Join us at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, Michigan, October 28 – 30, 2019 for MACD’s Annual Fall Convention!
Thank you to our sponsors

Monday October 28



Closing the Deal with Rural Landowners:  Part 1- Landowners and Their Perspective | Parlor D  Learn the tricks of the trade from the most successful conservation field people. If you want rural landowners to say “yes” to conservation practices and easements, this course is for you. In this part, you will explore the demographics of rural landowners, and how they make decisions about conservation practices and easements.  Eric Eckl, Water Words that Work

SWCS Annual Meeting | Bellaire North  All are welcome to attend the annual business meeting, with voting limited to Chapter members. Activities of the Chapter, Executive Council and Committees will be discussed.  SWCS Leadership

District Business Workshop: District Operations Manual – Your Management Tool | Bellaire Center  The Operations Manual is THE resource for running CDs effectively. This session will provide Conservation District staff and board directors the opportunity to give feedback on the new draft of the operations manual.  John Switzer, MDARD and Regional Coordinators


Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) Mentoring | Bellaire South  This session sets aside time and space for Forestry Assistance Program mentors and mentees to get together to have meaningful conversation face-to-face. This is not a mandatory session. It provides an opportunity for foresters to get together and discuss local issues and opportunities.  Ben Schram, MDARD



Opening Lunch and Keynote Address: Tim Palmer, President of the National Association of Conservation | Parlor A/B/C   Hear from NACD President, Tim Palmer. Operating a 1,200-acre row crop and cow/calf to finish operation near Truro, Iowa, he has a long history with his local County Soil and Water Conservation District, the states’s conservation district association and at the national level with NACD.  No meal ticket required, lunch included in registration. 

Lunch sponsored by Crystal Flash

Keynote sponsored by GreenStone Farm Credit Services


Closing the Deal with Rural Landowners:Part 2- Landowners and Their Perspective | Parlor D  In this part, you will learn how to cultivate your personal reputation among landowners and help them reach a decision to pursue a conservation on their property.  Eric Eckl, Water Words that Work

Northern Hardwood Canopy Gap Dynamics | Bellaire North  A primer on northern hardwood gap management strategies, this session will discuss how forest biodiversity supports both sustainable forest management as well as ecosystem resilience and adaptability and what happens when traditional practices are no longer effective because of invasive species, market pressure and deer population impacts.  Evan Farinosi, MSU 

District Business Workshop: New Annual Meeting and Election Procedure | Bellaire Center  MDARD staff will review the new procedure for annual meeting and elections.  John Switzer, MDARD and Regional Coordinators


Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) Field Trip: Fruit Production and Organic Farming in Northern Michigan (Meet at the main conference center entrance) Take a tour of a local farm to discuss fruit production, organic farming, and the proper disposal of wash water and waste material in Northern Michigan.  Dan Busby, MAEAP


District Director Roundtable | Parlor C  MACD leadership will lead a conversation with Conservation District board members from across Michigan. This open facilitated discussion will provide the opportunity for directors to ask questions and discuss issues of importance.  MACD Leadership

Closing the Deal with Rural Landowners: Part 3-Persistence Pays — and So Customer Service | Parlor D  In this session, we explore how top field staff provide good customer service while managing an ever-expanding workload.  Eric Eckl, Water Words that Work

Forestry Assistance Program Roundtable | Bellaire North  A facilitated forum for foresters, district managers, board members, and MDARD staff to share ideas and address concerns that are affecting local programs. The group will also share updates on the Forestry Assistance Program, including reporting, future trainings, and the general status of the program.  Facilitator: Ben Schram, MDARD

Farm Bill Biologist Roundtable | Bellaire South  Farm Bill Biologists, district managers, board members, and DNR staff will gather to discuss program details, ideas and concerns. 

District Manager Roundtable | Bellaire Center  Join CDEM Leadership for a meet and greet with managers from Conservation Districts across Michigan. This session will include facilitated conversations, to provide you the opportunity to get your questions answered and the good ideas flowing for you to take back home and put into action.


MACD Region Meetings  MACD regional meetings will be held to discuss region business and resolutions coming before the membership at the MACD Annual Meeting. Region officer elections for Regions 2,4,6,8 and 10 will also take place. 

