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



Cheryl Simmons                     HEADED TO SPRING!


ARCSE MOVES FORWARD What are we doing in retirement? The Pandemic kept most of us sequestered in home. When States open, what is important to us? Visiting family and friends is top of my list with some volunteer effort to support non-profits and important topics. And, paying a little attention to conservation issues and visiting with old friends and co-workers? That is where ARCSE comes in. ARCSE presents the opportunity for States to visit with retirees and for members to easily reach out to contact and visit across the country. It also allows us to meet retirees we did not work with but have a great deal in common in conservation.

ARCSE is again partnering with the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) by supporting a student intern for the summer. The draft Annual ARCSE Meeting agenda (below) includes over a half hour visit with the SWCS Historian, updates from national and State NRCS leadership, and general ARCSE information. We will be sending out links to the general meeting and presentations. The Annual Board meeting will convene after a break and move to business concerns, but all are welcome. There is great news in the President-Elect position. We have a nomination for the July annual meeting–Julie MacSwain. Julie is stepping forward as she retires and will be a great addition to ARCSE. Nominations remain open and all volunteers are welcome.

ARCS is looking for opportunities to remain a great option for retiring/retired conservation workers. We plan to explore more opportunities with SWCS to look at shifting to an even closer partnership for the future. Feel free to email or call ARCSE State, regional, or national officers with ideas and recommendations for ARCSE.

As I move to the Past President position, I want to thank all the members, State and regional reps, board officers and support positions. I especially wish to thank Donna Beggs (a former NRCS volunteer and my wife) for stepping in to support the organization. We are still working out retirement living and usual for me, tend toward the slow track, but she helps me to keep chugging along. –Best to you all in 2021.




Monday July 26th, 2021


9:00 am WELCOME ------------------------------------------ Cheryl Simmons

9:05 am INVOCATION -------------------------------------- Earl Norton

9:10 am INTRODUCTIONS --------------------------------- Cheryl Simmons


President Elect–Julie McSwain

SENIOR CONSERVATIONISTS ----------------------- John Peterson


CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF SWCS------------- Clare Lindahl (invited)

CHAIR, SWCS BOARD OF DIRECTORS --------------- Rex Martin (invited)


NRCS STATE CONSERVATIONIST------------------------ (invited)

NRCS CHIEF----------------------------Terry Cosby, Acting (invited)


PRESIDENT OF ARCSE REMARKS-------------- Cheryl Simmons

ARCSE AWARD PRESENTATIONS-------------------- Arnold King

PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE----------------------------------------------------------------–Jerry Bernard


 SEGMENT 2–PRESENTATIONS (10:00–11:30 am)

10:00 am SOIL HEALTH UPDATE -------- Bianca Moebius-Clune, Director Soil Health Div

10:30 am SWCS SHARING HISTORY ------------- Joe Otto, SWCS Historian

11:15 am THE NEXT GENERATION ----------- ARCSE Board and ARCSE Intern

11:30 am ANNOUNCE NEXT ANNUAL ARCSE MEETING --- Cheryl Simmons, Pres

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

NOON, Call to order ---------------------------- Arnold King, President

Attendees welcome to sit in virtually ZOOM Meeting ID, Password

1:30 pm Adjourn


Today (4/15) marks the 140th birthday of Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett–the Father of the Conservation Movement. Bennett was the founder of USDA’s Soil Conservation Service (SCS), now the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the first director of the Soil Erosion Service (SES). Bennett served as the Chief of SCS and SES from 1933–1951.

Today, many of Bennett’s foundational guiding principles live on. He understood that agency employees needed to walk the land side-by-side with the land user to experience firsthand an area’s natural resource challenges and opportunities. He also understood the significant role science plays in the foundation of voluntary conservation on private lands.

As a conservationist with more than 40 years of service, I have always held dear the work of Hugh Hammond Bennett’s early conservation efforts. He paved the way for myself and thousands of employees over the years to successfully do the great work that we love–working one on one with landowners to protect soil, water, air, plant and animal resources.

Today, we are featuring a blog entitled “Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett: Sparked the Creation of a Conservation Agency and a Conservation Movement” on the website.

In June 2017, NRCS also produced the video “Hugh Hammond Bennett: The Story of America’s Private Lands Conservation Movement to celebrate Bennett’s conservation achievements.” As you read the blog and watch the video, I hope you are reminded why you joined NRCS.

I encourage you to spend some time learning about a man who made such a significant difference in soil conservation. We do have many resources on the NRCS website available to help you learn more. Or, contact Shelby Callaway our NRCS historian, who is a great resource for historical information. He can be reached at

Hugh Hammond Bennett, thank you for your vision and your dedication. Happy 140th birthday to you. Your voluntary, incentive-based approach to voluntary private conservation lives on today.

–Terry Cosby, Acting Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area, United States Department of Agriculture


Paul Benedict, Membership Chair

New Members

Michael Sigrist–Pocomoke City, Maryland

Michele N. Laur–Merritt Island, Florida

Lane Collins–Fairfield, Iowa

New Life Members

Doug Christensen–Lincoln, Nebraska

Angela Greene Gragg–Boone, NC

Julie MacSwain–Portland, Oregon

Billy A. Garner–Booneville, Arkansas

Larry H. Robinson–Columbia, South Carolina

Robert Snieckus–Silver Spring, Maryland



This issue of the ARCSE newsletter and the 2021 ARCSE Directory are going to everyone who is a paid member, 1st-year complimentary member, life member or honorary member, in 2020. Over 70 of our 2020 members have not yet renewed their membership for 2021 by paying the $18 anual fee. If you are one of these people, this will be your last newsletter unless we receive your payment by May 30th, 2021. I will be mailing you a reminder in the next week. If you have questions or concerns, please email me at or call me at 202-578-8226. Dues can be paid online at: Or, you may mail your $18.00 check to: ARCSE, PO Box 8965, Moscow, ID 83843.


