation districts and tribes on conservation issues, and to coordinate the contributions and input by (task force) represented organizations in that effort.  The goal is to build working partnerships.

The task force will serve a two-year term, beginning with its organizational teleconference held July 2, 2013.  Thereafter, the task force will meet as needed either in-person or by conference call, arranged by WACD.  WACD will seek funding to help support the efforts of task force members.

WACD assigns to the task force the following activities:

  • Recommend to WACD leadership joint training and educational opportunities for tribal and conservation district partners, to educate one another about communicating and working together.
  • Recommend to WACD leadership opportunities for improving conservation implementation, with tribes and conservation districts working in partnership.
  • Advise WACD leadership in the proper channels for communicating opportunities for joint conservation district and tribal involvement and cooperation on conservation issues.
  • Assist WACD leadership in making the proper connections along such communication channels, and in facilitating collaboration.
  • Determine other actions, as needed, to build relationships, explore collaboration opportunities, and to further support the objectives of the task force.

The task force will assist in building relationships at two levels:

  1. Technical collaboration – continue to build partnerships at the field level involving tribal and conservation districts’ technical staff (e.g., field projects, WADE Conference training, funding strategies, employee orientation training, technical advisory committees).
  2.  Leadership partnership-building – Establish communication and understanding between tribal leaders, elders, council members or other appropriate tribal representatives and local conservation district supervisors (e.g., WACD Annual Meeting, tribal meetings/events, educational opportunities, new supervisor orientation, local board meetings, local working groups).

The timeline for task force activities will be based in part on scheduled WACD and WADE annual conferences, but will also depend on building momentum and following opportunities as they unfold.  Aside from the need to schedule training and other annual conference exchanges, the task force will set its schedule based on a flexible and patient approach, to take advantage of collaboration opportunities as they are developed.  The task force may establish milestones to serve as goals as needed.

The task force has begun work to design and plan a full membership general session at this year’s WACD annual meeting, devoted to presenting information to conservation district and tribal attendees about how to build on our success stories in advancing collaboration in conservation activities.  This general session is a work-in-progress, and the task force will continue to plan a session design and make key contacts with potential presenters.  The task force is also planning a concurrent session to follow the general session, that serves as a “how to” discussion about establishing contacts, messaging, and follow-through in dealing with partnership opportunities between tribes and conservation districts.

The task force will continue its work following the WACD annual meeting, to take advantage of opportunities that arise and to follow-up on promising ideas.  The task force will also begin efforts to assist WADE in planning for the technical and supervisor tracks at next June’s WADE conference.  The task force will also help set the pace for continued tribe and conservation districts partnership efforts as the outreach initiative gains momentum in the months ahead.

Task Force Meeting Notes

2014_0929 Task Force Conference Call Notes
2014 WACD Tribal Outreach Task Force Report
2014_0228 Task Force Conference Call Notes
2013_1125 Task Force Conference Call Notes
2013_1101 Task Force Conference Call Notes
2013_1004 Task Force Conference Call Notes