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“Conservation” and “Service”—always part of us



ARCSE / SWCS Annual Meeting Update

Fellow Retirees,

The Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees (ARCSE) held a special virtual Annual Meeting this year. Attending the virtual ARCSE Annual Meeting is FREE. The ZOOM event will include a presentation by the SWCS historian, viewing never-before-seen Hugh Hammond Bennett artifacts, networking activity and state and national updates from ARCSE, NRCS, and SWCS representatives. .


Our awardees for this year are:

·         Meritorious Service–Dana York

·         Distinguished Service–Norm Kempf

·         Community Service–Earl Norton


SEGMENT 3 – ARCSE BOARD MEETING (11:45 am – 12:30 pm CDT)

Email if you have any questions about the meeting.


Meritorious Award – Dana York

Dana retired from NRCS after 34 years of service in January 2011. She started her career as a student trainee and became a full-time soil conservationist in 1977, in Tennessee, advancing in the agency working in Georgia, Ohio, and in several leadership positions in Washington DC, including NRCS Associate Chief. Following retirement, she continues to influence conservation through her consulting company, Green Earth Connection, where she continues to help various environmental groups reach their conservation goals and objectives. On top of all that, she runs her 120-acre family farm that her family has occupied since 1778. There are many other worthy accomplishments, not to mention serving as a mentor to young farmers in her area. Soon after retirement, Dana became an active member of ARCSE, serving on the board of directors for several years. She served as president during 2017 and 2018. During her tenure as president, she used her academic training in organizational design to successfully improve the organizational structure of the association, which was badly in need of change

Dana York

and modernization. By updating and modernizing several key positions on the board of directors and support staff, she led the group through the process of implementing changes in the function and processes involved in managing the society. These changes, implemented with Dana’s leadership, resulted in improved efficiency and effectiveness of board of directors and helped the organization move forward.

Dana is very deserving of the ARCSE Meritorious Award to recognize her contributions to the association.

Soon after retirement, Dana became an active member of ARCSE, serving on the board of directors for several years. She served as president during 2017 and 2018. During her tenure as president, she used her academic training in organizational design to successfully improve the organizational structure of the association, which was badly in need of change and modernization. By updating and modernizing several key positions on the board of directors and support staff, she led the group through the process of implementing changes in the function and processes involved in managing the society. These changes, implemented with Dana’s leadership, resulted in improved efficiency and effectiveness of board of directors and helped the organization move forward.

Dana also stepped up to the plate by working closely with the Tennessee chapter and helping organize local meetings and providing information to the national newsletter editor for publication. By her extra efforts with the Tennessee group, regular information articles are being published in the national newsletter to inform fellow retirees about current events, deaths of former colleagues, special awards and accomplishments, etc.

Based on the above accomplishments and actions, I think Dana is very deserving of a meritorious award to recognize her contributions to the society.

Distinguished Service Award – Norman Kempf

Since retirement in 2001 Norman Kempf has been very active in the Nebraska chapter of the ARCSE. He served as chapter vice-president and president, followed by many years up to now as the Nebraska State ARCSE Representative as well as Midwest Region ARCSE Vice-president.  As Midwest VP since 2004, Norm has communicated with State leads regularly by mail, e-mail, or phone to remind and encourage them on such things as news article write-ups, securing new retiree’s information, and new ARCSE members, nominating Senior Conservationists, reporting deaths and participation. Norman retired in 2001

Norm Kempf

after a 40-year career with NRCS. His career started in SD in 1961 where he worked as a WAE, Soil Conservationist, District Conservationist, and as an Area Conservationist in Pierre, SD. He served as Assistant Conservationist for Programs in Bismarck, ND where his duties included leadership for the implementation of the Food Security Act. In 1989 he joined the Conservation Planning Division in Washington DC as a Conservation Planning Specialist. He also served as national wetlands leader, national highly erodible lands leader, Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Conservation Planning Division. He also helped to develop and train in conservation planning on a national basis. In 1995 he was transferred to the Northern Plains Regional Office in Lincoln, NE where he rounded out his career as a resource conservationist on the over-sight and evaluation team.

