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CONNECTING
NACD 78th Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
February 13, 2024
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COMMUNITIES
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING TO
DIVERSIFY PARTICIPATION
• State Agency Supporting Alabama’s
67 Soil & Water Conservation Districts
• Coordinates Federal & State Programs to
Conserve Alabama’s Natural Resources
• Secures the Cooperation and Financial
Assistance from Federal & State Partners
• Educates all Alabamians About the
Importance of Conservation
Ashley Henderson
Assistant Director, ALSWCC
Secretary, NASCA
Director, Alabama Stormwater Association
• AACDC - Administers
state’s Conservation
Incentive Program
Courtney Curenton-Baker
Outreach & Operations Manager, AACD
• Membership association representing Alabama's
67 Soil and Water Conservation Districts
• Provides training and support to Alabama's 335
District Supervisors
• Advocates for Districts, SWCC, and NRCS in the
state and federal legislatures
• Serves as the sponsoring agency for the
Alabama Envirothon program
Self-reflection
Who is missing from the table?
Build Bridges
Who in your network has a relationship
with or interest in reaching those who
are not at the table?​
Offer Assistance
Be a resource without expecting
anything in return. ​
Keep Your Word
Follow through to build trust.
Collaboration
Work toward projects with mutual
benefits and foster two-way learning.​
ABOUT WORKING WITH
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
PARTNERS
Three Partnership Stories
Walter
Hill
Dr. Walter Hill
"We are going to try to complete
the job that (George Washington
Carver) didn't quite finish. Getting
back to our people; those poor
farmers and families get a better
quality of life and at the same
time, improve the environment."
Notables
• Supervisor, Macon County Soil & Water
Conservation District
• Project Director, Center for Farming Systems, Rural
Prosperity and Environmental Stainability,
USDA/NIFA
• Retired Dean, College of Agriculture, Environment
and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University
• Professor, Plant and Soil Science, Tuskegee
University, 47 years
• Research Director, 35 years and Extension
Administrator, 17 years, Tuskegee University
• Founder, Carver Integrative Sustainability Cent
Tuskegee
University
• Private, historically black land-grant university in
Tuskegee, Alabama.
• Founded on Independence Day in 1881 by the
Alabama Legislature.
• The campus was designated as the Tuskegee
Institute National Historic Site by the National Park
Service in 1974.
• Home to a number of important African American
figures, including scientist George Washington
Carver and World War II's Tuskegee Airmen.
FRUITS OF THE
RELATIONSHIP
01 02
MOU signed for
diversification
of SWCD board
membership
03
Trust of small
farmer's
already
working with
Tuskegee
University
and access to
Tuskegee
Extension's
network
Opportunities
for SWCD's to
partner with
Tuskegee
University
MR. BILLY
SMITH
Billy Smith
“Just about everything we do is
dealing with the younger
generation. I’ve got a feeling that
you just can’t do enough with the
young people.”
(1938-2023)
Notables
•Member of Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Tribal
Council member for 18 years
•Reintroduced cultural activities to young people in
the tribe and was instrumental in starting the
annual Poarch Band of Creek Indians Pow Wow
•Advocated for the restoration of traditional
landscapes such as long leaf pine ecosystems
•Instrumental in the establishment of Magnolia
Branch Wildlife Reserve and Manager for 17 years
POARCH CREEK
INDIANS (PCI)
• The PCI are descendants of a segment of the
original creek nation that once covered
almost all of Alabama and Georgia.
• The reservation is located eight miles
northwest of Atmore, Alabama, in rural
Escambia County, about 57 miles east of
Mobile.
• The PCI are the only federally recognized
Indian tribe in the state of Alabama, operating
as a sovereign nation with their own system of
government and bylaws since 1984.
• The PCI are an active partner in the state of
Alabama, contributing to economic,
educational, social and cultural projects
benefiting both Tribal Members and residents
of local communities and neighboring towns.
Partnership
• Dr. Bill Puckett, Executive Director of the Alabama Soil
and Water Conservation Committee, met Mr. Billy
around 2009 and the two formed a fast friendship.
• Worked together on EWP projects at Magnolia Branch
Reserve.
• Hosted the inaugural Southeast American Indian
Workgroup’s American Indian Program Delivery
Initiative (AIPDI) meeting as an opportunity to
communicate, listen to each other’s needs, and
understand how to better serve the Tribes.
• Mr. Billy was selected as the first recipient of the AACD
Lifetime Partnership in Conservation Award aka “The
Billy Smith Partnership Award” for his decades of
service protecting and restoring natural resources and
his perseverance in teaching all ages about the
importance of these efforts.
MAGNOLIA BRANCH
• 4000-Acre Wildlife Preserve
• Success Story in Habitat Restoration
• Premier Resource for Conservation Education: Long Leaf, Quail, Pollinators, Gopher Tortoise, Box Turtle
• Result of Collaborative Partnerships
FRUITS OF THE
RELATIONSHIP
01 02
Feral Swine
Control
Program
Assistance
03
Encouraged
tribal members
to serve as a
SWCD
supervisor in
the county
where the tribal
lands are
located.
