Senior Chronicles

We salute our Senior Conservationists for building and maintaining a very strong agency.   Your years have been many, and we hope there are many more healthy and happy ones in your future.

Current Senior Conservationists

Deceased Senior Conservationists

The following Senior Conservationists were highlighted in the ARCSE Newsletters. 

To access a list of Senior Conservationists from 2020 – 2022, click here

James Abbott was born in 1924 on a farm in the Bradshaw community near Abilene, Texas as one of seven children. James has three brothers and three sisters. One of his brothers, Everett, was a long-time SCS/NRCS employee.

James graduated from Bradshaw High School in 1942 and joined the Marines soon after graduation. James was placed in a parachute battery where he served in 1942 and 1943. After James’ military duty he attended Texas Technological College (Texas Tech University) where he graduated with a BS degree in 1947and a MS degree in Soil Science 1948.

Following graduation, James started to work for the USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS). The SCS sent James to four different universities for more training. James worked as a soil scientist in Lamesa, Texas and Littlefield, Texas prior to becoming the Area Conservationist at Lubbock, Texas.

On December 23, 1945, James married Euna Hart in Lubbock, Texas. James lost Euna November 15, 2015. James and Euna were blessed to have three daughters born to their marriage.

In 1961 James was promoted to Assistant State Conservationist stationed at the state office in Temple, Texas. James served in several positions in the SCS/NRCS Texas State Office until he retired in 1994.

James started playing golf when he was about forty years old and was a very good golfer. James has not played golf recently. Jim will be 98 years old in October, and It may be time to retire his golf clubs.

Our May, 2022 Senior Conservationist, Rich Duesterhaus was born March 28, 1939, at Quincy, IL, the oldest of nine children. Rich’s family had a small truck farm. The farm raised tomatoes, sweet corn, and a variety of other vegetables, which were sold to local grocers or on the wholesale market. He attended local schools and after high school attended the University of Illinois where he earned the Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics (Farm Management) in 1960. During his university years, he worked as a Student Trainee with SCS. Rich served as an officer in the U.S. Army with active duty from 1961-62 (18 months). He served in the Army Reserves and National Guard until 1970.
He began his full-time SCS career as a Soil Conservationist after graduation. In all, between 1959 and 1970 in Illinois, Rich served as Student Trainee in two locations, Soil Conservationist in three locations, Work Unit District Conservationist in two locations, Resource Conservationist for eight Districts, and Acting Area Conservationist. From 1970 to 1973, Rich held the position of Assistant State Conservationist for Operations at Syracuse. During this period, he earned the Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts (1970) and the Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University (1971). In 1973 he was selected State Conservationist for Maine. He held that position until 1975, when he began his career at SCS National Headquarters.
Between 1975 and 1997 when he retired, Rich held the following senior leadership positions with SCS/NRCS and USDA: Assistant to the Administrator for Environmental Development, Assistant Administrator for Planning & Evaluation, Assistant Chief for the Northeast, Assistant Chief for the Midwest, Deputy Chief for Science and Technology, a one-year assignment to the Office of the USDA Secretary as Coordinator for Land, Air, Water, and Solid Waste; six month assignment as Deputy Assistant Secretary; and a shorter detail to the Office of Management and Budget.
Rich has continued to be vitally involved in conservation matters following retirement. His work after retiring included serving as a contractor on projects for SWCS, Partners in Parks, and the National Association of Conservation Districts. Over the last 20-plus years he has been employed by the National Association of Conservation Districts serving in a number of positions, including Director of Government Affairs, Northeast Regional Representative, Director of Projects and Partnerships, and Senior Advisor. He currently holds the latter position. For the past 14 years he served on a part-time basis as the Executive Director of the National Conservation District Employees Association (NCDEA). He ended that position in February of 2022.
Rich and Judie Krapausky married in 1961and were married over 44 years before she passed in 2006. He married Jude Mollenhauer in 2011. Rich has six sons and two daughters, 21 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Family activities are a very important part of his life.
In addition to family activities, Rich has been and remains active in church and community life. Rich is an Eagle Scout and has over 50 years of service as a BSA volunteer leader. He has also been a Girl Scouts of America volunteer leader. He has served on and chaired his Church Parish Council. He has served on the Board and as Vice-President and President of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. He was a founding board member and Chair for 18 years for the Shepherds Center of Northern Virginia (a non-profit organization that provides services and programs for older community citizens). Rich still serves on this Board. And, he has served as Board Member, Vice President, and President of the Association of Retired SCS Employees (now ARCSE).

