Published On: Wed, Jul 6th, 2011

RC&D forges ahead without govt. support

PLAINVIEW — Council members for the Northeast Nebraska Resource Conservation and Development (NNRC&D) are hoping to gain momentum and move ahead with a positive attitude even though they lost over $100,000 in federal funding for the next budget period.

RC&D Councils are involved in projects that improve natural resources, recreation, tourism, education and economic and community development in rural Nebraska.
“We are not planning to quit. We need to get the message out – we are still in business,” said Council President Dennis Wacker.
Council members and other participants took in the beautiful scenery as they traveled down a winding road north of Royal to the historic Mars Campground in Antelope County for the June RC&D meeting.
The view included an abundance of trees, hills, valleys and streams which were filled with wildlife.
Council member Dick Haskin provided the spot on his property for the evening which began with a potluck supper and farewell to honor Jan Jorgensen, former coordinator for the NNRC&D, and long-time assistant, Clo Ann Shamblen.
Close to 75 people were present to express their appreciation to the two for their passion, dedication and hard work which has made the NNRC&D successful for almost 20 years.
Wacker informed board members at the meeting of an opportunity which may be in the works that would allow the RC&D to stay at their present location.
“A man is thinking about buying the building in Plainview that we are in and giving us two years rent-free,” Wacker said. “There is nothing on paper yet – we have only talked about it.”
Board members agreed to move ahead and purchase some necessary office equipment.
Board members talked about setting up booths at up-coming county fairs and discussed other projects that have already been started.
“We are still active – still doing things,” Haskin said.
Council members are looking at private parties, businesses and local support for help with finances.
The RC&D has been receiving $300 from six counties, four natural resource districts and two tribes in sponsor dues and receives dues from associate members in the amount of $25.
Council members are hoping the contributors would be willing to raise that amount.
Board members are working to meet the challenges in the transition of going from a program that has been under the federal funding umbrella to an independent nonprofit organization.
Council members from Cedar County include Glen Anderson, Coleridge; Maurice Ketter, Wynot; Gary Stapelman, Laurel; and Gary Howey, Hartington, who is the Lewis & Clark NRD representative.
Council members from Knox County include Virginia Buerman, Creighton; Arden Uhlir, Verdigre; Kim Swanson, Niobrara; and Alvin “Bud” Twiss, Niobrara, representative for the Santee Sioux Nation.
The NNRC&D, which covers Cedar, Knox, Dixon, Antelope, Pierce and Wayne counties, follows up on the philosophy of “communities know what communities need” by offering a variety of workshops, tours, recycling and waste collections throughout the year.
During 2010, the NNRC&D provided tours that included an organic farm; a Feather and Dance Celebration; watching the mating dance of a Prairie Chicken on a native prairie site; a search for blossoms, butterflies and birds and a history lesson at eight rural cemeteries.
The NNRC&D also helps write grants which are used to fund a portion or all of many of the projects.