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WACD recognizes individuals

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts and Wyoming Natural Resource Foundation held their annual awards luncheon ceremony on Dec. 7 during the Wyoming Natural Resource Rendezvous Convention and Trade Show in Casper.

“This program is designed to showcase the hard work of districts, partners, cooperators and all of those who make conservation and agriculture in Wyoming successful,” noted Kelly Crane, associate director for University of Wyoming Extension and Wyoming Natural Resource Foundation Board of Trustee member. 

Certification awards

To kick off the event, Crane recognized individuals who received District Employee Certification during 2022. 

“Each of these employees participated in training and successfully passed a written test on conservation district law, watershed improvement district law, district boundary reporting, records management, local government insurance, employment laws, nursery stock laws and subdivision reviews, among many other things,” Crane explained. 

Individuals awarded District Employee Certification included Bridget Helms of the Crook County Conservation District, Dawn Arnell of the Little Snake River Conservation District, Jessica Halverson of the Crook County Conservation District, Kelly Kudera of the Little Snake River Conservation District, Kirsten Becker of the Lower Wind River Conservation District, Natasha Dangler of the Laramie Rivers Conservation District, Kathy Sorenson of the Hot Springs County Conservation District, Cheyenne Love of the Campbell County Conservation District, Elise Rose of the Shoshone Conservation District and Traci Berg of the Sublette County Conservation District.

Next, awards were given for 2022 Water Quality Training Certification. 

“The WACD Water Quality Monitoring Training and Certification Program was established in 1998,” said Crane. “The goal of the training and certification program is to ensure district personnel are well trained to collect high-quality data meeting the credible data statute.” 

Crane noted requirements for certification include attending the Principles of Water Quality Training and Water Quality Monitoring and Analysis Trainings, receiving a score of 90 percent or better on a test given at the training, attending two sampling days with a water quality certified employee and passing a field audit. 

Individuals who received Water Quality Training Certification include Cheyenne Love of the Campbell County Conservation District, Jessica Halverson of the Crook County Conservation District, Melanie Purcell and Drew Keller of the Sublette County Conservation District, David Lee of the Teton Conservation District and Katie Lott of the Uinta County Conservation District.

Additionally, to maintain certification under the WACD Water Quality Training Program, employees conducting surface water sampling are required to attend a recertification training every four years and pass a field audit every four years, according to Crane. 

Individuals receiving recertification include Jeff Geyer of the Laramie County Conservation District, Steffen Cornell of the Meeteetse Conservation District, Dave Morneau of the Popo Agie Conservation District, Jackie Turner of the Sheridan County Conservation District, Mike Henn and Shari Meeks of the Sublette County Conservation District and Carrie Rogaczewski of the Sheridan County Conservation District.  

Outstanding annual
plans and reports

Following the certification awards, Crane honored the Sublette County Conservation District for receiving the Outstanding 2022-22 Annual Report and the Teton Conservation District for Honorable Mention. 

The Outstanding 2023-24 Annual Plan also went to the Sublette County Conservation District and the Weston County Natural Resource District received honorable mention. 

Poster and photo
contest winners

Next, Crane recognized five students from across the state of Wyoming as winners of the WACD poster contest. These individuals received a certificate and $100 cash prize.

Elena Eggleston of Uinta County was the kindergarten through first grade winner, and Oliver Dillree, also of Uinta County, was the winner in the second through third grade division.

Washakie County’s Brianna Cauffman was honored as the fourth through sixth grade division winner, while Abigail Ostrander of Converse County was honored as the winner of the seventh through ninth grade division. 

Anna Jo Short of Uinta County had the winning poster in the 10th through 12th grade division. 

Additionally, WACD recognized the winners of their 2022 photo contest. 

The winning Conservation Practices Photo was Anita Bartlett’s “Doe and Two Fawns.” Bartlett also won the Close-up Conservation Photo with her picture of a swallowtail butterfly.

The winning Conservation in Action Photo was awarded to Natasha Dangler for her photo “Befriending the Beaver,” and the winning Conservation and Agriculture Across America Photo was awarded to Lisa Ogden for her photo “Sunset on the Crop.”

Outstanding individuals 

Lastly, Crane called several other individuals to the front of the room to recognize them for their outstanding work in conservation and agriculture. 

The Teacher of the Year Award was given to Gretchen GasVoda Kelso of the South Big Horn Conservation District, Carol Hamilton of the Uinta County Conservation District was awarded Outstanding Cooperator, Converse County Weed and Pest Control’s Cheryl Schwartzkopf was awarded Outstanding Technician and Sheridan County Commissioner Terry Cram of the received honors as the Outstanding Elected Official. 

Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Conservationist Caleb Owens of the was honored as the Outstanding Conservationist of 2022, Jean Runner of the SER Conservation District was awarded Outstanding Employee and Sublette County Conservation District’s Coke Landers received the Darrell Walker Outstanding Supervisor Award. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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