Our March 2022 Senior Conservationist Paul H. Calverley was born August 27, 1938, in the Los Angeles, California, area near the San Gabriel Mountains. His family owned a lemon grove there. Paul graduated from Camarillo High School and attended the University of California at Davis. During his college years he had summer employment with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Paul married Harriet in 1960. He graduated in 1961 with a B.S. degree in Range Management.

Paul’s first job with SCS was in Canyon City, OR, as range conservationist. He was promoted in grade while there. His next position was as District Conservationist (DC) at Baker, OR. Following Baker, Paul was transferred to Fossil, OR, as a GS-11 DC. From Fossil he went to Le Grand, OR, as DC. Paul was promoted to Area Conservationist (AC) at Grants Pass, OR, then to Albany, OR, as AC. Paul then was promoted to Assistant State Conservationist for Operations at Reno, NV. From Reno Paul moved to Davis, CA, as Deputy State Conservationist. Paul was later promoted to State Conservationist for Idaho. Paul was selected to participate in the Legislative Fellowship Program. He was assigned to the office of then Oklahoma U.S. Senator David Boren. Paul completed his 34-year conservation career in 1994.

Paul and Harriet remained in Boise following his retirement. They have a row-crop farm in Idaho and a timber/pasture operation in Oregon. Paul has been a Supervisor on the Ada County (ID) Soil and Water Conservation District Board for many years. He served as its chairperson for eight years. Paul is proud of the Ada District’s accomplishments. There is an active urban conservation program as well as a range and cropland program component. The District has an active pollinator program, too.

Paul and Harriet have two sons and five granddaughters. They are active in their church and enjoy spending time in their wooded acreage in Oregon. Paul said that he feels truly blessed. He observed that he has noticed that when things in life aren’t going well it has been important for him to look beyond the difficulty – to have faith.

Our January 2022 Senior Conservationist is Senior Conservationist James H. (“Jim”) Canterberry was born September 28, 1937, in Forest Hill, WV. Forest Hill is about 40 miles southeast of Beckley, WV. Jim grew up on his family’s farm which raised cattle and sheep. He attended local schools and graduated from Forest Hill High School then enrolled in West Virginia University. Jim graduated with a BS degree in Animal Husbandry in 1959. During his university years he worked three summers as a Student Trainee.

Upon graduation in June of 1959 he accepted an entry-level position as Soil Conservationist at Princeton, WV. Jim decided to volunteer for military service rather than face the uncertainty of when he would be drafted.  He entered the U, S. Army in September 1959; after basic and advanced training he was sent to Germany where he served as an administrative section chief in the 24th Infantry Division. He was honorably discharged at Fort Hamilton, NY, in September 1961. Jim then returned to Princeton, WV, where he was Soil Conservationist. In March 1962 he was promoted to soil Conservationist (GS-7) at Parkersburg, WV. Two years later he was promoted to District Conservationist at Huntington. In 1967 Jim accepted promotion to District Conservationist at Charleston where over the course of his three years there he was promoted in-place to GS-12. In 1971, he accepted the job of Area Conservationist at Edenton, NC. In 1975 he was brought into the SCS State Office in Raleigh as State Resource Conservationist. He served SCS in Raleigh from 1975 until he retired. During this period there were several reorganizations of the office during which Jim served as Assistant State Conservationist for Programs and Assistant State Conservationist for Technology. With the arrival of a new State Conservationist in 1995 Jim was asked where he felt he could best serve. Jim was reassigned the role of State Resource Conservationist and it is from that position that he retired in 1997. During his career, Jim received several outstanding ratings. He was also selected as a Fellow of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Jim has been very active during his retirement. From 1997 until 2018 he was an instructor of persons seeking certification in wastewater management through North Carolina State University. He has been very active through NC Baptist Men and their disaster relief activities. Jim has worked on water assessment in Togo, Africa, farm assessments in Honduras following Hurricane Mitch, and housing construction in El Salvador. He has made seven trips to the Gulfport area of Mississippi following hurricanes.

Jim and his wife Rebecca were married in 1963. They have a daughter and a son and six grandchildren. Jim has written A History of Roles Chapel Baptist Church; this is his home church in Forest Hills. He has also researched history and family genealogy. From this has come two histories – one of family involvement during the Civil War and the other the actions of Forest Hill citizens during the Civil War. Jim and Rebecca enjoy spending time on the family farm in West Virginia. Jim says that life is too short to have a job you do not like, and that putting conservation on the land was and is a very satisfying life.