Community Development Society

News and Information

Community Development Data Viz - June 2015

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Community development word cloud

 

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Rural broadband connectivity

 

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Community Leaders and their qualities

 

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Diversity in American Politics

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Come home to CDS this summer

By Dave Lamie

As Summer draws near, I hope that you are able to take some time to step away from your normal activities, spend quality time with family and friends, and recharge your enthusiasm for the certain challenges that lie ahead. One of the qualities that many community development professionals share is a certain confidence in the face of a challenge. I would go so far as to say that many even go out of their way to face these challenges, often head-on. If that is you, then be especially sure to spend the time you need to heal your recent battle wounds and restore your energy and enthusiasm for what lies ahead. If you are less inclined to risk, then perhaps this summer will be a time for you to consider what act of courage you will explore for the coming year.

Whether you need to heal and recover, or discover your act of courage, one of the best ways for you to do this is in the company of others faced with the same challenges. Further, one of the best places to find these others is at the annual CDS Conference, this year July 20-23 in Lexington, Kentucky. There you will be challenged, perhaps beyond your comfort zone. There you will find the healing balm you seek to restore your courage to face the challenges that lie ahead with confidence. There, you will gain new knowledge, reconnect with old friends, and find new ones amongst people who share many of your deepest values and professional interests. I doubt you will find this unique group of individuals anywhere else on the planet.

As I wind down my term as President, I am pleased to see CDS doing so well. Our membership is growing, our board is strong, we have a solid lineup of future Presidents, our conferences have been excellent and we have several more great ones in planning stages, and our financial house is in order. All of this did not happen overnight and it could only happen with so many of you stepping forward to play your part, putting service above self. Though the last three years as VP Operations, VP Program, and then President have seen their challenges, because of this great community we call CDS, we were able to face them with confidence.  

I wish you a safe and rewarding continuation of your Summer and  I look forward to seeing many of you in Lexington!   

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Peace Leadership for Community Development

By Whitney McIntyre Miller

Today I want to introduce you to a new model, which has broad implications for community development.  Coming from the field of leadership studies, peace leadership is a new sub-field that builds upon leadership studies, peace studies, and conflict resolution.  Peace leadership is an emerging area of study, and I am pleased to be working at the start of such an interesting movement.

The model that I have been working on with a colleague is called the “Integral Perspective of Peace Leadership”.  The model builds off of Ken Wilber’s integral theory and focuses on peace leadership as a space to work in four areas collectively: innerwork, or reflective self-development practices; theories and processes, or the mechanisms which we build peace in ourselves and communities; communities of practices, or the collective spaces where we take up this work; and globality of the field, or the broader systemic relationships we have with each other and the environment.  The notion of the model is to build our collective leadership capacity for peace in all arenas of life- both in terms of challenging existing structures and mechanisms of violence and building new structures and societies in the image of peace.

This model is important to community development, as it challenges us to move beyond the valuable work we do in creating robust communities of practice with strong theoretical underpinnings to continue to grow our focus on systems thinking; drawing broader connections beyond the communities with which we work; and also focusing on each of our own innerwork.  Building upon our innerwork, with practices such as mindfulness, meditation, authenticity, empathy, help us to, in turn, build stronger communities, which are then more connected to their broader, surrounding environment.  The model allows us to envision our communities as those comprised of reflective individuals who collectively form a strong focused whole- understanding our shared needs and how these connect with the broader society and environment.  If we can work to build such communities, perhaps we can further challenge the violence of the day and build a world in which we all want to live.  I hope you will explore not just this model of peace leadership, but the broader notions of peace leadership in your community development practice.

 

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Community Development Leader Janet Ayres lauded for Career Contributions


Purdue’s University retiring faculty member Dr. Janet Ayres was recently honored by the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development with a new major award at its annual fall conference.  The award, presented by Indiana’s Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, was intended to recognize the recipient of the inaugural
John Niederman Rural Development Leadership Award.  According to the October 15, 2014 Carroll County Comet[1], Lt. Governor Ellspermann said, “For more than three decades, Dr. Janet Ayres has worked to improve the quality of life in rural Indiana by building the skills, knowledge and leadership capacity of its residents. She has worked tirelessly in support of conservation, playing an instrumental role in developing the leadership development program for the Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors.”