Keith Martin, Tribal
Council Member &
Chairman of the
Land and Natural
Resources
Committee Served
as AACD Keynote
speaker and
Presented This
Year’s “Billy Smith
Partnership”
Award
Andrew
Williams
Andrew Wiilams
“Understand the story of the land
and the story of the landowner. The
farmer already knows their farm,
and they already know what they
need. The key to it is to take what
the farmers say they need and try to
take USDA practices or some other
opportunity and marry those two
together. That’s how we help
farmers.”
Notables
• Retired NRCS (1975-2009)
• Marengo County SWCD Supervisor (2003-Present)
• Chairman, Marengo SWCD
• CEO, The United Christian Community Association
• Manager, Deep South Food Alliance
• 2022 AACD Supervisor of the Year
• Passionate Advocate of the Underserved
TUCCA
• Faith-based 501(c)(3)
organization in rural Taylor
Community, Marengo County,
Alabama
• Established in 1998 to foster
rural development by uniting
community churches
• Led by Andrew Williams, it aims
to address food security,
market access, and cultural
sustainability in Alabama's
Black Belt communities
The United Christian Community Association
GROW MARENGO
• Originated as a 4H project in 2016 at Amelia L. Johnson High School in rural Thomaston, Alabama
• Collaborative effort involving Marengo County Board of Education, Deep South Food, Alabama Cooperative
Extension, and Marengo County Soil and Water Conservation District
• Objective: Reconnect youth with agriculture through school gardens and lunchroom initiatives - “Plant to Plate”
FRUITS OF THE
PARTNERSHIP
Connecting Communities
01 02
Grow Marengo
Has Expanded
to 3 Additional
Counties With
More Interest
Throughout
the State
03
Advocacy for
Alabama’s
SWCDs at the
2023 NACD
Fly in
TUCCA
Instrumental
in Reaching
Small-Scale
Farmers for
Alabama
Irrigation
Initiative and
Upcoming
NACD
Fencing Grant
Don’t Assume You Know What
the Needs Are.
Avoid Using Acronyms and
“Conservation” Language
Remember Everyone’s
Experience is Different
Mistrust in Institutions is Real
and Deeply Felt in Some
Communities
Always Follow Through
WHEN DEVELOPING
CONSIDERATIONS
PARTNERSHIPS
OUR
NEXT
STEPS
Intentional
Relationship building with
new partners
Nurturing of existing
partnerships
Focus on filling the table
Thank You
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For Attention
ashley.henderson@swcc.alabama.gov
courtney@alconservationdistricts.org

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Connecting Communities: Relationship Building to Diversify Participation

  • 1. CONNECTING NACD 78th Annual Meeting San Diego, CA February 13, 2024 W W W . A l a b a m a S o i l a n d W a t e r . g o v COMMUNITIES RELATIONSHIP BUILDING TO DIVERSIFY PARTICIPATION
  • 2. • State Agency Supporting Alabama’s 67 Soil & Water Conservation Districts • Coordinates Federal & State Programs to Conserve Alabama’s Natural Resources • Secures the Cooperation and Financial Assistance from Federal & State Partners • Educates all Alabamians About the Importance of Conservation Ashley Henderson Assistant Director, ALSWCC Secretary, NASCA Director, Alabama Stormwater Association • AACDC - Administers state’s Conservation Incentive Program
  • 3. Courtney Curenton-Baker Outreach & Operations Manager, AACD • Membership association representing Alabama's 67 Soil and Water Conservation Districts • Provides training and support to Alabama's 335 District Supervisors • Advocates for Districts, SWCC, and NRCS in the state and federal legislatures • Serves as the sponsoring agency for the Alabama Envirothon program
  • 4. Self-reflection Who is missing from the table? Build Bridges Who in your network has a relationship with or interest in reaching those who are not at the table?​ Offer Assistance Be a resource without expecting anything in return. ​ Keep Your Word Follow through to build trust. Collaboration Work toward projects with mutual benefits and foster two-way learning.​ ABOUT WORKING WITH WHAT WE’VE LEARNED PARTNERS
  • 6. Walter Hill Dr. Walter Hill "We are going to try to complete the job that (George Washington Carver) didn't quite finish. Getting back to our people; those poor farmers and families get a better quality of life and at the same time, improve the environment."
  • 7. Notables • Supervisor, Macon County Soil & Water Conservation District • Project Director, Center for Farming Systems, Rural Prosperity and Environmental Stainability, USDA/NIFA • Retired Dean, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University • Professor, Plant and Soil Science, Tuskegee University, 47 years • Research Director, 35 years and Extension Administrator, 17 years, Tuskegee University • Founder, Carver Integrative Sustainability Cent
  • 8. Tuskegee University • Private, historically black land-grant university in Tuskegee, Alabama. • Founded on Independence Day in 1881 by the Alabama Legislature. • The campus was designated as the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site by the National Park Service in 1974. • Home to a number of important African American figures, including scientist George Washington Carver and World War II's Tuskegee Airmen.
