Indiana Association of  
Soil and Water Conservation Districts

News from the IASWCD
For release: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Keynote speakers announced for 2014 conservation annual conference
Indianapolis --  One of natural resource education's most enthusiastic advocates will kick off the 2014 Annual Conference for Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts next month in Indianapolis. 
Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD) President Jeff Meinders announced Josh Seehorn as the keynote speaker for the first General Session on Monday, January 6, Josh Seehorn 2014, at 11 a.m. 
Seehorn, will be fresh off of his trek across the U.S. when he comes to Indianapolis next month to talk to 400 conservationists. He has walked across the U.S. to promote the North American Envirothon, a competitive learning event for high school-aged students that tests their knowledge of resources including soils, forestry, wildlife and current environmental issues. 
Officially partnering with Envirothon, Seehorn believes it is important to increase awareness about the field of natural resources and outdoor education. He serves as the coordinator for the 2014 North American Envirothon Competition to be held in Athens, GA, and is the vice-chair of the Georgia Envirothon. He also maintains certification as a wild land firefighter and serves with the U.S. Forest Service. Seehorn also hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011.


Sustainable agriculture production systems will be the focus of the second keynote address at the 71st Annual Convention. Rochelle Ripp Schnadt, communications specialist with the Wisconsin Discovery Farms, will highlight the exciting work the Discovery Farms is doing at the Welcome Luncheon on January 6 at 12 noon. 


The Farms' mission is to develop on-farm and related research to determine the economic and environmental effects of agricultural practices on a diverse group of Wisconsin farms. Ripp will discuss how their work determines the effects of environmental rules and regulations on the environment, farm profitability and farm management; and provides accurate information to producers, consumers, policy makers and agency personnel so positive steps can be made to protect both the environment and production agriculture.    


Tuesday's General Session on January 7 provides important tools to help any organization become more effective. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes are High is all about how to Get Unstuck with Best Practice Skills for High-Stakes Interactions. In short, when the stakes are high, opinions differ, and emotions run strong, the best individuals, teams and organizations speak up and encourage others to do the same, no matter the topic or sensitivity of the subject. They create an environment where people share their best ideas, make wise decisions and then act on those decisions with conviction. They speak persuasively, and not abrasively. 


Based on an award winning training program, Crucial Conversations, and the bestselling book by the same title, Justin Hale, will guide conference participants through the steps to master crucial conversations to achieve alignment, agreement and execution! Hale is a Master Certified Trainer at the Center of Trainer Development at VitalSmarts. He has a bachelor's degree in social psychology from Brigham Young University.

The complete 2014 Annual Conference program is online. This provides you with details of the 16 hands-on training sessions, tours and Wednesday session available by pre-registering.  


Onsite registration also will be available. Special hotel rates are available with the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown until December 21. 


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iaswcd logo

For more information contact:

DeeDee Sigler, Communications Manager
317-692-7374, ext. 303 

IASWCD Officers


President: Jeff Meinders


Vice President: 
Paul Cummings


Secretary: Jamie Scott 


Bobby Hettmansperger




North-NW: Jim Martin


South-NW: Mike Starkey


North-NE: Tom Crowe 


South-NE: Troy Hattery


North-SW: Les Zimmerman


South-SW: Jim Droege 


North-SE: Mike Schwab


South-SE: Brad Ponsler




Executive Director:

Jennifer Boyle Warner


Project Assistant: Liz Rice


Soil Health Program Manager: Lisa Holscher


Communications Manager: DeeDee Sigler

225 S. East St., Suite 740, Indpls, IN  46202 / 317.692.7325 / [email protected] / Facebook / Twitter