Cass County Conservation District hosts annual meeting, elects board members

CASSOPOLIS — In the state of the art Pokagon Community Center, Cass County residents came together on Tuesday, for the Cass County Conservation District annual meeting. Cass residents were able to hear more about what the Conservation District has been up to in the last year with various efforts, projects and events.

Executive director of the CCCD, Korie Blyveis, began the evening by updating attendees on the “year of growth” for the district. CCCD has made significant strides in areas like advertising and social media use, and generally getting the name of CCCD out to the community more, according to Blyveis.

Nor Serocki of Van Buren Conservation District shared some of the fine details of CCCD’s social media use, as well as how many times CCCD had actually been present with communities. With the increased use of tools like Facebook and community events, CCCD has reached an estimated 2 million people in the last year.

During 2018, CCCD hosted 203 active presentations in homes, schools and other community spaces.

Erez Brandvain, the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program technician for CCCD, shared about his experience working with local farms, and bringing voluntary farmers up to MAEAP standards to decrease farm related pollution in the area. Brandvain was pleased to announce more Cass farming operations were MAEAP verified in 2018.

Serocki came back to the podium to inform attendees about the many opportunities CCCD took throughout the year to educate Cass residents about invasive species. Serocki is the invasive species coordinator for the SWxSW corner of Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas. She said the primary objectives of CISMA are monitoring, planning and outreach, meaning keeping track of local invasive species, making action plans to address the invasive species, and reaching out to the community to educate.

Educating the community was the resounding agreement during the evening’s several brief presentations. From soil erosion and sediment control, to invasive species and pollution, CCCD has been working to keep Cass County residents educated on their local environmental issues and risks in ways that are beneficial and sustainable.

“The conservation district is a steward of the land,” said Scott Wyman. “Protecting the environment, wildlife, water and a variety of things.”

Wyman is the parks director for Cass County, as well as the re-elected board member on Dec. 4. For Wyman, both of his positions work hand in hand. He has been part of the board for about 15 years, and has worked with the parks department for over 30 years.

Bernie Williamson was also elected to the CCCD board on Tuesday. She believes in the importance of being active with the conservation district either as an elected member, or voluntarily. Williamson hopes the CCCD will continue pushing more farmers to become MAEAP verified, as her own farm is.

“I recognize the challenges,” Williamson said about keeping residents educated. “If we can find a way to be more self-sustaining, and get the public to embrace the conservation effort, then they become our cheerleaders.”

For more information on the Cass County Conservation District, readers can visit cassccdistrict.org, or follow the Cass County Conservation District Facebook page.

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