Conservation leaders discussed issues relevant to southeast Oklahoma at the Area V Meeting of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts held in Wilburton on Nov. 15, 2012. Latimer County Conservation District hosted the meeting, sponsored by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) and cosponsored by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC) in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). More than 130 people attended.
“Remembering the Dust Bowl,” the theme for the meeting for southeast Oklahoma’s conservation district directors and employees, reflected the challenges faced by natural resource conservation entities during one of the hottest and driest periods in state history. The theme also focused attention on statewide previews of a new documentary called THE DUST BOWL by filmmaker Ken Burns. The 4-hour documentary premiering on PBS television stations on Nov. 18 and 19 features many interviews with Oklahomans who survived that manmade natural disaster. The meeting included showing a 45-minute preview of the film.
Greg Warren, Eastern Oklahoma State University dean of students, welcomed participants to the area. T.J. Martin, NRCS soil conservation technician, gave the invocation. Bill McCord, VFW No. 3649 post commander, gave the presentation of colors and led the pledge of allegiance. Callie Grey sang the national anthem.
Greg Scott, state soil scientist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, used a rainfall simulator to demonstrated benefits of the “no-till” farming method. Robert Toole, OCC Conservation Programs director, and Dennis Boney, OCC/CP watershed technician presented and explained equipment used in operation and maintenance of upstream flood control dams.
Area V winners of the OACD Conservation Awards were recognized who will be considered along entries from the other four areas of the state in the categories of Outstanding Conservation District, sponsored by Chesapeake Energy; and Outstanding District Director, sponsored by the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation; and Outstanding Landowner/Cooperator, sponsored by the Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma. The state winner will be recognized at the OACD State Meeting Feb. 24-26, 2013, in Midwest City. The Area V honorees were Hughes County Conservation District, Outstanding Conservation District; and Dale Jenkins, Hughes County Conservation District, Outstanding District Director.
Directors and staff of the Bryan Conservation District attended the meeting Area V Meeting. District Directors who attended included Jeff Brown, Keiller Haynie and Sam Smith. Conservation District staff members attending included Debbie Brewster and Mark Shepard. Local NRCS staff members from The Durant Field Office attended as well, including Valerie Hannon, District Conservationist.
The OACD Area Meetings include contests cosponsored by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation District Employees (OACDE) for youth in categories of speeches, essays and posters. Oklahoma Farmers Royalty Company sponsors awards for the OACD/OACDE Awards. First place winners in the essay and poster contests, as well as first and second place winners in the speech contest, are eligible to compete at the state level during OACD’s Annual State Meeting to be held Feb. 24-26, 2013, in Midwest City.
Tucker Jackson, 13, of Calera, competed in the Division I Speech contest and placed second.
Elaina Jackson, 17, of Calera, competed in the Division II Speech contest and placed second.