“Janet Ayres was an inspiring partner in region-wide initiatives for much of her career, and was a real force in pulling the North Central state extension program leaders together as a team during her stint in that role as the representative from Purdue,” said Scott Loveridge, Director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.  Among her accomplishments is leading authorship of the widely recognized NCRCRD-published “Take Charge: Economic Development in Small Communities” a curriculum that was widely implemented by Extension professional across the country in the 1990s.

Dr. Janet Ayers made a significant contribution to the Community Development profession and the Community Development Society adds its thanks and best wishes on the occasion of her retirement. 

 



[1] http://www.carrollcountycomet.com/news/2014-10-15/Community/Ayres_is_recognized_for_her_work_with_community_ec.html

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Community Development Data Viz - May 2015

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President's Update - Engaging community development

By Dave Lamie
 
I sometimes struggle trying to find something worthwhile to say in these columns.   Some of you are probably saying “we’ve noticed”.  For now, I will just choose to ignore the nay-sayers and proceed with my usual approach of sharing some rather personal dimension of myself with the hopes that it might strike a similar chord in others.   My justification for being somewhat personal is intentional and grounded in my belief that really good community development is not so much about technical assistance as it is about relationship.  If I am going to be effective at all as a community developer, then I must have some sort of authentic sense of caring about the community’s well-being.  I’m not sure exactly where this empathy originates.  But, many speculate that it’s origins are biological, learned behavior, or even divine in nature.  Perhaps it is all three.  Who’s to definitely say?  What I do think is that it works this way.  I’ve simply got to care if it’s going to work well.  The most satisfaction I’ve ever felt in my work as a community developer has come when I truly cared, and when I was able to effect a positive difference in the object of my caring.   Absent caring, all of the tools, technologies, techniques, and resources our modern world has made available, simply do not generate the same results…definitely in me, perhaps in the community.  
 
Enough preaching…because I am confident that I am preaching to the amazing CDS Choir!  What I’d rather us be better at is actively listening to our membership.   The CDS Board exists for the purpose of better serving you, our members.  We are developing online tools in our website project that should help in this regard.  Be looking for these to roll out in the near future…and ENGAGE!  The annual conference in Lexington is going to be amazing.  Gisele Hamm, Ron Hustedde, Dan Kahl, and others involved in the local host committee are doing a spectacular job of organizing a truly groundbreaking event!  Registration is now open!  So, please register as early as possible and encourage your friends and colleagues to join you!!!  
 
Looking forward, we have Minnesota squarely in our sights for the 2016 conference and it is already beginning to take shape.  We are reviewing proposals for future years and are very much open to exploring ideas for subsequent years.   It is pretty fair to say that the more lead time we have to work on a conference, the more degrees of freedom we have to work with to maximize the experience for all.  
 
Please read the remainder of this newsletter and think of ways that you can deepen your engagement with CDS.  And, hopefully, we will see you in Lexington!
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Community Development Data Viz - April 2015

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Migration network analysis

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Carbon dioxide consumption in honor of Earth Day on April 22

 

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School districts using local foods

 

 

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Food assistance costs falling

 

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High cost of wetland restoration

 

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Percentage on WIC support

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Looking for a career in community development?

By Cindy Banyai

Lots of members of the Community Development Society have eagerly been sharing job listings with organizations they know in the hopes of bringing high quality and motivated people into the field. Below are some of the most recent opening. 

Local Government Specialist - UW Extension, Deadline May 18
Community, Natural Resource And Economic Development Agent - UW Extension, Deadline May 12
 
Community Development ProfessionalFederal Reserve Bank of Chicago
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President's Update - Finding a sense of community

b2ap3_thumbnail_e303e2027514497aaa0603a129a3eb42_S.jpg By Dave Lamie

I just returned from a family vacation where we spent nine days on a sailboat with another family. We were in the Caribbean where we spent time in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Martinique. The sailing part of the trip was certainly enjoyable, even adventurous.But, the most interesting part was interacting with the people who call their island home. There was some apparent variation in wealth across the islands. Some islands were expansive and mountainous enough to trap clouds, resulting in rainfall, encouraging agriculture and food production. Other, smaller islands, were largely dependent on their larger island neighbors for water and fresh food. Many were living a hand-to-mouth existence. Even so, there was a certain overall happiness, even joyfulness, in the way these people interacted with each other and with visitors like us. And,  there were situations where it was apparent that those who especially needed assistance were getting what they needed from family and neighbors. Despite the fragility of their economic circumstances, there was a tangible sense of community that buoyed their existence. 
 
