District Training Materials

District Official Training Program

Category 1 – History of the Conservation Movement – Local, State, and National 

This training includes:

  • Dust Bowl Era
  • Hugh Hamond Bennett
  • Soil Erosion Service Formation
  • Conservation Districts Origins – need for local input for conservation work
  • Standard Conservation District Law
  • Overview of State Conservation District Law formation
  • Local conservation district formation & history
  • Conservation District values
  • Current information about districts (in state)

History of the Conservation Movement

Category 2 – What is a Conservation District?

This training includes:

  • Conservation district purpose & function
  • Legal definition in district law
  • District as government entity
  • Board member qualifications
  • Overview of board member responsibilities & duties in policy development, planning, governance, district operations, officers & responsibilities, personnel management

What is a Conservation District

Category 3 – Fiduciary Responsibilities

This training includes:

  • Fiduciary duties of district board members
  • Available funding mechanisms
  • Financial policies and procedures
  • Budgeting & allocating resources
  • Audit requirements
  • Importance of financial planning
  • Internal controls

Financial Training Overview

Fiduciary Duties

Financial Planning

Available Funding Mechanisms

Funding Mechanisms – ASLD

Funding Mechanisms – Arizona Conservation Partnership

Budgeting & Allocating

Audits & Reporting

Financial Policies & Procedures

Category 4 – Legal Responsibilities

This training includes:

  • Powers & authorities of conservation districts
  • Powers & authorities of board members
  • Legal responsibilities of a public offical
  • Assessing resource needs
  • Developing long range and annual plans
  • Policy development & recommended policies
  • District Liability
  • Comply with local, state & federal laws, rules and regulations
  • Non- discriminatory statements and policies (ex: sexual harassment)

Arizona Conservation District Authorities

Local Work Group Responsibilites

Category 5 – Roles and Responsibilities of Local, State and National Associations and Partners

This training includes:

  • Importance of forming partnerships for district program delivery
  • Partnership development & group dynamics
  • State association history and structure
  • Area & regional associations history & structure
  • National association history and structure
  • Functions of an association
  • Specific programs offered by local, state and national associations
  • NRCS history, structure & responsibilities
  • State conservation agency history, structure, position, and responsibilities
  • Mutual Agreement between district, USDA and Governor
  • Cooperative Agreements
  • Other State Agencies structure & potential partner opportunities
  • Other Federal agencies structure & potential partner opportunities
  • Local agencies structure & potential partner opporunities
  • Other partner organizations history, structure & responsibilities (non-government)
  • Memorandums of Understanding and other agreement with specifics about roles and responsibilities
  • Acronym listing of existing partnerships
  • Examples of successful partnerships
  • Locally Led


The Arizona Conservation Partnership

District Mutual, Cooperative Agreements

District Cooperators

Category 6 – Ethics

This training Includes:

  • Oath of Office
  • Abuse of position
  • Employee/ supervisor relationships
  • Acceptance of gifts
  • Conflict of interest
  • Diversity
  • Nepotism
  • Confidentially

Category 7 – Understand Local, State and Federal Laws, Rules and Regulations Related to CD

This training includes:

  • Overview of local state and federal laws, rules & regulations related to the districts
  • State Conservation District Law
  • State & Federal Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA) & compliance procedure
  • Other state public records acts & compliance procedure
  • State open public meetings act
  • State & Federal ethics acts
  • USDA requirements for shared office space

Arizona Open Meeting Law-101

Arizona Public Records Law booklet

Category 8 – Employee Training

This training includes:

  • Implement policies and activities as approved by board
  • District personnel policies
  • District organizational structure including who reports to whom
  • Role of district board members, manager, staff
  • Advice board on issues, projects, budgets and other matters
  • Reporting to the board, residents, and partners about district activities & programs
  • Development of training plans
  • Training, certification and mentoring opportunities for district employees
  • Working with partners agencies & organizations
  • USDA requirements (if shared office location)

Category 9 – Financial Training

This training includes:

Category 10 – Understanding State and National Resolutions Process

This training includes:

  • Developing a district policy positions & resolutions
  • Flowchart of resolution approval – district area, to state and national
  • Determining the appropriate level of influence for the proposed resolution

Category 11 – Awareness of All Available Conservation Programs

This training includes:

  • Awareness of natural resource needs
  • Example of conservation management
  • Promoting the ethic of resource stewardship
  • Coordination with federal, state and local entities for program delivery
  • Education activities
  • Review of available federal, state, local and private conservation programs
  • Examples of successful programs
  • Acronym listing
  • Cooperator agreement
  • Conservation planning

Available Conservation Programs and Funding

Category 12 – Legislative Process Training

This training includes:

  • Effective legislative relations
  • Techniques for communicating effectively, credibly & building trust with elected officials
  • State and federal bills & budget passage flow chart
  • Lobbying restrictions for board members & staff
  • Role of associations in legislative relations & lobbying

How a Bill Become Law

Operating in a Small Board – Al Gage 

Category 13 – Awareness of Proper Protocol in Conducting Public Meetings

This training includes:

  • State open public meetings act requirements & compliance
  • Conducting effective board meetings
  • Decision making
  • Executive and/ or closed session rules & regulations
  • Public hearings

Arizona Open Meeting Law-101

Arizona Public Records Law booklet

Category 14 – Basic Operations

This training includes:

  • Assessment of local natural resource conservation needs & issues
  • Techniques for evaluating district program effectiveness
  • Stakeholder input to planning
  • Importance of long range & annual planning, budgeting money & workload
  • Establish goals through strategic, long range, and annual planning
  • Establish operations policies and procedures
  • Implement a personnel management system
  • Development of reports
  • Contracting & bidding
  • Agreements with other netities
  •  Overal district operations
  • Leadership skills
  • Media relations & public outreach

Category 15 – Election Process and Board Member Recruitment

This training includes:

  • Characteristics of successful district board members
  • Analyzing the needs in district and desirable qualities and needed skills for board member recruitment
  • Board member recruitment techniques
  • Creating a more diverse board representative of those served
  • Board member election and/ or appointment process, procedures, forms and deadlines
  • Orientation systems for new board members
  • Board member removal