SAN JUAN – This week, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) held the 2022 Summer Conservation Forum and Tours in conjunction with the NACD Southeast Region Meeting. Hosted in partnership with the Puerto Rico Association of Soil Conservation Districts, this summer’s meeting gathered conservation leaders from across the country and Caribbean to discuss natural resource concerns and innovative solutions. It included a Climate Smart Panel, a Partnership Roundtable, and keynote presentations from NASA, Para la Naturaleza, and NRCS Chief Terry Cosby.
NACD President Michael Crowder opened the meeting with his report to NACD’s Board of Directors, which is composed of representatives from each U.S. state and territory. He shared his experiences from his recent travels to the Pacific Islands Area, including Guam, Palau, and Saipan, as well as a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Reinvigorating districts within the island territories and supporting their conservation development has been a goal of President Crowder throughout his term in office.
President Crowder spoke about the reach of conservation districts, stretching nearly 10,000 miles from the Pacific Islands to the Caribbean, saying, “the sun literally never sets on conservation districts.”
“Now that we have those connections, I am positive we can keep the work going,” said CEO Jeremy Peters. “It doesn’t matter which state or island you’re in, conservation works.”
The meeting also provided the opportunity to hear from many great speakers from partners within the conservation delivery system and beyond. On Monday’s Conservation Breakfast attendees heard a presentation from Fernando Lloveras San Miguel, President of Para La Naturaleza. The agenda continued with the Conservation Forum, which included remarks from Dr. Bradley Doorn with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NRCS Chief Terry Cosby, and a panel of Caribbean Conservation Leaders. The panel included Puerto Rico Secretary of Agriculture Ramon Gonzalez Beiro, U.S. Virgin Islands Commissioner Positive T.A. Nelson, Dr. Anibal II Ruiz Lugo with the Extension of the College of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, and Mr. Stafford Crossman with University of the Virgin Islands School of Agriculture.
Throughout the meeting, attendees were able to hear from conservation leaders who shared their experiences addressing changing natural resource challenges in their regions. Keynote speakers, panelists, breakout session presenters, and board members addressed the importance of partnerships to delivering successful conservation now and in the future. NACD is excited to continue fostering these partnerships in the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, and across the continental United States.