Region 1 and 2  |  Parlor A

Region 8  |  Parlor B

Region 9  |  Parlor C

Region 3  |  Parlor D/E

Region 10  |  Parlor F/G

Region 4  |  Fireside Parlor

Region 5  |  Bellaire North

Region 6  |  Bellaire Center

Region 7  |  Bellaire South


Conservation Partnership – Opening Reception | Parlor A/B  Catch up with your friends and colleagues at the Conservation Partnership Opening Night Reception, with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar provided. No Ticket Required


First Annual Envirothon Fall Grub & Pub (Shuttle leaves from conference center entrance)  Join us for dinner at the Pelican’s Nest followed by a trip to Bee Well Mead & Cider in Downtown Bellaire. For more information see ad on page 19. Ticket Required – See Angela Sandusky

Tuesday October 29


Breakfast | Parlor A/B  (ticket purchase required)


MACD Annual Meeting | Parlor C  The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting is the annual business meeting of the Association. In addition to general business, officer elections, policy resolutions and bylaw amendments will be brought before the Assembly.

MAEAP Update and Standard Changes | Parlor D   Learn about MAEAP program updates, announcements, communication efforts, and updates to the FY 20 MAEAP Standards.  Joe Kelpinski; Meredith Smith; Josh Appleby

CISMA Roundtable | Bellaire North  An open forum to ask question and discuss issues regarding Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas. What’s working for your District? What needs improvement? A great opportunity to share successful initiatives with other CDs. Joanne Foreman, MDNR

Critical Dunes Roundtable | Bellaire Center  Districts engaged in Vegetative Removal Assurance for Critical Dunes are encouraged to gather to discuss their activities and how together they can build a network of sharing and partnership to advance their local programs.

QuickBooks for Beginners | Bellaire South  Learn the basics of QuickBooks and get your questions answered!  This session is facilitated by a Conservation District Manager with an Accounting degree. Learn best practices for using QuickBooks while meeting the requirements of your grants.  Aprille Williamson, Alpena Montmorency CD; Dan Smith, CPA; Kathy Heinz, CPA


Hardwood Regeneration Field Trip  This field trip will showcase results from the MSU Silviculture Laboratory northern hardwood gap research study, highlighting the challenges faced by invasive species, market pressures and deer populations and the impacts on how northern hardwood forests develop and grow. Tour Guide: Evan Farinosi

Transporation sponsored by Lake States Lumber Assoc. Inc. 

CTAI Field Trip  Spend the morning traveling to several area farms to review installed conservation practices and discuss site specific challenges encountered during the design and construction. Tour Guides: Jeff Fewless, Wexford CD and Ken Parsons, Alpena-Montmorency CD


MACD Annual Meeting | Parlor Ccontinued

MAEAP Emerging Topics | Parlor D   Learn more about how the Farm Bureau Insurance discount works with MAEAP, the DITCH effort with The Nature Conservancy and local drain commissioners and provide input into statewide agriculture plastic recycling efforts.  Emily Reinart, Michigan Farm Bureau

Produce Safety Roundtable | Bellaire North  A forum for Produce Safety Technicians, MSU Extension, Conservation Districts and MDARD staff to share ideas and address concerns that are affecting the program.

MISGP Story Map | Bellaire Center  Find out about the recently released Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program Story Map and how you can use it to showcase CISMA projects for your local audiences. Also, catch up on the latest information about invasive species in Michigan.  Joanne Foreman, MDNR

QuickBooks for Intermediate Users | Bellaire South  An interactive session for anyone looking to learn about QuickBooks. Topics will include tracking multi-year funding, petty cash, preparing financials for board review, payroll basics, and direct deposit. Bring your laptop to follow along.  Aprille Williamson, Alpena Montmorency CD; Dan Smith, CPA; Kathy Heinz, CPA


MACD Annual Meeting | Parlor Ccontinued

CISMA and MAEAP: Cross the Gap to Protect Growers | Parlor D  With CISMA’s covering every county in Michigan, they can be a help to growers and MAEAP Technicians in better understanding the ways that invasive species impact our farms, fields, and woodlots. Kyle and Eleanor will cover a number of ways that their two programs can help each other and start the conversation of what CISMAs can do for MAEAP. Eleanor Serocki and Kyle Mead, Van Buren CD

Produce Safety Round Table | Bellaire Northcontinued  

Enhancing Water Resource Management – New Discoveries and Opportunities | Bellaire Center  In recent years, a large team of researchers, community planners, and stakeholders came together to address groundwater availability and salinity concerns in Ottawa County, Michigan. The team worked together to compile the data/knowledge needed to develop computer-generated models that could provide a sound scientific understanding of the environmental issues, and the implications for long-term sustainability. The new insights gained from this collaborative investigation are now being used for township and county-level water resource management. Importantly, much of the data is available across the State, and thus, this integrated approach can be applied elsewhere in Michigan. Dr. Zachary Curtis, Hydrosimulatics Inc. and Paul Sachs, Ottawa County Planning Department

