Benefits of Membership
Benefits of Membership with the National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA)
NASCA concentrates on two primary areas of concern:
- Member services
- National conservation policy
NASCA focuses on these areas because they have been identified as priorities by our members. NASCA is not a consulting company, a trade group, or a marketing firm. It is an organization created by State Conservation Agency officials who saw the positive potential for collaboration across state lines.
Annual Meetings and Field Staff Sharing Sessions
NASCA provides an exceptional opportunity for State Agency officials to gather with their colleagues from all over the country and share ideas, innovation, strategies, and data. We also bring in some of the most cutting edge professionals in the business to share innovation and experience on a variety of conservation issues. This is such a valuable exercise that NASCA has worked to open up these interactions to our members’ field staff personnel in addition to the State Directors. Over the last five years we have provided special sessions at our Annual Meetings dedicated specifically for field staff personnel to “show and tell” their most innovative programs from all over the country.
Online Resource Library
These sessions have borne significant fruit as the presentations from each year are posted on our website and can be viewed and downloaded by anyone who has an interest. Our NASCA Resource Library has now over 350 documents with information on topics ranging from: district operations and accountability, to conservation district funding, to outreach and legislative funding.
Educational Seminar and Webinars
As important as our national and regional gatherings are, NASCA does not limit the opportunity for information exchange to only these venues. The association provides educational seminars and webinars throughout the year, also offering specialized training and presentations upon request. At times NASCA can find speakers for our members from nearby states that have a particular expertise in an area of interest. Or when this expertise is not readily available from within a region, staff or contractors can present on a variety of conservation delivery topics.
Although the organization spends considerable time and energy in providing formal training sessions around the country, NASCA recognizes the need for our members to get immediate answers to questions from their peers in other states. We therefore developed and maintain Ask NASCA, an online tool that allows our members to seek information from NASCA members all over the country with the touch of a button.
Another goal of our member services strategy is to provide tools that will help our members do a better job at their home agency. A good example is the District Official Training matrix developed by NASCA members and designed as a self-assessment tool for state conservation agencies to evaluate their district official training programs. The matrix allows each State to complete a thorough evaluation of its program in a matter of just a few hours. The NASCA website has numerous examples of successful training programs to help states improve those areas where a weakness has been detected.
National Conservation Policy
One way NASCA concentrates on national conservation policy is by representing its members at quarterly National Conservation Partnership meetings. There, NASCA’s elected officers and staff meet with their counterparts from NRCS, NACD, NCDEA, and NARC&DC. NASCA also has its own Farm Bill Committee and a member representative on NACD’s Farm Bill Task Force. NASCA’s Executive Director represents the association as a member of the DC-based 2012 Farm Bill Conservation Coalition, in addition to meeting with NACD and NRCS monthly to discuss conservation delivery issues.
NASCA conducts regular surveys of its members to provide a baseline reference for conservation delivery. Member State Conservation Agencies are provided these survey results to compare operations in their states with those of their peers around the country.
NASCA provides personalized training programs to states that request it. This training can include district official training programs, staff training programs, or training on specific issues of concern.
Promoting Locally-Led, Voluntary, Incentive-Based Conservation Delivery
In the face of greater calls for regulatory conservation mandates, NASCA is taking the lead in proving the effectiveness of locally-led, voluntary conservation. One example is the launching of www.whyconservationworks.com . NASCA has developed this website to demonstrate our partnership’s rich history of conservation successes and our ongoing efforts to protect and enhance natural resources on America’s working lands. Our partners are helping us to populate the site with some of the most successful conservation delivery stories from around the country.