Norman has been married to Sylvia nearly 57 years, and they are the proud parents of four children, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren. They are active in the Lutheran church where he has served on the church council and as chairman of the property committee for many years. They are also active in many other organizations. They also pursue many hobbies including travel, which has led them to all 50 states, many foreign countries, and all seven continents.

Outstanding Community Service Award – Earl Norton

Since retiring from SCS/NRCS in 1994 Earl Norton has remained committed to conservation through engagement with organizations and activities almost too numerous to mention. He taught a conservation course at Auburn University from 1995-2001. He remained very active in SWCS and the International Erosion Control Association. He engaged early on with professional certification efforts as they got off the ground and remains an active Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, Certified Professional Agronomist, and Certified Crop Advisor. He continues to serve as Erosion and Sediment Control Program Coordinator for the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee, among other things responsible for maintaining the Handbook for Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas. He has coordinated several sediment and erosion

Earl Norton

control seminars and field days each year, reaching and training thousands of private and agency engineering and environmental management personnel over the years and continuing to this day. Earl’s numerous awards include the Alabama Water Conservationist of the Year (2005), SWCS Fellow (2005), and Alabama Wildlife Federation Soil Conservationist of the Year (2014), and Envirocert International Distinguished Service Award (2017).

Earl also has practiced his preaching, transforming a clearcut and roadside garbage dump over 20 years into a well-managed forest certified by the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association in 2019, involving his grandchildren with soil conservation activities.

Earl graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Science (1960) and M.S. degree in Agronomy and Soils (1964) served a stint in the Navy. Since moving to Auburn in June 1976, he has been a member of Auburn United Methodist Church and Chancel Choir. Earl frequently participates in ARCSE annual meetings and emceed last year’s event in Pittsburgh.

Earl has been married to wife Julia for 53 years and has two sons and four grandchildren.


The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) is going virtual for its upcoming 75th International Annual Conference, July 27-29, 2020.  View the announcement HERE..

For ARCSE Newsletter Recipients Registering for the Full Virtual 75th SWCS International Annual Conference!

ARCSE is pleased to be the student leader development sponsor for the virtual 75th Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) International Annual Conference, July 27-29, 2020. We encourage SWCS conference registrants to “stop by” the ARCSE virtual exhibit booth, which you will be able to see on-line during the conference. 

SWCS conference attendees should also consider participating in the ARCSE annual meeting.  Note: participation in the ARCSE annual meeting is free to its members and does not require SWCS conference registration, but all registered for the conference are welcome and encouraged to join us.

For those intending to register, a reminder SWCS conference registration closes July 15, 2020. For complete conference details and to register, visit

For more information on the ARCSE Sponsorship, please contact Cheryl Simmons, ARCSE President, 


Since 1974, the Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees (ARCSE) helps members to keep in touch with each other and facilitates their continued commitment to conservation. Members represent a reservoir of institutional knowledge and expertise. The organization supports passing this resource on to future generation conservationists and identifies opportunities for members to continue taking part in activities facilitating technical sound soil and water conservation for all land uses. Its membership is organized by state chapter, coordinated by an elected organization-wide board.

About the Soil and Water Conservation Society

For seventy-five years, the Soil and Water Conservation Society has been the premier international organization for professionals who practice and advance the science and art of natural resource conservation. We believe sustainable land and water management is essential to the continued security of the earth and its people. Our goal is to cultivate an organization of informed, dynamic individuals whose contributions create a bright future for agriculture, the environment, and society. The Soil and Water Conservation Society is headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa with chapters across the United States and Canada.