QuickBooks for Advanced Users | Bellaire South  An interactive session for advanced users of QuickBooks. Topics will include payroll, journal vouchers, credit card sales, and preparing for a GAAS audit. Bring your laptop to follow along. Aprille Williamson, Alpena Montmorency CD; Dan Smith, CPA; Kathy Heinz, CPA


Lunch and Conservation District Employees of Michigan Meeting and Awards | Parlor A/B/C  Enjoy lunch, celebrate employee achievement awards while learning more about CDEM. Winners of the annual poster contest will also be announced. CDEM Officers


Construction Inspection – The Basics | Parlor E   Overview of common items related to construction inspection on farm related to NRCS practice standards. Dan Vasher, NRCS

Hemp Production in Michigan | Parlor F  After 80 years of federal prohibition, industrial hemp production is now legal across the country. Gina will provide an overview of MDARD’s developing Industrial Hemp Program and discuss some of the challenges the industrial hemp industry is facing.  Gina Alessandri, MDARD

Best Practices for Accepting Gifts of Land and Easements | Bellaire North  Has your District been approached by a landowner who would like to bequeath you land or a conservation easement?  Learn the BMPs of accepting such a gift, including due diligence prior to and the responsibilities of accepting an easement.  Chris Sullivan, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

Conservation District State Funding – What’s Next? | Bellaire Center  Hear from MACD and partners on the status of the Conservation District Pilot funding. This session will discuss the current state of funding and FY2020 advocacy plan activities.  Lori Phalen, MACD; Deena Bosworth and Michael Ruddock, MAC

Agriculture Conservation Planning Framework | Bellaire South  Learn about the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), in conjunction with other inventory techniques, that together identify potential locations for agricultural best management practices (BMP). This series of tools in the ArcMap environment capitalize on high resolution LiDAR data. Specific crop field data is collected and used along with the ACPF data to prioritize crop fields for BMP implementation. In addition, all livestock operations within the watershed are located and evaluated for potential water quality impacts.  Thad Cleary, Peter Vincent and Rob Selesky, EGLE 

Tuesday October 29 continued


Monitoring Invasive Species with CISMAs Field Trip  (Meet at main entrance to the conference center)  Come learn about invasive species detection and management on an afternoon field trip to Antrim Creek Natural Area! We will be discussing why control efforts matter, how to monitor for watchlist species such as Hemlock woolly adelgid, and the role that CISMAs perform in response to these important issues.  Tour Guide: Benjamin VanDyke, CAKE CISMA


How to be a Great Legislative Advocate for Your Cause | Parlor C  Legislative advocacy is, in today’s political climate, more necessary now than at any other time, especially for local units of government. The battle for dollars and control of revenue will be fierce this year, next year, and the year after. It is essential that we learn about the legislative process, understand your issues and form relationships with your legislators.  Tom Casperson; Deena Bosworth and Michael Ruddock, MAC

Construction Inspection – The Deep Dive | Parlor E  A continuation of the basics. A more in depth look at common construction related issues on farms related to NRCS practice standards.  Dan Vasher, NRCS

Overview of the Produce Safety Program | Parlor F  Produce farm inspections have begun! Learn more about the new federal Produce Safety Rule, how Michigan is implementing the rule, as well as how inspections are going across the state.  Kristin Esch and Brent Kreiger, MDARD

Farmers Taking Action to Protect Water Quality in Western Lake Erie Basin | Bellaire North  Farmers are their own best advocates and organizing and facilitating those efforts have been a priority in the River Raisin Watershed – Lenawee, Monroe, Washtenaw, Jackson and Hillsdale counties. Since 2015 the River Raisin Watershed Council has led a Farmer Advisory/Farmer-Led Group to partner with the local CD’s to bring together information, research and grants to help the farming community. These efforts have helped engage farmers and encourage the development of strategies to address nutrient loadings in Lake Erie. The recent and continuing partnership with the ERB Family Foundation has accelerated these efforts and has resulted in increased participation in MAEAP, reductions of nutrient loadings and many other positive outcomes.  Steve May, RRWC; Bob Platt, Farmer Leader; Lindsay Garrison, Lenawee CD; Andrea Stay, MDARD

Exploring Our New Website – MACD 2.0 | Bellaire Center  Web designer Ella Swift Redding walks through the fresh resources available with MACD’s new member-oriented website and login portal. Discover how to join topic forums, search the new directory, register for workshops, post job listings, add new staff members, and so much more. Q&A to follow.  Ella Swift Redding, Burly Mermaid