This trip has caused me to be a bit more reflective of what truly matters as I work with communities, groups, and individuals. Material wealth is only one dimension of development and, perhaps, not as important as many other dimensions. And, it likely matters what we do with our material wealth.  The Community Development Society has gone through periods where our lack of material wealth was an issue. We are currently, by no means, a wealthy organization. But, we are not living hand-to-mouth anymore. This provides our organization with opportunities to consider how we can help better support our members in their community development work. This does not mean that we are in a position to support the causes of individual members or interest groups, but, it does mean that we can better support initiatives that broadly represent our membership.  
 
All indications are that the 2015 CDS conference is going to be stellar.  Thought not the only means to become involved in the work of CDS, the annual conference represents the most effective way for our members to network with each other, with new members, and with invited guests --- while building their knowledge of community development issues, programs, and practices. It is a time of celebration of our achievements and setting course for new adventures in community development work. Be looking for registration to open soon!
 
The search for the next editor to take the helm of the Journal continues. If you or someone you know is interested, please do not hesitate to contact me so we can discuss in more detail. As you know,  the Journal is one of the most important activities that CDS supports, so we need to find the right person who can help us continue to provide this resource to the profession.  
 
My wish is that you may prosper professionally and personally in the coming month.
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Moving Beyond the Silos in Community Development

By Chris Marko, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), Community Development Society (CDS) Vice President of Operations

“The reality today is that we are all interdependent and have to co-exist on this small planet. Therefore, the only sensible and intelligent way of resolving differences and clashes of interests, whether between individuals or nations, is through dialogue.”

 - The Dalai Lama

As Community Developers we understand connections between programs, within communities, the environment. That is one of the fundamental reasons we call ourselves “community developers”. We do not focus on one issue, one program, and try to promote inclusive behavior to solve problems. Still, in our professions and lives we often face the challenge of limits, the need to exclude a particular issue from the dialogue or activity, the focus on a program deliverable for measurable outcomes. How do we balance the multiple values associated with community while maintaining focus on particular facets within community, our work, programs, and issues? CDS Principles of Good Practice can help overcome barriers within communities, programs, and issues to promote greater value in our work.

Listening to be inclusive is an important best practice that helps in community development work I work with small communities on water and wastewater projects. Rural communities often have limited staff, knowledge of programs, funding, and capacity to take on projects. In small towns folks tend to be individualistic, and at the same time, cooperative. Life is at a different pace than larger cities and work involves conversations about many things. It is not common for me to spend a significant amount of time listening and talking about the on goings within the community, stories about certain individuals, what is going on at the state level, how rural communities are left out of the equation. Still, my overall purpose is to help with the water project, but there is much more to the community than just the water project. By embracing the conversation, I am able to build trust, better understand people in the community, what is going on, and how to approach my work.  In addition, I learn about other needs and opportunities to assist the community. Even if I do not have the expertise, I try to find information, resources, and people who might be able to help. This is also another important aspect of being a community developer.

Knowing your program, expertise, or “niche” is important in being an effective community developer. At the same time, knowing as much about other programs and resources is important in providing valuable service to communities. Communities do not operate in a vacuum. They are dynamic, changing, sometimes daily, and programs are becoming more complex. It is rare a project is funded under one source so as community developers we must broaden our understanding of what is available to help communities achieve their goals. A benefit to this involves helping a community to think creatively about how they develop a project. What are some additional benefits a project may have to the community beyond water? Impact on other values. The community capitals framework, as well as other approaches including WealthWorks, promotes an understanding of values: intellectual, social, individual, environmental, built, political, and financial (and cultural depending on the model). By viewing the community in more holistic manner one can consider the potential impact on multiple values, and leverage additional resources one might not have considered with an initial project.

