In front of a large crowd filled with show-goers, water and soil conservation supporters, farmers, ranchers, landowners, the media and more, the 2016 Natural Resources Districts Hall of Fame inductees have been announced!
The names of the inductees were announced Wednesday, September 14th outside the natural resources building on the southeast side of the show grounds at Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island. They will be inducted at the Natural Resources Districts Annual Conference September 26th and 27th. Media is invited to attend.
Individuals who have made significant contributions through Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts resulting in improvements to the state’s natural resources are selected for this coveted honor once a year.
The candidates are elected into the Hall of Fame by vote of current NRD Managers and NARD Board of Directors. There are three Hall of Fame categories. They include: Natural Resources Districts Board member, Natural Resources Districts Employee and Natural Resources Districts Supporter. The NRD Supporter includes individuals outside the NRD system who have shown tremendous care and leadership in Nebraska’s on-going conservation effort.
The Hall of Fame inductees are:
James Irwin – Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Board members
Glenn Johnson – Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Employee
Dayle Williamson – Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Supporter
“My goodness that is a very special honor and I’m grateful to have been chosen from the nominees,” said inductee of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Board member. “I know there are many that are more worthy across the state in our network of Natural Resources Districts.”
Hall of Fame inductee, James Irwin, was nominated for the NRD Board member category by the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District. He’s been an elected Director of the UNWNRD for almost five decades from 1972-2013. His service through water policy formation, water conservation and soil health is evident throughout the decades. In the 1960s, Irwin was instrumental in the formation of the Box Butte County Irrigation Association. Irwin has helped educate landowners about the nature of water use and water ownership in Nebraska and supports the chemigation program. Irwin was not afraid to vote in favor of unpopular policy where ground water declines needed to be addressed even though the actions impacted his neighbors as well as himself. He’s also developed the Irwin No-Till Demonstration site on the North edge of Alliance to help local producers and partners adapt to more progressive agricultural practices.
Hall of Fame inductee, Glenn Johnson, was co-nominated for the Hall of Fame NRD Staff category by Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District and Lower Platte South Natural Resources District. Johnson grew up on a no-till farm near Wakefield, Nebraska. When Lower Platte South NRD opened in 1972, he was one of three employees. Johnson retired this year as LPSNRD General Manager after 44 years of service. Johnson’s accomplishments include the Weeping Water and Stevens Creek watershed projects, use of conservation easements, the Antelope Valley Project, rural hike and bike trails and the voluntary Integrated Management Plan. He’s credited with lead roles in forging the Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance, the Saline Wetlands Conservation Partnership, the Joint Antelope Valley Authority and the NRD/City of Lincoln Stormwater partnership. Johnson also showed great support for the formation of a three-NRD project to combat phragmites on the lower Platte River and for a joint integrated management plan between seven NRDs. He will always be passionate about protecting our natural resources.
“Reflecting on my 44 years at Lower Platte South NRD, I am proud to be identified with Nebraska’s unique natural resources districts and to be honored for my role in their growth to maturity and success,” said inductee of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Hall of Fame Natural Resources District Employee, Glenn Johnson.
Hall of Fame inductee, Dayle E. Williamson, was nominated for the Hall of Fame category, Individual Outside the NRD System by Little Blue Natural Resources District. Williamson was born and raised on a family farm near Ohiowa, Nebraska. He served in the U.S. Army, and was a member of the Nebraska National Guard for 30 years. As a leader of the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, he worked diligently with the State legislature to form Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts. Williamson was Director for the Commission until 2000 when he retired. He continued to assist in forming the Department of Natural Resources. In total, Williamson served Nebraska’s natural resources agencies for 42 years. He was a great friend and advocate for the NRD system, working closely with the districts in their project and program development and touting their value wherever he went. In 2001, he was appointed by U.S. Senator Ben Nelson as the Nebraska Agricultural Representative, working diligently on agriculture and military issues, a position he retained until 2013.
“I was surprised and honored,” said Dayle Williamson, inductee of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts Hall of Fame Natural Resources Districts Supporter. “This award means a great deal because I was so heavily involved in the implementation of the NRDs. Certainly the NRD organization was the right way to go all those years back. I’ve been thinking about the NRDs a lot this last year. Especially with the development of the NRD Oral History Project (www.nrdstories.org) as well.”
All three Hall of Fame inductees will be presented their awards at the Nebraska Natural Resources Districts Annual Conference banquet on Monday, September 26th, 2016 at 6 PM. Media is invited to attend.