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New Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Board Holds 1st Meeting, Elects Officers

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The newly sworn-in Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Board held its first meeting for the year in Orange County Commission Chambers in Downtown Orlando at 1pm Friday. Supervisor Dawn Curtis, the only remaining Supervisor from the previous board, led the meeting, familiarizing her fellow supervisors Nathaniel Douglas (Seat 1), Karolyn Campbell (Seat 2), Raquel Lozano (Seat 3), and Alaina Slife (Seat 5) with Board procedures.

USDA-NRCS District Conservationist Chuck O'Rouke welcomes the new Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors Friday, January 8, 2021. (Photo by J. Willie David, III / Florida National News)

USDA-NRCS District Conservationist Chuck O’Rouke welcomes the new Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors Friday, January 8, 2021. (Photo by J. Willie David, III / Florida National News)

USDA-NRCS District Conservationist Chuck O’Rouke was also present for the meeting and filled the new board members in on major events that the OSWCD typically participates in or provides support for, the annual Envirothon and land judging. He also welcomed the new board to take tours with him of different green spaces and facilities.

 

Changes Going Forward

Community Engagement

The new members each had a report of their own, informing the board of possible environmental opportunities in their respective communities.

The board mutually agreed that they should host food drives for communities as a board, including in Pine Hills and South Apopka.

Supervisor Curtis advised the board that they are free to invest to procure their own promotional material (tablecloths, banners, shirts, nameplates, etc.) for any event they wish to attend or coordinate as supervisors. She then requested Supervisor Lozano to research prices for shirts and nametags to bring to the next meeting.

Fundraising

Supervisor Campbell mentioned the importance of fundraising in order to increase the OSWCD budget, which, according to Supervisor Curtis, had roughly $800. O’Rourke confirmed that the Board could legally raise funds if it wanted to. Supervisor Curtis encouraged the board to consider approaching individuals, organizations as well as companies for financial support.

Attendance Procedures

Supervisor Campbell requested a hybrid version of the meetings, given the possible accessibility challenges she might face in trying to attend each meeting in person. Supervisor Curtis informed her that since the start of the pandemic, the board had allowed supervisors to call in via Webex, but those who called in couldn’t vote on anything. As such, Supervisor Campbell motioned that for the duration of the pandemic and until conditions improve, that as long as there is a quorum, supervisors who call in would also have authorization to vote on items that come before the board. All were in favor of that motion.

Bylaws

Supervisor Lozano passed around model copies of bylaws for the OSWCD board to use to create its own. Supervisor Curtis mentioned that former Supervisor and Chairman Barber had previously drafted bylaws and she would email those previous bylaws to the new board for their review and to be voted on in the February meeting.

Free website approved by new Chair Michael Barber and the Board March 2019

During the March 2019 board meeting, new Chair Michael Barber and the Board approved to have The Association of Florida Conservation Districts create a free website, orangesoilandwater.org (pictured), instead of using Supervisor Morales' paid website orangeswcd.com.

During the March 2019 board meeting, new Chair Michael Barber and the Board approved to have The Association of Florida Conservation Districts create a free website, orangesoilandwater.org (pictured), instead of using Supervisor Morales’ paid website orangeswcd.com.

Paid website created by Acting Board Chair Daisy Morales Jan. 2019

During the January 2019 Board meeting, Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisors Daisy Morales (Seat 2) and Tiffany Dziekan (Seat 5) presented Orangeswcd.com (pictured) for review.

During the January 2019 Board meeting, Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisors Daisy Morales (Seat 2) and Tiffany Dziekan (Seat 5) presented Orangeswcd.com (pictured) for review.

Orange Soil & Water Website

Supervisor Curtis informed the board that the website needs work, and that they had two options: the current website, designed by the Association of Florida Conservation Districts, or the previously created website provided by former Supervisor Tiffany Dziekan and former Supervisor-turned-State Representative Daisy Morales. While Supervisor Curtis completed the latter, she let the others know that it had an outstanding invoice attached to it, and that they would discuss the websites in detail in the February meeting.

FILE - Then Orange Soil & Water Conservation Board Acting Chair and Seat 4 Supervisor Dawn Curtis (left) welcomes the newly sworn in Supervisors Karolyn Campbell (Seat 2), Raquel Lozano (Seat 3), Alaina Slife (Seat 5), and Nathaniel Douglas (Seat 1) at the Orange County Board of County Commission Chamber Monday, December 28, 2020. (Photo by J Willie David, III/Florida National News).

FILE – Then Orange Soil & Water Conservation Board Acting Chair and Seat 4 Supervisor Dawn Curtis (left) welcomes the newly sworn in Supervisors Karolyn Campbell (Seat 2), Raquel Lozano (Seat 3), Alaina Slife (Seat 5), and Nathaniel Douglas (Seat 1) at the Orange County Board of County Commission Chamber Monday, December 28, 2020. (Photo by J Willie David, III/Florida National News).

Board Officer Elections

Supervisor Curtis proposed that the board elect its officers in the first meeting, and the others concurred. Supervisor Douglas nominated four of the five positions, which the respective supervisors accepted:

  • Seat 1 Supervisor Nathaniel Douglas – Vice Chair 
  • Seat 3 Supervisor Raquel Lozano – Secretary
  • Seat 4 Supervisor Dawn Curtis – Chair
  • Seat 5 Supervisor Alaina Slife – Public Relations Representative

Seat 2 Supervisor Karolyn Campbell nominated herself as Treasurer, with which the board concurred.

Orange Soil & Water Conservation District Board meetings take place on the second Friday of each month at 3:30pm ET in the Orange County Board of Commission Chambers in Downtown Orlando.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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