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

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:

Pay Dues or Newsletter Mailing Fees



November 1, 2020 (Sorted alphabetically by State, City, then Last Name) Use this current listing to find members in states or cities you may be passing through. Bold names are ARCSE state representatives.

National Older Worker Career Center, Now looking work Watershed Program Experience


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).

Tim Forbert is the ACES Recruiter/Program Specialist (email: <


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

Kathy Woida was a geologist on Iowa’s staff for many years. I always enjoyed working with her. She is intelligent, competent at her job, a good writer, and a good friend. After she retired, she put a lot of effort into writing a book about Iowa soils. It is now available on the University of Iowa Press website at the following address:

The book is titled Iowa’s Remarkable Soils–The Story of Our Most Vital Resource and How We Can Save It, by Kathleen Woida. The UI Press website states, “This is a remarkable book. Woida’s knowledge of, reverence for, and joy in soils infuses each page. With friendly scientific authority, she seamlessly connects the natural history of the landscape with its human history.”


Kathy Woida’s book – Iowa’s Remarkable Soils

Greetings from California. We hope all our fellow retirees across the nation are doing well as we move into the spring.

California Update on Coronavirus. California Aims to fully reopen June 15th. Things certainly look much better these days as the number of cases per day has dramatically dropped, and vaccination progress has accelerated. The move forward comes as the state has reached 20 million vaccinations, including four million in its hardest-hit communities. Masking and vaccinations will continue. Hospitalization rates must stay low and vaccination availability high for the state to fully reopen. I myself have had both vaccination shots, and my wife has her first one scheduled in a week. Things are looking up for California!

Rich retired in January 2017 after a 43-year career with NRCS. He has always considered himself “a field District Conservationist” because he says, “I do my best work in the field working face-to-face with landowners and conservation partners and not by staying in the office or behind a computer.” He continues to provide assistance to NRCS as an ACES employee with his most recent project being a “Guide on post wildfire recovery for CA DCs.” Congratulations, Rich on this prestigious and well-deserved award!

California Retiree Rich Casale receives Prestigious Award from his College! Humboldt State University (HSU) in Arcata California has selected Rich as their 2021 recipient for the Distinguished Alumni Award for career lifetime accomplishments, including his work with NRCS and more recent work on CA wildfires as an ACES employee since his retirement. They want Rich to meet with faculty and students when it is safe to do that. Rich is hoping to inspire students to consider a career and a Pathway, or even an Earth Team opportunity with NRCS.


This meeting was extra special with Peter Brierty, Assistant Fire Chief (now retired) with San Bernardino County Fire (local Sponsor for NRCS EWP assistance). He joined us along with other key NRCS staff who worked with Peter’s staff. We remember and celebrate our very successful work together on our Southern California Tree Mortality challenge to reduce the extreme fire hazard that existed at the time. This is what the forest looked like when we began our work.

Our work to assist the county through our EWP program included removal of dead and dying trees associated with drought and the Bark Beetle Infestations that had turned the forest into an extreme fire hazard. In 2003 that fire hazard resulted in some 17 significant wildfires in southern California over a multiple county area.

The fires did over a billion dollars in damages, and a state of emergency was declared by California’s Governor. That ultimately led to significant EWP funding being made available for California to assist San Bernardino Co. with the challenge of removing hundreds of thousands of dead and dying trees to reduce the extreme wildfire threat they posed.

When we began our work, National Forests were considered almost sacred regarding tree removal, and the idea of removing any trees from the forest–regardless of condition–was almost considered a crime! Peter and the county were threatened with lawsuits on numerous occasions if even one tree was removed. With the help of NRCS Foresters and Environmental Specialists, the work was planned in a careful way to minimize any adverse effects to the forest.

Under Peter’s Leadership for San Bernardino County Fire and our Staff Foresters and local Field office staffs working on this effort, a tremendous partnership was developed. The benefits of the work began to show up very clearly early on, as dead and dying trees were carefully removed from the forest. Wildfires still occurred, but when they occurred in EWP-treated project areas, they did not get out of control and were much more easily put out.

There were many other benefits that came from our work that cannot all be identified here. The environmental review process was tremendously expedited thanks to our EWP Programmatic EIS, along with site-specific environmental evaluations for each project. With NRCS assistance and the success of our program, there was a change in the mentality in Southern California. The public and “Friends of the Forest” began to realize that Proper Forest Management, like what we were doing down there, was a good thing!

Well, that is it from California, until next time, wishing all retirees the best and to be safe! –Bill Ward,, California ARCSE Representative, PE, Former Design Staff Leader, Davis, CA





Nebraska Group Zoom screen photo of March 17th, 2021 meeting. Top Row L-R: Steve Stover, Harold Klaege, Norm Helzer, Jim Culver, and Claudia Stevenson. Second row L-R: Doug Christensen, Steve Scheinost, Marc Crouch, Ken Noonan, and Arnold Mendenhall. Third row L-R: Bill Hance, Gary Muckel, Roger Hammer, Thomas Reinsch, Craig Derickson. Fourth row L-R: Gus Dornbusch, Keith Sheets, Norm Kemph and Suzanne Harder

Arnold King loves bass fishing and caught two 7 lb. bass on Lake Ivey near San Angelo. Arnold fishes with a very dear high school friend who has been trying to teach him how to catch bass for 25 years.


TO CONTACT US: write or email
Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees (ARCSE)
PO Box 8965, Moscow, ID 83843
Email: arcse.treas@gmail

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


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Updated Tuesday, March 2, 2021