The Turtle Mountain Conservation District (TMCD) Board nominated Gary Davis, former TMCD Manager for the Manitoba Conservation Districts (CD) Staff Builder Award. Each year a Conservation District may nominate a person whose leadership and dedication has led to the growth and success of the Conservation District Program. Gary was selected among other worthy nominees for the CD Staff Builder Award by the Manitoba Conservation District Association (MCDA) Board. He was presented with this prestigious award at the MCDA Conference held Dec 3rd, 2019 in Winnipeg, Mb. The following is the presentation made during the awards banquet.
Gary was the Manager of the Turtle Mountain Conservation District from August 1989 to September 2001. Within these twelve years Gary was instrumental in developing and delivering programs throughout the TMCD.
Over the years Gary was involved in many new initiatives and changes that took place within the Conservation Districts Program. Gary provided outstanding leadership and contributions to the development and promotion of the Turtle Mountain Conservation District. Gary’s continued passion and commitment to work on conservation projects was always evident and he was also a part of the district expansion. Some of the larger projects included the construction of the Derksen – Heide Dam, L6 Flood Retention Structure, Ramsay Dam and delivery of the Farming for Tomorrow, Green Plan, Covering New Ground, CMAAS, and EMRAC programs, just to name a few. Many of these projects required external partnerships which Gary helped develop and are still on-going today.
Gary currently resides east of Deloraine with his wife Llana where they have implemented many conservation techniques on their farm to benefit their farming operation and the local watershed. He has been instrumental in applying the holistic approach to their farming operation and continues to promote this initiative.
Gary started with the District as he had a Bachelor of Science Degree from Brandon University where he majored in zoology and minored in botany. He saw the advertisement for the position and thought “this is a perfect fit and what I had trained for”. Special memories for Gary included meetings with the Commission where he felt these were the most important meetings for Conservation Districts, making presentations to the public and at the annual banquet, education program at TMCD involving the interpretive areas and school tours of the watershed and initiating the Turtlehead Creek project looking at a small scale watershed approach for watershed health.
Gary recalled that his most notable project with the District was when he went to the board at the time to request sponsorship for a holistic management course. “They agreed and those farmers that attended and bought into it, it was the best value for dollars spent for bringing in holistic management. Most are still practicing it today. There’s been no ongoing maintenance and it has provided a living for those that took the course.”
Working for the District is really what opened the door for Gary to pursue holistic management. “Being able to work with people that wanted to make a change and find ways forward was really encouraging”. Gary left TMCD to pursue farming where he and Llana took over her father’s farm and started to convert the tired, eroded acres that had been cultivated for years back to grass with the goal to turn the land around, restore and leave that notion in their children.
Congratulations to Gary Davis for his commitment to conservation. His vision and foresight were instrumental in bringing TMCD to a place where they would be assured that their programming addressed the needs of the watershed and residents.