2022 Cohort

In December 2021, NCF announced the names of the seven participants of its second Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI) program, selected through a competitive national application process as members of a year-long program to build future conservation leaders through comprehensive trainings.

NGLI curriculum will equip leaders with skills and resources related to personal, civic and organizational leadership development. This comprehensive training will help participants rise to meet the future needs of natural resources management, helping them to increase their capacity to navigate and manage complex conservation challenges – both current and future – at the local and national level.


Meet the 2022 NGLI Cohort below!

Laura Boyd Picture

Laura boyd

Cincinnati, Ohio
Hamilton County Conservation District

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the
people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

Laura Boyd is an environmental professional with over ten years of experience addressing a multitude of environmental compliance issues for the public and private sectors. Her professional experience
provides her with an in-depth knowledge of federal, state, and local environmental rules and regulations.

Laura is currently serving her first term as board supervisor with the Hamilton County Conservation District and works full time as a Senior Environmental Safety Specialist for the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati. She earned a Master of Science in Business Analytics and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. Laura is also a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC).

As a working mom, she strives to set a positive example her son. She regularly participates in community-wide cleanups and outreach programs. Laura is passionate about the environment conservation, and her community.

When Laura is not working or volunteering her time, she stays busy chasing her 2-year-old son, Lincoln, around with her husband Zach.

Jennifer Casey

Jacksonville, Fla.
Duval Soil and Water Conservation District

“A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.” -Joe DiMaggio


Jennifer Casey is the granddaughter of sharecroppers and her family has lived in Jacksonville for three generations. Her 43 years have been filled with books, music, faith and a large extended family. She is enormously grateful to share life with her husband of 22 years and their three children in a beautiful and diverse city on the St. Johns River.

Jennifer’s background as an educator helps her promote conservation and stewardship. She has taught middle school for over a decade and she is passionate about leaving a legacy of natural resource preservation for the next generation. In 2018, she was elected to the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District board where she currently serves as Chair. She has expanded their student programs and has transformed a regional event to create awareness about urban agriculture into a mentorship program for beginning farmers. More recently, she led the community in establishing Regeneration Park, the conservation district’s first demonstration project on public land.

As she serves the community, Jennifer is a partner with agencies and organizations meeting local conservation needs, a champion of agricultural education and a committed advocate of soil and water stewardship. In the future, Jennifer wants to engage with policy experts at all levels of government to help stakeholders understand that to the degree that we value stewardship and conservation, the long-term sustainability of our natural resources is more secure.

Jennifer Casey Photo
Jamie Irving Photo

Jamie Irving

Meredith, N.H.
Belknap County Conservation District

“If you care about something you have to protect it – if you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” – John Irving

Though currently residing in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, Jamie has lived and traveled throughout the United States, Caribbean and Central America. After briefly attending college in both Wyoming and Colorado, Jamie returned to New Hampshire to finish an undergraduate degree in environmental studies at Colby-Sawyer College. He continued on to Antioch New England University for a Master of Science in environmental resource management and administration. Jamie has worked with and for a number of non-profit organizations focused on conservation, environmental education and eco-literacy, lastly at the Virgin Island Environmental Resource Station.

In addition to the Belknap County Conservation District, Jamie sits on the board of directors for several other organizations, including the Waukewan Watershed Advisory Committee and the Merrimack Valley Assistance Program.

Jamie owns and operates North Wing Design and Permit, a company focusing on environmental permitting within the state of New Hampshire. When Jamie isn’t working, he can be found snorkeling or scuba diving most of the year in the lakes, rivers and ponds of central New Hampshire.

Vaughn T. Poe

Sawyerville, Ala.
Hale County SWCD

“I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed.”- Booker T. Washington

Vaughn T. is a retired Marine Corps Officer with a passion for people, agriculture and innovation. He has served in leadership capacities across the globe; spanning over two decades, including several combat tours. Having no heir property or generational assets, he purchased, built, and maintains PoeFolks Cattle Company, LLC; a registered Brangus operation nestled in rural West Alabama.

Vaughn T. serves on multiple local, state and national boards, committees and organizations. To name a few roles: 1st Vice President of the National Association of RC&D Councils (NARCDC), Vice-Chair of the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation State Committee (SWCC), County President of the Greene County Cattleman’s Association (NCBA-affiliate) and State Executive Director of the Alabama Real Estate Commission. With a lengthy practical and academic background in Cyber Security Engineering, the serenity of farming and working the land gives him peace of mind and wholeness of heart.

He is currently completing a Doctoral degree in Cyber Security. Vaughn T. is a servant-leader, humbled by time, and always ready for the next push forward.

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Terri Preeg-Riggsby

Portland, Ore.
West Multnomah SWCD

“We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.”
– Jimmy Carter.

Terri is an experienced, publicly-elected leader with a demonstrated history of successfully working in the conservation field. She is skilled in Watershed Management, Policy Analysis, Collaborative Decision-making, Performance Auditing, Public Speaking and Grant Writing.

Terri has over 20 years of experience as a public sector and non-profit professional, with a MPA focused in Natural Resource Management & Policy from Portland State University and a BA in Journalism from James Madison University. She is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Sustainability from Harvard University and serves as Chair and Director of the West Multnomah SWCD, President of the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts and NACD’s Oregon Representative.

Josh Smith

Mesilla Park, N.M.
Dona Ana Soil and Water Conservation District

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…” – Theodore Roosevelt

Josh is a practicing attorney with the Law Office of Joshua L. Smith, LLC in New Mexico, focused on water rights, real estate, business law, commercial transactions, agricultural law and estate planning and has over 15 years of experience doing so. Josh is also a licensed real estate broker in New Mexico focused on Farm and Ranch, Commercial and Residential transactions and a part-time farmer and rancher.

Josh is a father to three amazing children and husband to a wonderful wife. He serves as a board member on the Dona Ana Soil and Water Conservation District‘s Board in southern New Mexico. He is current vice-president of the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts and the Southwest Region Vice-Chair for the National Association of Conservation Districts.

Josh Smith Headshot - Josh Smith
Samuel Grant Victor Photo

Samuel “Grant” Victor, Jr.

Afton, Okla.
Ottawa County CD

“Through conservation programs on my land; I am able to leave a future for my children and grandchildren.”

Grant is fortunate to be able to reside on his great grandmother’s Cherokee Indian allotment as a 4th generation farmer/rancher. He assisted with this endeavor with my wife and three sons. Each generation practiced and taught the importance of preserving our natural resources.

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