Collaboration is key to moving beyond silos in community development. In recent years funding for programs were cut at the federal, state, and local levels. Many folks lost their jobs, and agencies and organizations were forced to retreat into silos for survival. Keeping current services going became a priority, and many services discontinued. Collaboration and long range thinking became less important than day to day internal operations for many organizations to ensure accountability with programs, deliverables, and specific outcomes related to individual programs to show value to funders. During tough times our tendency may be to retract, but collaboration and partnership building can also have the benefit of opening doors to opportunities. In our modern world of information technology, complexity, and social media, networking is becoming more of the norm. Networks offer opportunities for learning, relationship building, and connectedness essential for communities, and community development. Part of the challenge becomes sorting through which information is most useful, or relevant, to goals you are trying to achieve! As our world continues to evolve through technology and understanding of connectedness we can find a wealth of opportunity at our finger tips, and by collaborating with others who align with our interests.  In community development, that interest involves expanding horizons to support community with dynamic, connected, mutually supportive people. CDS continues to foster best practices involving open inclusive behavior, understanding connections between people, programs, and issues, and collaboration for quality communities.  

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President's Update - Getting a Pulse on Our Profession

By Dave Lamie
 
Over the past several months I have been formulating a set of questions, or perhaps hypotheses, that I do not think can be answered fully without some serious effort to collect and evaluate data and synthesize the results. You see, as President of CDS, I can say something about the "State of the Society". I can say something about the organizations's fiscal health, our membership, and our ability to produce measurable outcomes like the Vanguard, the Journal, CD Practice, and our annual conference. I can read committee reports to learn about the depth and breadth of involvement of the membership in the life of the organization. I can observe who is willing to serve in leadership roles through the slate of officers we put forward.  And, I can even see how many of you actually vote!
 
However, when I step back from the organization and begin to contemplate the well-being of the overall field of community development, I am not sure I can even fully visualize what should be measured, let alone have any confidence that I can easily lay my hands on appropriate data that will provide conclusive answers, or even good insights. In an age where I can strap a device on my wrist that will tell me fairly objectively how my body is performing, I find this troubling. You see, no single organization that I know of has taken it upon themselves to provide a "State of the Profession" report.  
 
I can imagine having a community development "dash board" where the key indicators of well-being of the profession could be displayed both instantaneously and historically. If well-conceived and appropriately executed, such information could find a multitude of uses. Organizations like CDS could use it to make strategic decisions about how to best serve the profession.  Students and student mentors could use it to help guide professional development activities.  Service providers could use it to better design interventions or to target new audiences.  Thought leaders and academics could use it to help re-direct the profession if they thought it important to do so. I'm just touching the tip of the iceberg, but already I think many will agree with me that having such information would be quite helpful.
 
Some of these thoughts are coming to me because I've heard some from within my own professional setting as a Land Grant University Professor and Extension Specialist that CD Extension programs are growing in many regions of the country, but shrinking in other regions. In many states in the Southeast (mine included),  CD Extension programs are finding success in areas like local food system development where there are pretty strong ties to agricultural community and to the agriculture lobby --- within our administrators comfort zone. This is occurring while CD programs in other subject matter areas are seeing a diminishing role. The key thing is that we are bringing our knowledge and skills in community development into this domain. I am confident that many of you working in other professional settings are carrying on similar conversations about the future of the profession. 
 
Over the course of the next few years, CDS will be likely be collaborating with other organizations in new ways, especially with the conference. This should present opportunities for us to learn more about what the future of the profession holds in store for all of us. Perhaps we ought to even consider encouraging some of our CD thought leaders and academics --- both young and less young --- to take on the task of reflecting on the question of "community development as a profession?" and sharing the results of their thinking with all of us at a conference or through journal articles. In the meantime, I encourage all to plan to register for the conference this year in Lexington, Kentucky where we can gather and at least informally begin to assess the state of our profession.  By doing so, you will be contributing to the vitality of CDS as well as influencing, at least in some small way, the vitality of the larger profession.
 
