The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD), the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) have been named winners of a regional television Emmy Award by the Heartland Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for their community service and outreach work surrounding the Ken Burns documentary The Dust Bowl.

“This is a great honor to be recognized for our work surrounding the showing of this film,” said Clay Pope, OACD Executive Director.  “We’re proud to have been able to work with OETA, PBS and our other partners last fall to make sure not only that the story of what happened during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s was told but that folks understand what was done to turn back the tide of dust and what’s still being done today to keep the dust storms from returning. It was a great series of events and we’re very proud to have been part of it.”

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Starting in September of 2012, OACD, NRCS, the Conservation Commission and OETA

undertook a series of advanced screenings of The Dust Bowl throughout Oklahoma.  Over the course of the fall thousands of Oklahomans viewed the screening at 11 events held at locations ranging from Guymon to Tulsa. 

These events also included a panel of conservation experts and Dust Bowl survivors who reviewed the film, discussed the causes and effects of the Dust Bowl and gave an overview of conservation work from the 1930s to today.  In addition, OETA produced a series of news stories talking about the lessons of the Dust Bowl and the work currently being done to protect natural resources through voluntary conservation programs. According to Pope, the timing of this outreach work couldn’t have been better.

“During the last three years the Southern Plains of the United States have been in a drought that rivaled anything we saw during the 1930s,” Pope said.  “What’s different now is that we haven’t seen the return of the dust storms, largely due to the work that farmers, ranchers and other landowners have done to protect our natural resources in partnership with conservation.  Now, more than ever, it’s important to remember what lessons we learned in the 1930s and to recognize the benefits that our state and nation receive from natural resource conservation that work with landowners to care for the environment while feeding the world. 

“Many folks have forgotten this lesson or have chosen to ignore it, even here in Oklahoma. By helping tell this story, maybe we’ve helped people remember what we have gone through before and hopefully helped them guard against repeating those mistakes again.  We’re proud to have been part of this effort and we are extremely honored to be recognized for this work.”