Jack Carlson, ARCSE Secretary

As you may have noticed in the May SWCS Conservogram, ARCSE has sponsored Joe Derry’s internship at SWCS headquarters May-August this year. Joe’s responsibilities, among other tasks, include working with us on a plan for an enhanced partnership between ARCSE and SWCS, as well as steps to increase interest in ARCSE as an organization. Joe, from Johnston, Iowa, is a student at the University of Iowa involved in nonprofit and philanthropy studies as a major in Journalism and Mass Communication with a Certificate in Creative Writing. We’ve iterated on ideas since he started work in early May, which has led to Joe presenting a draft plan at our upcoming July 10th ARCSE board meeting. We’ll circulate the draft to membership for review and hope to have a working plan reasonably settled in early August before Joe heads back to school. Since the last newsletter, the ARCSE Board conferenced May 8th, May 15th, and June 12th, primarily to adjust preparations for conducting our annual meeting virtually. The Board used Zoom for the first time to conduct their meeting on June 12th and will do so for future meetings. Cheryl and I also conferenced with Joe Derry and Courtney Allen on May 13th to initiate progress on the partnership plan and then participated in SWCS conference sponsor and moderator training on June 18th and 24th.We’ll have a virtual sponsor booth and advertisement in the conference program, hopefully increasing visibility of the organization to prospective future members participating in the full SWCS conference.

As noted above in Cheryl’s message From the President, Segment 2 of the upcoming virtual ARCSE annual meeting, in addition to the History Tour, will discuss the ARCSE/SWCS partnership, which is part of a larger conversation of what do we want to accomplish as an organization in the coming years. We’ve gone from a peak of 1,768 members in 1998 to about 800 today. Obviously, recruitment needs attention. What percentage of new retirees know about ARCSE when they retire? How soon before they retire? Should membership eligibility be broadened to include retirees of other organizations in the conservation partnership? Should ARCSE do something new or different to strengthen its purpose, in keeping with our new “Stay Connected to Conservation” ad we’re placing in the SWCS program. Segment 2 of the Annual Meeting will provide an opportunity to respond to these and other questions, and even if you are not able to join us, we would really like to hear from you, whether directly or through your state or regional ARCSE representative. Thanks in advance for your responses!


Greetings from our home near Moscow Idaho! We appreciate you all and enjoy staying in touch. Please feel free to contact any of the ARCSE officers and representatives to offer ideas or say Hello!

It is a crazy time and we have been keeping busy learning to make face masks, Zoom and video chat using smartphones, laptops or tablets. If you have a hearing challenge, there are some apps to make sounds louder and more direct. Now may also be a good time to go through and organize old photos and memorabilia and enjoy the stories and happy memories they inspire. Cooking a favorite family recipe or sharing favorite songs or movies with people in the household or on-line is also good. And for cooking, nothing is better than fresh produce from your garden. This year we are trying microgreens! Sprouts and microgreens are healthy additions to salads and sandwiches and are easy to grow.

Following is just one of many links to pages describing how to make your own face masks:


Paul Benedict, Membership Chair

New for 2020. For your convenience ARCSE annual dues and hard copy fees can now be paid by credit card:

You still can pay by check as in the past. Mail checks to: ARCSE, PO Box 8965, Moscow, ID 83843


ARCSE Complimentary membership. When you have retiree social functions or any other time that you see new retirees from NRCS, be sure to remind them that they are eligible for a one-year complimentary membership in ARCSE, if they have not previously been a member. All that is required is that they submit a membership application. This one-year complimentary membership includes receiving the bimonthly electronic newsletter. Membership applications and the ARCSE brochure may be printed at:



Member                $18 per year

Affiliate                  $18 per year

Life (One–time payment)

        Age 64 or younger     $250

        Age 65 thru 74            $200

        Age 75 or older           $125

NOTE: Dues payment includes receipt of the bimonthly electronic newsletter only. All members (both life members and those who pay annual dues) who desire a hard copy of the newsletter must pay an additional fee of $12.00 per year.

Please submit Dues to ​ARCSE​ at P.O. Box 8965 Moscow, ID 83843


Pay Dues or Newsletter Mailing Fees


National Older Worker Career Center



Paul Benedict, Membership Chair

New Members

Terri Hodgin – Henning, Minnesota

Jean C. Herman – Columbia, Missouri

Albert Cerna Jr. – Salinas, California

Marshall “Mac” Nelson – Auburn, Alabama

New Life Member

Rebecca Fletcher–Danville, Indiana

These are unusual and scary times for all Americans with the Coronavirus pandemic so prevalent. Many of our ARCSE members are in the age group most seriously affected by this virus, plus many have underlying conditions that put them more at risk. We must take precautions. All of us have been impacted by social distancing, stay-at-home orders, closed businesses, cancelling of meetings and social events. It is important during this time to stay active and in touch with others, even if just for our own mental health.

