WI Land+Water Hosts 65th Annual Conference and Land & Water Conservation Board Elections

Conference includes 40 conservation presentations and honors outstanding environmental stewards across Wisconsin

April 20, 2018 |

LAKE GENEVA – WI Land+Water hosted its 65th Annual Conference this past March 14-16th at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, WI. The conference brought together over 350 conservation professionals from various organizations across the state, including county Land Conservation Committee (LCC) Members and Land Conservation Department (LCD) staff, state and federal agency staff, and both nonprofit and industry representatives.

Over the three days, attendees had the opportunity to attend professional improvement breakout sessions, a silent auction, and multiple networking opportunities. Additionally, association members took part in the Land & Water Conservation Board (LWCB) elections, Area Association meetings, the Youth Education Committee’s Poster and Speaking Contest, and the annual business meeting. The association also awarded outstanding LCD staff and citizens that have made profound contributions to conservation in Wisconsin.

“This year’s annual conference was an exceptionally reinvigorating moment for our membership, partners, and the statewide conservation network to all convene and discuss the progress of resource management in Wisconsin,” said Executive Director Jim VandenBrook, WI Land+Water. “From the Food, Land and Water Project to new conservation farming practices, the breakout sessions gave our membership an abundance of new research, practices, and techniques that they can use to improve their programs in their counties. A big thank you to the conference’s presenters, sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers, and our staff for their hard work putting on the event.”

There were 40 conservation presentations throughout the eight breakout sessions, with a wide variety of topics. Many sessions offered Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) and Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for technical staff to maintain their job certifications and licenses, as well as obtain timely knowledge of best management practices in their fields.

WI Land+Water awarded individuals and families that have made extraordinary contributions in conservation across the state, during a lively banquet ceremony hosted by Wood County LWCD Program Coordinator Tracy Arnold and Marquette County LWCD Conservationist Patrick Kilbey. Recipients of the 2018 Conservation Awards are:

  • Nikki Larson, Lafayette County, Outstanding Conservation Employee – Administrative Assistant
  • Dan O’Connell, Portage County, Outstanding Conservation Employee – Technician/Educator
  • Greg Cleereman, Marinette County, Outstanding Conservation Employee – County Conservationist
  • Pat Koehnke, Friend of Conservation
  • John Eron, Eron Agronomics, Conservation Steward
  • The Yanke Family/Echo-Y Farms, Sauk County, Conservation Famers of the Year

The Yanke family will host the 2018 Conservation Observance Day on their farm in Sauk County. The celebration is scheduled for August 17, 2018 and will include tours and presentations on their farm.

The conference also held elections for three seats on the LWCB. Six candidates delivered speeches to the membership and counties casted their votes. The LWCB serves as an advisory board for the WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the WI Department of Natural Resources. The newly elected LWCB members are:

  • Brad Matson, Iron County Land Conservation Committee
  • Monte Osterman, Racine County Land Conservation Committee
  • David Solin, Langlade County Land Conservation Committee
  • Michael Hofberger, Calumet County P&Z/Land and Water Conservation Committee (alternate)

The Youth Education Committee hosted the 61st Annual Conservation Awareness Poster and Speaking Contests during the conference. For the speaking contest, students deliver topical speeches of their choice, and the winners perform their speeches during the opening luncheon. For the poster contest, student artwork is on display and voted on by our membership during the conference. Winners advance to the national competition.

WI Land+Water concluded the conference with the association’s annual business meeting, where counties voted on three resolutions. Those resolutions were approved by the membership and can be found here.

WI Land+Water would like to like to thank all the participants, sponsors, exhibitors, and agency partners for helping make our 65th Annual Conference possible. Please join us again next year, March 13-15, 2019 at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, WI.


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