Smart Management of Microplastic Pollution in the Great Lakes | Bellaire South  The Smart Management of Microplastic Pollution in the Great Lakes project is addressing the immediate need to reduce microplastic pollution in the Great Lakes ecosystem through technology development and a targeted outreach and mitigation campaign. Attend this session to learn about the novel sensing technology that is under development to enable quantification and characterization of microplastics in water and how this project is deploying these sensors in two pilot testing sites, one in Ingham County and one in Oakland County to monitor microplastic inputs from different pollution sources.  Michelle Beloskur, Ingham CD


Web-based Mapping Analysis Tools to Assist with Conservation Assessment and Planning Support. Learning, Using and Sharing | Parlor C  Web-based Mapping Tools are a wonderful resource to help farmers and landowners assess their property, identify environmental concerns, and provide aide and support in conservation planning. These tools provide instantaneous feedback, are dynamic, and have the potential to be a great asset to field office staff.  Dr. Zachary Curtis, MSU; Katie L. Droscha, Kent CD

How to Work with CSP (CSP to Verification) | Parlor E  Explore opportunity for MAEAP/CTAI collaboration on CSP practice implementation as it relates to MAEAP verification.  Abby Smith, NRCS; CD Technicians

Leveraging the Michigan on Farm Produce Safety Program for Environmental Risk Reductions | Parlor F  Learn about strategies to leverage the Michigan On Farm Produce Safety Program for environmental risk reductions and natural resources conservation on farms. This session will explore overlapping practices between MAEAP and the MI Produce Safety Produce Safety Risk Assessment while highlighting applicable NRCS EQIP cost share opportunities to enhance on farm technical assistance and voluntary regulatory compliance.  Jen Silveri, MIFFS

Advanced Grant Writing | Bellaire North  This session will address how to ask for and report indirect, fringes and match. Learn how to increase pay and benefits for grant employees and close out grants. Also, learn techniques to help your board understand how indirect, fringes and match impact your Districts budget.  Megan Boos, Ottawa CD; Katie Griezack, Grand Traverse CD; Sarah Nelson, Barry CD

Understanding County Government | Bellaire Center  The duties and responsibility of a county official are many; and complex. This session ventures through the nuts and bolts of county government and the responsibilities therein. From courts and jails, to healthcare, to infrastructure, and much more. A strong understanding of the scope of work that your county does will make it easier to have a relationship with your county’s board of commissioners! Learn about their challenges and how your District can provide expertise and program delivery to help your county address the needs of your community.  Michael Ruddock, MAC; Christian Marcus, Antrim County Commissioner; Rory Mattson, Delta CD

Solar Arrays and Pollinators | Bellaire South  Dramatic decreases in the costs of solar and demand for clean energy have stemmed a large interest in commercial solar arrays.  Learn how to utilize county regulations and state score cards to drive better habitat and learn about aesthetically pleasing seed mixes that provide quality habitat for pollinators and other wildlife while still meeting management objectives of energy companies.  Aaron K. Kuehl, Pheasants Forever


Banquet Reception, Banquet and Awards | Parlor A/B/C  Relax after a busy day with friends and colleagues at the banquet reception. Enjoy a great meal and celebrate the accomplishments of your colleagues during the Awards Program. Cash bar provided.

Wednesday October 30


Breakfast | Parlor A/B/C  (Meal ticket required)


Helping Conservation Districts Manage Human Resources | Parlor C  It is important for Conservation Districts to operate in accordance with laws related to human resources. During this session you will get a basic understanding human resources needs and the applicable laws.  Kris Hynes, MACD HR Consultant

CTAI’s as District Employees – Managing the Partnership | Parlor E  Explore the roles and responsibilities of each partner in the CTAI agreement and learn how this partnership works together toward a common goal. Laura Doud, MDARD

MAEAP Roundtable | Parlor F  Meet up with your MAEAP colleagues to discuss your local successes, struggles, and ask each other and MDARD staff questions.  Andrea Stay, MDARD

Writing Wildlife Habitat Management Plans: Why & How | Bellaire North  Developing effective wildlife habitat management plans is a critical component of assisting landowners establish habitat on their lands. A well written plan ensures landowner goals are met and provides guidance to ensure successful implementation of restoration activities. This interactive session will engage participants in the plan writing process, including working in small groups to develop and present a management plan. Mike Parker, MDNR