Oh, Happy Spring!
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New Community Development Program at University of Ireland Galway

Our colleagues at the University of Ireland Galway have a new graduate program to offer, the MA in Sustainable Communities and Development in either a one year (full-time) or two year (part-time ) format. The program combines sustainability studies with community development, planning and social policy. They describe it as: imparting a strong understanding of the significant social, economic, cultural, ecological and place-related concerns and potentials facing today's communities and prepares students to work as effective change agents towards more just and sustainable communities. In an effort to plan for and create more livable, equitable and resilient communities, this Programme equips students with the knowledge and skill-set to become skilled practitioners with transferable skills and knowledge to work effectively in and with community projects and initiatives in a wide range of areas. Please help spread the word about this new program in community development, and see more details at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/taught-postgraduate-courses/sustainable-communities-development.html. Dr. Brian McGrath can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Great faculty and a fabulous location!

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Community Development Data Viz - March 2015

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Community Development Data Viz - February 2015

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President's Update - Plow through for community development

By Dave Lamie

It's hard to believe that the middle of February has already passed us by. A recent notice of a dear friend learning that she has cancer and a colleague who suddenly lost her mother gives me pause. Many of you have experienced similar events either directly yourselves or in relation to family, friends, or colleagues. The more mature we come, the more often these reminders of life's fleetingness and human frailty occur. It as at these times that we may also encounter the power of community to help buoy us up to face the adversities of life.

One of my most memorable college teachers used to deliver a lecture entitled "the plow" to help us reflect on how we would respond to life's challenges. As the mule pulls the plow, it slices through the soil with forward momentum, leaving a clean, weed-free furrow behind. This represents our life when we feel we are making progress and all is going well. But, fields often have rocks laying hidden beneath the surface, and sometimes they are big and firmly planted. Some plows are built on a rigid frame, and when they hit such a rock, they often break, requiring substantial repair. Sometimes they are so broken they simply must be returned to the smelter. Technological advances produced a plow that would spring backward when it encountered the rock. The plow operator would need to stop and reset the heavy spring-loaded mechanism before proceeding. Some later tractor-driven models were similar, but they only needed the operator to stop and reverse the tractor in order to reset the blade. Later versions included an auto-reset feature that would trip the blade back when it hit the rock, but it would automatically reset; no stopping or reversing required.

The question left with us at the end of this talk was "what kind of plow are you"?  How will you respond to the challenges that life brings you. We know that it is part of the human condition that we will face many challenges in our lives. We surely have some choice over how we will respond to these challenges and that we can likely build resiliency and capacity as individuals to help. But, what roles can the community play to help strengthen and build the networks of support necessary for individuals to be more resilient? What can we do collectively that individuals cannot do for themselves? Who are those in our communities that are not benefitting from what the community can provide them? Can a robust community that truly cares for and provides for all individuals expect reciprocity from those individuals who benefit? Can we, as community developers, truly help to create these kinds of communities or is this just too daunting a task?

As we all make preparations to gather at our annual conference in July in Lexington, Kentucky, I challenge you to consider how important it is that we, as community development practitioners, find our own community of interest to help support us in the daunting challenge of, each in our own way, helping to create communities that make a strong and lasting impact on the lives of individuals. Never has it been more important for all of us to have a strong network of friends and colleagues who are bound by a common interest in making this world a better place through making stronger, more resilient communities. We hope to see you there!

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Call for CDS Award Nominations

Each year we invite you to reflect on the outstanding accomplishments made in the field of community development as we issue the call for award nominations.  The Society may present up to nine awards annualy that recognize long-standing service to the organization, outstanding and innovative research, teaching and programs, and the students, new professionals, and friends that help ensure our pracitce endures.  

The full call for award nominations and nomination form is available here.  Nominations are due by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 15, 2015.  Award recepients will be honored formally during the annual Awards and Recognition Banquet that will take place during the Annual International Conference that will be held on July 19-22, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky.  

Summaries of the awards presented by the Society are listed below. Please consider submitting a nomination to recognize the oustanding accomplishments of your colleagues and friends.

Duane L. Gibson Distinguished Service Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of superior and long-standing service to the field of community development, and, in particular, work for the advancement of the Society.  Current officers and Board members are not eligible for this award.

