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Conservation Districts
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The 43rd MCDA Conservation Conference

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December 10 – 12, 2018
Keystone Centre, Brandon, MB

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Connect with people working on the front lines to advance watershed health, climate change resilience, and agriculture in Manitoba and beyond.

Draft agenda:

Monday, December 10

Registration & Trade Show Opens

12:00 pm, Corridor & MNP Hall

Get signed in and check out our trade show: chat with the organizations working on the front lines of conservation and agriculture in Manitoba.


1:30 pm, Amphitheatre

MCDA executive director Sean Goertzen will welcome everyone and kick the conference off with a few words.

Keynote: Conservation Innovations Around the World

1:45 pm, Amphitheatre

A speaker who has worked on environmental and social issues in over a dozen countries will share lessons learned on how to design environmental programs around the people at the heart of them (often farmers!). More details coming soon.

Manitoba’s Conservation Trust: New Opportunities for Conservation

2:45 pm, Amphitheatre

Earlier this year, the Manitoba government committed to creating a $102-million Conservation Trust. The Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation will be responsible for deciding how annual revenues from this trust will be invested in conservation projects throughout Manitoba. CEO Tim Sopuck will speak on the progress to date developing the trust and the opportunities it will present for conservation districts and other organizations.

Charting MCDA’s Future: An Open Discussion

3:30 pm, Amphitheatre

Manitoba Conservation Districts Association exists to support Manitoba’s conservation districts. This mandate is seen through by MCDA’s board of directors, which includes a representative from each district. This open discussion session will give the board and staff members of every district another channel through which to discuss and shape the direction of MCDA. What should MCDA focus on over the next year? The next five years? Let’s chat.

Annual General Meeting (Members Only)

4:15 pm, Amphitheatre

Conservation district board members will elect members to MCDA’s board and chart a course for MCDA’s work over the next year, informed by the open discussion happening prior to the AGM.

Non-members are encouraged to revisit the trade show at this time and connect with the organizations working on the front lines of conservation and agriculture in Manitoba.

Breaking the Ice

7:00 pm, Great Western Roadhouse Bar & Grill (on site at the Keystone Centre)

Connect with the people working on front lines of conservation and agriculture in Manitoba. Take in some live music, visit with old friends, and make new ones.

Tuesday, December 11th

Registration & Trade Show Reopens

8:30 am, Corridor/MNP Hall

Chat with organizations working on the front lines of conservation and agriculture in Manitoba.

Regenerative Agriculture: Profitable and Sustainable

8:45 am, Amphitheatre

Hear from a farmer who has taken the leap into regenerative agriculture, cutting input costs, boosting profits, and improving soil and water health in the process. More details coming soon.

Success Stories from Manitoba’s Conservation Districts (Part I)

9:45 am, Amphitheatre

Find out what Manitoba’s conservation districts have been up to over the past year, and what they’ve learned along the way.

Networking Break

10:30 am, MNP Hall

Grab a coffee and check out the trade show.

Drainage Licensing in Saskatchewan

10:45 am, Amphitheatre

Learn about the large scale drainage licensing happening in Saskatchewan to bring existing structures into compliance, and what it means for Manitoba.


12:00 pm, UCT Pavilion (downstairs)

Operation Pollinator in Western Canada

1:00 pm, Amphitheatre

Paul Hoekstra, PhD; Stewardship and Policy Manager, Syngenta

Operation Pollinator is a Syngenta biodiversity program designed to enhance the number of pollinating insects on farms and other areas. Focused on creating natural habitats for bees and other pollinating insects, this program provides farmers with a practical and meaningful way to increase and improve biodiversity on their individual farm operations. In 2017, Syngenta Canada partnered with Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) to deliver Operation Pollinator to 100 farms in Prairie Canada with provincial partners: Agriculture Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA), Manitoba Conservation Districts Association (MCDA), Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association (SSCA) and Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). As part of a multiyear program, the project included the measurement of pollinator diversity and abundance on selected sites.  The results from the first year of monitoring data, along with feedback from the participants, will be discussed.

Partnering with First Nations on Watershed Resilience

1:40 pm, Amphitheatre

David Scott has worked for many years to preserve the history, culture, and traditional values of Swan Lake First Nation. David will discuss the political, legal, and historical context that shapes opportunities for First Nations and conservation districts to work together.

Networking Break

2:40 pm, MNP Hall

Grab a coffee and check out the trade show.

Success Stories from Manitoba’s Conservation Districts (Part II)

3:15 pm, Amphitheatre

Hear success stories and lessons learned from a consultant who has worked with a number of conservation districts in Manitoba.

Closing Remarks

4:00 pm, Amphitheatre

MCDA executive director Sean Goertzen will conclude the public portion of the conference with a few words.

Trade Show Concludes

5:00 pm, MNP Hall

Get your networking in before the trade show closes!

Conservation Districts Awards Banquet

6:00 pm, UCT Pavilion

Enjoy good food and celebrate the people working hard to advance watershed health in Manitoba.

Banquet tickets are sold separately for certain ticket types. See the registration page for more details.

Wednesday, December 12th (Conservation District Members Only)

8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Manitoba Sustainable Development will provide an update on our collective efforts to modernize the Manitoba Conservation Districts Program. Background information on the Conservation Districts Program for new board members will also be shared. More details to come.

12:00 pm: Closing Remarks

MCDA executive director Sean Goertzen will conclude the conference with a few words on the opportunities emerging for conservation in Manitoba.

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