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NDASCD Conservation Spotlight: James River SCD Book Program

Updated: Apr 8

February, 2021

By: Morgan Hochsprung


Educating the youth. It can be said that this is one of the biggest focuses any individual involved with the Natural Resources Conservation world has. The youth is our future. It is

important to reach out to them, educate them, and guide them. That leaves one question: How?


Tokina McHarry, James River SCD Education Coordinator, has found a solution: The James River Soil Conservation District Book Program. The NDASCD connected with Tokina to gather the inside scoop on this program.

QUESTION AND ANSWER:


How does this program work?


"Each fall, our district sets aside a certain amount of money and I purchase natural resource themed books for the two public school libraries and the one Hutterite colony

school library in our county. Each book gets a label on the inside cover about our district (right). That has led to us providing a monthly display in each school library as well (above)."


How did the program get its start?


"This program started in 2017. I originally came up with the idea when my own kids were younger and noticed that the school library was lacking in non-fiction books for younger kids that centered on topics like soil, trees, water, etc. Since then, it has grown into a nice program. Each year we donate between 10-20 books to each library and the librarians are very appreciative."


Have you received any feedback from the community?


"I have heard from several parents and grandparents that I know that their kids have brought home books with our sticker inside the front cover (below). In some cases, it is a regular occurrence because the kids start to enjoy related topics. Librarians will often positively

comment on the books as well. Personally, my kids always had to read nonfiction for class, so this program increases the chances that some of that non-fiction will be books on natural resources."


Do you have any tips for a District wanting to start a program like this?


"My biggest piece of advice would be to invest in a good quality book. Librarians will tell you the average softcover book will only last 5-10 checkouts. I always purchase library bound books so they view them as valuable to their collection. Additionally, find out if your schools utilize reading programs, like Accelerated Reader, if so, purchase books that are in that program. Finally, purchase new books that have been published within the last 10 years if at all possible."


James River SCD Supervisors standing with Library Staff pre-COVID.

The NDASCD applauds the extraordinary effort James River SCD puts into its book program. Inspired to start your own program? For more information on the program, reach out to Tokina McHarry. Contact information for James River SCD staff can be found at: https://www.jamesriverscd.org/contact.

Do you know someone that represents natural resource conservation in an exemplary way? Send your submissions for them to be featured in our next NDASCD Spotlight! Submissions can be sent to ndascd@lincolnoakes.com. There is no submission we will not consider!

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