Ted K. Bradshaw Outstanding Research Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of a significant stream of superior research which exemplifies and positively impacts community development practice and represents a lasting contribution to the field. The award will recognize research which reflects the Principles of Good Practice throughout the research process. Only one Outstanding Research Award may be bestowed by the Society each year.

Community Development Achievement Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution to community development.  The person may be recognized for teaching, research, programming, administration or any combination of these roles.

Outstanding Program Award 

Presented to a CDS member or a group in recognition of completion of superior programming that exemplifies and positively influences community development practice.  The award will recognize a program that reflects the Principles of Good Practice throughout the implementation process.

Innovative Program Award

Presented to a CDS member or a group in recognition of a superior innovative program using the principles of good practice as adopted by the Society.

Donald W. Littrell New Professional Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of a superior contribution to the field of community development and the Society.

Current Research Award

Presented to a CDS member in recognition of a current research project(s) or product that represents an important contribution to the field of community development.

Student Recognition Award

Presented to a CDS member who is either an undergraduate or graduate student, in recognition of his or her contribution to community development through a paper, an article, a field project or internship, or other applied research.

Friend of Community Development Award

Presented to a person who is not a CDS member, but who has made a significant contribution to the field of community development.  This contribution could have been accomplished through his or her role as author, educator, administrator (public or private sector), community organizer, or elected or appointed official.

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Passing of Del Yoder

For those of you who have been involved in the Community Development Society for a long time, the name Del Yoder probably rings a bell. He was quite involved in the Society until his retirement from West Virginia University about 15 years ago or so.

Unfortunately, Del, 83, of Morgantown, WV, died Jan. 30, in Bali, Indonesia. He was hiking in the green hills near Ubud when he slipped at the rim of a deep ravine and was instantly killed. Delmar Ray Yoder was born in Kalona, Iowa. He is survived by his wife, Linda; three sons; and four grandchildren.

An early volunteer experience at Calling Lake, Alberta, Canada, set a pattern for his life. After receiving a degree in biology in 1961, from Eastern Mennonite University, Del and his wife went to Timor, Indonesia, where they managed a program of village-level agricultural education and community development. This program introduced a high-yield corn seed that helped the early season food shortage.

Del earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Wisconsin before going to work at Iowa State University as an Extension Community and Economic development Specialist. His next appointment was at West Virginia University in a similar role. During the years in WV, he created Owl Creek Farm, where he did mixed farming and rescued and restored old log buildings. He is best known for his strawberries. He was a member of the Clinton District Volunteer Fire Department. Del was an officer in the Community Development Society, a member of the Rural Sociological Society, active in the North American Strawberry Growers Association and a regular participant at the Creative Problem Solving Institute. He was a lifelong member of the Mennonite Church.

A remembrance service was held in Bali on Feb. 3, attended by friends from many nations, followed by a cremation. A celebration of his life will be scheduled later in Morgantown. Donations in his memory are invited to two of the many causes dear to his heart: care for the environment and teaching peace for a better world. Contact The Nature Conservancy, at nature.org, or the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, at emu.edu/cjp. Condolences may be sent to the family at: 640 Goshen Road, Morgantown, WV 26508-2431.

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CD downunder

The New Zealand community Development conference www.unitec.ac.nz/cdconference has sold out and closed registration. A waiting list is beink kept by conference manager abhishek, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All conference papers are now online

 

best wishes

 

John Stansfield

Conference chair

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Community Development Data Viz - January 2015

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Editor's Pick 2014: Best of Charts of Note - USDA

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Member Benefits - Job Forum

By Cindy Banyai

Did you know there is a Jobs Forum on the new Community Development Society website? It's one of the great new members-only features we've added. The forum is a way for hard working CD job seekers to better connect with opportunities that are aligned with their skill set. Here's how to access it:

  1. Login to the CDS website
  2. Scroll and and click "Forum" in the bulleted list under the login box
  3. Click the right index tag (although many of the most recently posted jobs will be right there in front of you on the landing page!!).
  4. Check out all the great jobs in Community Development

Hope that helps! Good luck!

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