The Full Story
The National Conservation District Employees Association is organized on a regional basis. Each region has a Region Director along with a Region Director Alternate who provide information and outreach throughout their area. Region Directors can be called upon to speak at state employee organizations, assist with training and outreach, and collaborate with partners. They bring the perspectives of the states in their regions to the national conservation dicussion.
The Northeast Region includes New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia, Maryland, and the
District of Columbia. Mountain ranges, lakes, rolling hills, expansive crop land, and bustling cities
provide for a diverse backdrop to this region. Farmland in the Northeast is dominated by dairy farms
but also includes swine, poultry, produce, and cash crops. Reduced tillage, contour farming, and the
utilization of cover crops are commonly applied conservation practices to meet environmental and
sustainability goals. Producers in the Northeast are also utilizing their regions vast expanses of woodland
to meet goals through silvopasturing livestock, select timber harvest, and other forms of agroforestry.
Emergency stream intervention has played its role with the ever-changing weather patterns and the
ever-increasing occurrence of erosion and flood disasters. The states in this region have a vast array of
natural resources and provide habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna. Due to the urban and rural
diversity conservation district employees in the northeast work tirelessly to promote the best of both
worlds for the environment and the community.
Region Director: Jeff Parker
Region Alternate: Sandy Thompson
The South East Region consists of the 11 states and territories as follows: Alabama, Florida, Georgia,
Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Virgin
Islands. The landscape of the region changes significantly throughout, ranging from rolling hills, river
valleys, flat plateaus, forests, and mountains, to beaches, swamps, wetlands, and islands. A key feature
of the South East region is the Appalachian Mountain Range that extends through 7 of the 9 states.
Farms across the South East are primarily family owned and operated and the average size is 175 acres.
Ag production ranges from a wide array of livestock to row crops to an assortment of fruits, vegetables,
and specialty crops.
Across the South East region there are 910 counties represented by 658 conservation districts. Every
state/territory is similar in some programs and practices but there are vast differences as well. The
conservation district employees of the region are represented by the South East Conservation District
Employees Association Board (SECDEA) which was created in 1993. The board is made up of the elected
President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer, as well as the Immediate Past President, and one
representative from each member association. The mission and vision of SECDEA is to have a
professionally accepted and integrated team dedicated to the cause of conservation; and to promote
our natural resources through education and encourage professionalism of conservation district
Region Director: Kayleigh Evans
Region Alternate: Kelly Snoddy
The North Central Region, which includes Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio,
and Wisconsin, is home to the Mississippi River Basin, Ohio River Valley, and a majority of the US Corn
Belt. The North Central Region also encompasses a vast and diverse freshwater coastline along the
Great Lakes that includes six of the eight region states. Water quality and quantity, as well as soil
health, dominate the conservation efforts of the North Central Region. However, wildlife habitat,
invasive species management, timber stand improvement, and native species restoration are also
important resource concerns throughout the region. Conservation District employees work to engage
rural and urban landowners, agricultural producers, government officials, and those who are passionate
about conservation in seeking sustainable and economically viable solutions to producing food, fuel, and
fiber in conjunction with preserving our resources and increasing recreational opportunities.
Region Director: Eric Shideler
Region Alternate: Angela Warren
The South Central region is comprised of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Region Director: Coleta Bratten
Region Alternate: Open
The Northern Plains region - Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas boast diversity - from mountains to rolling prairies. The history and culture of the region highlight a legacy of conservation and agriculture. Cattle, wheat, sunflowers, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and potatoes can be seen across the region. Many producers have fully embraced diversifying their operations to include both cattle and crops or adding value added agriculture to their portfolios. Landowners and producers are dedicated to marrying conservation and production agriculture to create a sustainable model of land use for generations to come.
Region Director: Tami Moore
Region Alternate: Vacant
The Southwest Region States of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are known for their arid deserts, red rock landscapes, rugged mountains, vast forests and natural wonders like our many national parks. The diversity of people who live, work and play in the Southwest gives us a unique culture and history that continues to grow and thrive. Agriculture within the Southwest Region is as diverse as the people who call it home, from large scale production and cattle operations to small subsistence farms providing food at the international, national, state and local levels. Our rich agricultural past and present include native american and tribal agricultural practices and ancient traditions. The Southwest Region incorporates the heaviest amount of irrigation practices of any region, since the region is hot and dry, and the soil is generally not as conducive to plant growth as other areas of the country. Despite this, the Southwestern States suffer from water shortages and droughts despite these sophisticated irrigation systems. While the landscape has been more recently affected by drought and climate change, agriculture as a community is working to address opportunities and natural resource practices that are helping to mitigate these effects and continue to provide for the future of food sustainability. Conservation District employees in the Southwest Region are the conduit where natural resource concerns and conservation practices find their connections.
I have called the Southwest my home for 33 years, splitting my time in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado near the Four Corners Monument. While my background has been in finance and business management, my work with my local conservation district in Mancos, Colorado has been incredibly rewarding. Working with local producers, land managers and partners to create opportunities for the protection and restoration of our natural resources has become my passion. As the Southwest Regional Director, I am also passionate about my work with conservation district employees throughout this region. It is important to provide employee connection and professional development training that reflects the needs and challenges of the Southwest and opportunities that will better equip us in serving our clients and our landscape.
Region Director: Gretchen Rank
Region Alternate: Brenda Smythe
The Pacific Region encompasses 11 territories and states, including Alaska, American Samoa, California, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Palau, and Washington. There is a significant diversity in terrain, climate, population, and natural resources concerns among Pacific Region states and territories; however, there are overlapping areas of focus and work, including ongoing drought; forest health; fire planning and resiliency; invasive species; and sea level rise. Highlights of programs and projects in various stages of progress within Pacific Region address one or more of the above-referenced concerns and include local implementation of statewide collaborative forest health and catastrophic fire reduction work; ongoing multi-stakeholder coordination focused on population control of highly invasive and destructive axis deer present on multiple islands; identification and expansion of critical habitat supporting Coho salmon and other endangered fish and wildlife; and statewide district and association work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming and deliverables. Collectively, Pacific Region members have brought experience and expertise from implementation of individual programs and projects into a region-wide Strategic Plan, the successful implementation of which is projected to elevate capacity to address existing and plan for new resources concerns.
Region Director: Mandy Parkes
Region Alternate: Vicky Carter
The regional directors provide a conduit for the exchange of information from the local level up through the states and regions to the national level. They provide a field level perspective that is impactful to policy conversations.