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The Effective District Conservationist Training - Part 1

Introduction

The District Conservationist (DC) is the front-line manager in NRCS. The DC is key to delivering the conservation results which American landowners and citizens depend upon.

The District Conservationist today needs to not only have strong technical skills, but also be a leader and grow leaders; be a manager to effectively direct workload efforts; be a strong collaborator with employees, partners and clients; and be a program manager of numerous NRCS technical and financial assistance programs.

NRCS is committed to your development as a conservationist, manager, supervisor and partner. The East Region Leadership endorsed the development of "The Effective District Conservationist Training" for new DCs. This is not technical training. We hope that DCs are able to obtain technical training from their states. The Effective DC Training is about gaining a solid footing in the agency strategic plan and our programs and partnerships; it is about learning key policies and procedures for field office management and personnel management, it is about operations management -- giving you, the DC, tools to manage with success.

The Effective District Conservationist Training will take place in two components: A distance learning component which you will begin now and a classroom component which will occur September 14-18, 2009, in Morgantown, WV.

The Distance Learning curriculum is self-paced. Some of the curriculum involves reading, responding to questions to test understanding, activities, and interviewing program managers and others.

Please coordinate with other class participants when scheduling interviews with program managers in order to save time, if possible. You are part of a class of 30 DCs or SCs. Do not hesitate to begin to create a network with your class peers to share ideas and tools.

You have been given the opportunity and time to round out your skills as a manager. Take advantage of the learning. Dig deeper in your areas of interest. Ask lots of questions to better understand the topics.

We have provided required reading as well as additional references, if you choose to learn more.

Good luck with the experience. Please complete the evaluations after each section. Since this is a pilot, your feedback is critically important to us.

The planning team would like to thank the East Region State Conservationists for their endorsement of this pilot. In addition, we would like to thank Montana and Colorado NRCS for conducting similar efforts in their states and for sharing their materials with us. We have developed materials and used materials from various sources. We hope that the learning experience is a productive one for the participants.

The following two documents require Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)

The Effective District Conservationist Training Kick-off Net Conference, May 6, 2009 (power point presentation in Adobe Acrobat Reader format)
Course Expectations (.pdf)

Documenting Training
Employee Development Plan

Distance Learning Agenda