Conservation District heads win awards

Clallam Conservation District supervisors Don Hatler and Ben Smith received the 2008 Washington Association of Conservation Districts' Wayne Reid "Young Tiger" award at the association's state meeting in Wenatchee on Dec. 3.

The association gives the "Young Tiger" award to supervisors who jump into their local conservation district and hit the ground running.

The recipient is someone who has helped the conservation district meet its goals and objectives in a short period of time. Candidates must have served as a supervisor for less than six years, hence the title "Young Tiger."

Hatler and Smith each took office as Clallam Conservation District supervisors in the spring of 2006. Hatler was elected and Smith was appointed to the board.

Born of different generations, they each make valuable and unique contributions as conservation district supervisors. Hatler is retired but active in many community groups. Smith works tirelessly as manager of the family dairy farm and construction company.

They both epitomize the concept of the "Young Tiger" award, sharing the same passion for conservation and devotion to their conservation district and greater community. According to district manager Joe Holtrop, the quantity and quality of their contributions to Clallam Conservation District in less than three years on the board have been extraordinary.

It is no coincidence that under their leadership Clallam Conservation District was recognized as Washington State Conservation District of the Year by the state association in 2007.

At the awards ceremony, Hatler was noted for his solid business insight and a keen eye for detail. Hatler has served as the district's auditor since 2007, overseeing a budget of over $4.25 million in his first year in that position.

Smith, a third-generation Clallam County dairy farmer and general contractor with a bachelor's degree and professional experience in nursing, has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the conservation district.

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