Impacts of Invasive Earthworms on Northern Hardwood Forests| Bellaire Center  Sugar maples are prized as much for their valuable lumber as for their sugary sap and dazzling fall colors. Recently, foresters have noticed that the crowns of big trees appear unhealthy and a change in the forest floor. While they may seem as American as maple syrup, no earthworms—including the nightcrawler—are native to the Upper Midwest (Michigan Tech News). Dr. Bal discusses her research on invasive earthworm ecology and potential impacts to northern hardwood forests.  Dr. Tara Bal, Michigan Technological University

Successful CD Projects | Bellaire South  Learn about the innovative projects of your fellow Conservation Districts and how you can implement them at home.  Projects include the Segmented Reality Sandbox, the Mill Pond Park Shoreline Project and Conservation Kids Nature Camp.  Jordan Beehler, Branch CD; Renee Penny, Kalkaska CD; McKenzie Fox, Antrim CD


The Ins and Outs of Human Resource Policies | Parlor C  Building off the Helping Conservation Districts Manage Human Resources session, come learn about what you need to include in a personnel policy and practice.  Kris Hynes, MACD HR Consultant

CTAI Update and Roundtable | Parlor E  Get the latest update on the grant and have the opportunity to discuss work issues.  Laura Doud, MDARD; Mitch Reed

MAEAP Grazing Discussion| Parlor F  Join us for this session to learn more about grazing and working with producers through MAEAP.  Rob Malcomnson, Lapeer CD

Nutrient Inputs Review | Bellaire Foyer  We will take time to talk through a variety of examples of soil tests, manure tests, and an overview of nutrient management calculations and shortcut/resources. Tom Wert, Shiawassee CD

Writing Wildlife Habitat Management Plans: Why & How | Bellaire Northcontinued

Deer Impacts on Hardwood Regeneration | Bellaire Center  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recognized that standard selection silviculture in northern hardwood forests of Michigan was not resulting in adequate regeneration. Causes for regeneration challenges are thought to include the cumulative effects of herbivory (primarily by deer), a long selection harvest legacy, insect and disease outbreaks, and climate change. The Applied Forest and Wildlife Ecology Laboratory has implemented a large experiment to evaluate alternative silvicultural approaches for improving regeneration success of northern hardwood forests.  Dr. Gary Roloff, Michigan State University

Native Alternatives to Common Non-Native Species | Bellaire South  Join native plant enthusiast Heidi Shaffer for a tour of the many excellent native alternatives to the common non-native species used in habitat and landscape plantings. Heidi Shaffer, Antrim CD


Human Resources – What Are Your Challenging HR Issues: Let’s Discuss Possible Solutions! | Parlor C  What human resource issues, questions and concerns keep you up at night? This session will provide an opportunity to discuss and get solutions to your human resource issues and questions.  Kris Hynes, MACD HR Consultant

CTAI Database – Making Reports, CSP Input and More! | Parlor E  Customized board report – roundtable discussion on common reports and future needs. Learn tips and tricks for inputting CStP data and other consistency related issues.  Laura Doud, MDARD

Nutrient Management Group Practice | Parlor F  This session will provide an in-depth nutrient management practice session. We will go through an example together, then have time in small groups to practice. This will provide technicians with ability to review farmer records and compare to yield. Tom Wert, Shiawassee CD

Roundtable for Nutrient Management Plan Writers/MAEAP Grant Level 3 Technicians | Bellaire Foyer This roundtable will be an opportunity to discuss on-farm experiences and questions that arise, moderated by a MAEAP verifier.  Shelby Burlew, MDARD

DNR Habitat Grants | Bellaire North  DNR Wildlife Habitat Grants annually provides nearly $1 million in grants to partners to implement wildlife habitat projects. This session will address program background and goals, as well providing tips and tricks to submit a successful application.  Clay Buchanan and Mike Parker, MDNR

Even-Aged Management of Northern Hardwoods | Bellaire Center  Decades of thinning and selection system silviculture combined with a variety of other factors have led to local and regional challenges in the regeneration of northern hardwoods. Because this type can include mesic conifers and mid-tolerant hardwoods, regeneration of appropriate density and composition can be difficult. In this session, we will explore even-aged silvicultural methods for northern hardwoods that can lead to better regeneration success and diversity.  Jim Schmierer, Michigan Technological University

Vegetation Assurances for Projects in Critical Dune Areas | Bellaire South  Michigan has approximately 225,000 acres of coastal dunes. Home sites along the coast are highly valued and much sought after. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is charged with regulating development in designated Critical Dune Areas encompassing 74,000 acres of public and private land. Vegetation assurances are one piece of the application package required for permit review according to the law. Conservation districts have historically written the vegetation assurances and they still can!  Kate Lederle, EGLE


Conference Concludes

*topics and speakers are subject to change


QuickBooks one-on-one appointments are full.