Most of us have a back yard where we can get some fresh air and get out of the house. But in the last couple of weeks I have talked to a couple of our ARCSE members who live in assisted living facilities, who have not been able leave their apartments for weeks. Their food is brought to them, no more dinner with friends, no more movie nights or card games with friends, no outings of any kind. Even family is not allowed to visit. About all some people can do is stay in their apartment and watch TV with no live Major League Baseball games (the thing I hate most), read a book, use a computer if they have one, or talk on the phone. This can get depressing. I encourage you to skim through your new ARCSE 2020 Directory and see who is living where. Perhaps you will be inspired to call an old colleague or friend from the past and give them a word of encouragement, especially if they are in assisted living.

Also, if you find out about a retired SCS/NRCS employee or current NRCS employee who has passed away, please let me know so we can put an obituary in the next ARCSE newsletter. If you have a weblink to an obituary, that is great, but if not, I will look for it. Just email me at

Membership Dues

The 2020 Membership Dues Notice went out with the Nov/Dec ARCSE Newsletter. If you are receiving a hard copy and have not yet paid your 2020 dues or hard copy fee, here is some clarification on how to decipher the information on your label. See payment example labels below. 

*************************ALL FOR ADC 123


JOHN Q. PUBLIC, 999, H19


ANYWHERE, USA 01010-1010

*************************ALL FOR ADC 456




ANYWHERE, USA 00101-1010

1. If the first number to the right of your name on your mailing label is “19”, “19C”, “19S” or lower, your dues are due! Numbers like “20C”, “20”, or higher indicate that your dues are paid for 2020. Numbers “999” indicate life members, and your dues are paid.  2. If the second number to the right of your name on your mailing label is “H19”, an additional payment of $12 is required to continue receiving a printed copy of the newsletter. If it is “H20” or above, no additional payment is required to continue receiving a printed copy of the newsletter.


These are just a few of the pictures from the current edition of the ARCSE Newsletter available to Members of the Association. 


The California Chapter had a zoom meeting in June. The final gang of 8 participants! Our “maiden voyage” group included Top Row, left to right, Tom Wehri, Bill Ward, Paul Benedict. Middle Row, Darwyn and Susie Briggs, Madalene Ransom, Ron and Marilyn Hoppes. Bottom Row, Hank Wyman, and Al Cerna


Steve Black's Homestead Farm. The flag has 24 stars. That was the number of states in the US in 1823 when the house was built.



DFrank Resides on his new mower.



SCS Retirees, Antelope Park, October 1975

Ed Marshall with an elephant he got on a hunting trip to Namibia, Africa


L-R: Dennis and Amanda Bauknight, Russell Hubright, SC Forestry Commission. The Bauknight Tree Farm was recently recognized for being a member of the American Tree Farm system for over 50 years.

Tim Forbert sent in a brief summary about the NOWCC and ACES, with much more information at He is the ACES Recruiter/Program Specialist (email:

NOWCC began operations in 1997 as a national nonprofit organization to promote experienced workers as a valuable and critical component of the nation’s workforce. The precursor of NOWCC was a unit inside AARP that had administered the EPA Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) Program for over 15 years. As the result of a strategic restructuring in 1996, AARP decided to conclude its connection with the SEE Program. Because of its commitment to the value of older workers, AARP facilitated the launch of a new non-profit, NOWCC, to continue administering its portion of the SEE Program and to continue to promote experienced worker programs.

Currently, NOWCC administers the Agriculture Conservation Experienced Services (ACES) Program for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the USDA and for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) Program for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in partnership with the AARP Foundation for the U.S. Department of Labor, and recently began working with Economic Research Service (ERS) to provide enrollees who are experienced workers 55 years and older to assist with providing the USDA, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and National Park Service (NPS).

TO CONTACT US: write, phone, or email
Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees (ARCSE)
PO Box 8965, Moscow, ID 83843
Phone: 703-503-9219 Email:

New Officers:  President of ARSCE is Cheryl Simmons.
Jack Carlson as Secretary, Paul Benedict as Membership Chair and Donna Beggs as Treasurer.


To contact the webmaster for corrections, email:

Updated Monday, June 29, 2020