  • 9. FRUITS OF THE RELATIONSHIP 01 02 MOU signed for diversification of SWCD board membership 03 Trust of small farmer's already working with Tuskegee University and access to Tuskegee Extension's network Opportunities for SWCD's to partner with Tuskegee University
  • 10. MR. BILLY SMITH Billy Smith “Just about everything we do is dealing with the younger generation. I’ve got a feeling that you just can’t do enough with the young people.” (1938-2023)
  • 11. Notables •Member of Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Tribal Council member for 18 years •Reintroduced cultural activities to young people in the tribe and was instrumental in starting the annual Poarch Band of Creek Indians Pow Wow •Advocated for the restoration of traditional landscapes such as long leaf pine ecosystems •Instrumental in the establishment of Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve and Manager for 17 years
  • 12. POARCH CREEK INDIANS (PCI) • The PCI are descendants of a segment of the original creek nation that once covered almost all of Alabama and Georgia. • The reservation is located eight miles northwest of Atmore, Alabama, in rural Escambia County, about 57 miles east of Mobile. • The PCI are the only federally recognized Indian tribe in the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with their own system of government and bylaws since 1984. • The PCI are an active partner in the state of Alabama, contributing to economic, educational, social and cultural projects benefiting both Tribal Members and residents of local communities and neighboring towns.
  • 13. Partnership • Dr. Bill Puckett, Executive Director of the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee, met Mr. Billy around 2009 and the two formed a fast friendship. • Worked together on EWP projects at Magnolia Branch Reserve. • Hosted the inaugural Southeast American Indian Workgroup’s American Indian Program Delivery Initiative (AIPDI) meeting as an opportunity to communicate, listen to each other’s needs, and understand how to better serve the Tribes. • Mr. Billy was selected as the first recipient of the AACD Lifetime Partnership in Conservation Award aka “The Billy Smith Partnership Award” for his decades of service protecting and restoring natural resources and his perseverance in teaching all ages about the importance of these efforts.
  • 14. MAGNOLIA BRANCH • 4000-Acre Wildlife Preserve • Success Story in Habitat Restoration • Premier Resource for Conservation Education: Long Leaf, Quail, Pollinators, Gopher Tortoise, Box Turtle • Result of Collaborative Partnerships
  • 15. FRUITS OF THE RELATIONSHIP 01 02 Feral Swine Control Program Assistance 03 Encouraged tribal members to serve as a SWCD supervisor in the county where the tribal lands are located. Keith Martin, Tribal Council Member & Chairman of the Land and Natural Resources Committee Served as AACD Keynote speaker and Presented This Year’s “Billy Smith Partnership” Award
  • 16. Andrew Williams Andrew Wiilams “Understand the story of the land and the story of the landowner. The farmer already knows their farm, and they already know what they need. The key to it is to take what the farmers say they need and try to take USDA practices or some other opportunity and marry those two together. That’s how we help farmers.”
  • 17. Notables • Retired NRCS (1975-2009) • Marengo County SWCD Supervisor (2003-Present) • Chairman, Marengo SWCD • CEO, The United Christian Community Association • Manager, Deep South Food Alliance • 2022 AACD Supervisor of the Year • Passionate Advocate of the Underserved
  • 18. TUCCA • Faith-based 501(c)(3) organization in rural Taylor Community, Marengo County, Alabama • Established in 1998 to foster rural development by uniting community churches • Led by Andrew Williams, it aims to address food security, market access, and cultural sustainability in Alabama's Black Belt communities The United Christian Community Association
  • 19. GROW MARENGO • Originated as a 4H project in 2016 at Amelia L. Johnson High School in rural Thomaston, Alabama • Collaborative effort involving Marengo County Board of Education, Deep South Food, Alabama Cooperative Extension, and Marengo County Soil and Water Conservation District • Objective: Reconnect youth with agriculture through school gardens and lunchroom initiatives - “Plant to Plate”
  • 20. FRUITS OF THE PARTNERSHIP Connecting Communities 01 02 Grow Marengo Has Expanded to 3 Additional Counties With More Interest Throughout the State 03 Advocacy for Alabama’s SWCDs at the 2023 NACD Fly in TUCCA Instrumental in Reaching Small-Scale Farmers for Alabama Irrigation Initiative and Upcoming NACD Fencing Grant
  • 21. Don’t Assume You Know What the Needs Are. Avoid Using Acronyms and “Conservation” Language Remember Everyone’s Experience is Different Mistrust in Institutions is Real and Deeply Felt in Some Communities Always Follow Through WHEN DEVELOPING CONSIDERATIONS PARTNERSHIPS
  • 22. OUR NEXT STEPS Intentional Relationship building with new partners Nurturing of existing partnerships Focus on filling the table

Editor's Notes

  1. August 2009 Issue