BARTLESVILLE – Leaders in conservation gathered at the Area 3 Meeting of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts held in Bartlesville on Nov. 7. Caney Valley 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).

The program included a Farm Bill 2018 Outlook with Congressman Frank Lucas’s Field Representative, Kirby Smith, an announcement of new federal funding opportunities for watershed projects, an educational session about feral hogs by Josh Gaskamp of the Noble Research Institute, and an interactive session on new tools to assess the health of your soil.

Conservation District directors and employees including Sandra Drummond and Shirley Hudson talked about what makes a good board member for a local district and educated the attendees about the process of electing and appointing conservation district directors. Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist, Gary O’Neill, presented new information about 2018 program funding and current staffing levels across the state.

Area winners of the OACD Conservation Awards included Ottawa County Conservation District for Outstanding Conservation District, sponsored by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts. The state winner will be recognized at the 80th Annual OACD State Meeting February 25, 26, and 27 at the Embassy Suites Downtown in Oklahoma City.

Directors and staff of the Ottawa County Conservation District attendeding the Area 3 Meeting were Gerald Grimes, Director, Shirley Hudson, Secretary and Steven Davied, 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. 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.

Tyler Ferris, Afton High School, competed in the Division I Speech Contest and finished in second place. Ottawa County Poster contest winners included: Diya Patel, First Place, Division IV; Aislynn Stephens, First Place, Division V; Jasmin Bravo, Second Place, Division VI, Gavin Kihenia, First Place, Division VIII, Hailie Wood, Second Place, Division X; and Hayley Holloran, Second Place, Division XI.