Jones Named First Sponsorship Recipient

Jones Named First Sponsorship Recipient

Thursday, October 28, 2021
Amy Jones, executive director of Prairie Plains Resource Institute in Aurora, will be the first recipient of the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy sponsorship from the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District. This sponsorship opportunity was announced in 2020 and Jones is the first person to apply for the program through the NRD.
 
Jones has been with Prairie Plains for 17 years and was recently named to the top leadership position.  Previously, she served as the administrative director, office manager, and development coordinator for the organization. She also has experience in sales, marketing, and media in the banking and telecommunications fields.
 
In a letter of support submitted by Brad Bangs, president of the Prairie Plains Resource Institute Board of Directors, Jones was described as “a strong communicator” with “intense passion for connecting people of all ages with the land.”
 
Jones says that she is interested in the Water Leaders Academy for “the opportunity to learn more about water resources in Nebraska and to be a part of conversations regarding our natural resource challenges and opportunities with other leaders from around the state.”
 
The Nebraska Water Leaders Academy seeks to provide learning opportunities to citizens that focus on cooperative approaches to solving the state’s water issues, both of quantity and quality. Since 2009, cohorts of people from across the state (and a few from beyond Nebraska’s boarders) have participated in the year-long program, seeking practical solutions to resource challenges. The program includes six 1.5-day sessions held at various locations across Nebraska, featuring expert faculty, field trips to see Nebraska’s natural resources up close, hands-on educational opportunities, and networking with other professionals.
 
This training will make Jones a more valuable resource to the district, as her work with Prairie Plains will dovetail neatly with the goals of the Water Leaders Academy and the NRD.
 
Prairie Plains Resource Institute has been providing high-diversity, local-ecotype prairie restoration services in southeast Nebraska since 1980. The institute owns eight prairie preserves across the state and offers several award-winning summer education programs for youth. “Grasslands provide valuable filtering services to our water resources, and our prairie restoration efforts are often conducted on or near watersheds,” said Jones. “It would be beneficial to hear more about how our services could be offered to a larger audience to help improve water quality issues while enhancing habitat and providing more natural spaces for people to enjoy.”
 
The sponsorship through the NRD will reimburse Jones for 75 percent ($1,500) of the cost of her participation in the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy. The purpose of this sponsorship is to provide training to those who may eventually serve on the NRD board of directors or in another water leadership capacity. This sponsorship opportunity is limited to those who reside in the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District, though anyone may apply to the Nebraska Water Leaders Academy. The selected applicant is expected to give a brief presentation to the board upon completing the program.
 
Next year’s applications for the 2023 Nebraska Water Leaders Academy sponsorship through the NRD will be due September 1. Application information may be found at: https://www.upperbigblue.org/education.