Leadership Course

The Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts offers education modules that can be used to teach directors, associates and staff the basic operations of conservation districts. The VASWCD Training course was recognized by NACD as a District Official Training Program.

The intent of these modules is to have educational materials available on an on-going basis to conduct in-house training for example at your local SWCD board meeting. The modules may also be used as self-taught packages and may be especially useful when new conservation district officials are elected or new staff members are hired.

Training materials are broken down into the following NACD official training program categories:

Basic Knowledge

  • History of the Conservation Movement – Local, State & National
  • What is a Conservation District
  • Fiduciary Responsibilities
  • Legal Responsibilities
  • Roles & Responsibilities of Local, State & National Associations/Partners
  • Ethics

Basic Responsibilities

  • Understanding Local, State and Federal Laws, Rules & Regulations Related to Conservation Districts
  • Employee Training
  • Financial Training
  • Understanding State and National Resolutions Process
  • Awareness of All Available Conservation Programs
  • Legislative Process Training
  • Awareness of Proper Protocol in Conducting Public Meetings
  • Basic Operations
  • Election Process & Member Recruitment

Following a review of the training modules via an online course a leadership test can be taken through the VASWCD for a certificate of completion. Mini quizzes at the end of each module are for your own understanding of material. The final quiz will be submitted to the VASWCD for review and training certification.  The final quiz is a requirement of all new directors and completion of the final quiz will be shared with DCR to fulfil your requirement.

The purpose of the modules is to provide you with the resources you need to do your job, not to test what you can remember. The final quiz is the only way we have to track who has reviewed the module and has a basic understanding of pertinent SWCD information. Those completing and passing the Leadership test will be recognized at the VASWCD Annual Meeting.

A District Director Resource Manual with additional resources including Quick References, Full Guidebooks, Parliamentary Procedure/COIA/FOIA guidance, and other references and contacts can be found online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/document/2024-Director-Resources-Notebook-combined.pdf.

Use the NACD Official Training Program Checklist to track your progress in reviewing these leadership materials. Broader training resources, many examples from other states, are available to peruse and download from the National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA) website at www.nascanet.org.

Training materials are updated as needed to ensure relevance and timeliness.  To begin the leadership training course visit https://vaswcd.org/basic-knowledge-responsibilities.