Dear WACD members and partners:
New information resources are available to you. The State Conservation Commission rallied a fast-action team to assemble resources that conservation districts will find helpful. That information is shared through a special page at https://scc.wa.gov/covid-19_resources/
The State Joint Information Center is also maintaining an up-to-date information resource at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/
What is the Washington Association of Conservation Districts doing in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic? We are making tools available for our members. See https://www.wadistricts.org/2020/03/12/time-for-stronger-community/ for more information.
We are also actively reviewing other resources that may help conservation districts shift their style of operation from in-person, face-to-face meetings to remote, virtual meetings.
As the complex story of COVID-19 continues to emerge, we find ourselves making difficult decisions about WACD operations. One of those decisions is for our WACD staff to self-isolate as much as possible. (I write this from my dining room table in Grapeview!) For WACD staff in the Olympia executive office, that’s not too difficult. For WACD staff at the Bow nursery operation, that is exceptionally difficult.
For the next few weeks, do not expect our Olympia folks to be at the office phone number. Our mobile numbers are published on the WACD website at https://www.wadistricts.org/about-wacd/meet-our-staff/ and at https://www.wadistricts.org/contact/
Our Plant Materials Center folks are working very hard to finish harvest and get all plant orders shipped. Staff are taking precautions to avoid infection. We are hoping that we can get through the shipping cycle without being directly impacted by COVID-19. After that comes field cleanup and prep for seeding. At the PMC, our people are doing the best they can and taking it one day at a time. We are very fortunate to have great staff.
During this time, all of us in our conservation community are being stretched in ways that weren’t even a glimmer in our minds just a few weeks ago. This situation will test us as we haven’t been tested before. However, I know from my nearly three decades in our conservation district family that we are tough, resilient, can-do people. I am confident that we’ll emerge from this crisis in good shape to carry on our mission of conserving our precious natural resources that we all depend on.
Keep in touch. Keep your Conservation Commission Regional Manager informed and your Association informed. I invite members of our conservation community to join the Washington Conservation Network so that when you share information, we all benefit. It’s easy to join at https://groups.io/g/wadistricts/join.
We are with you and you are with us. Please continue to protect yourself and others, and do communicate with our community.
Tom Salzer, Executive Director