Clair Klock is the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District Senior Resource Conservationist. The longest tenured member of our staff, Klock joined the District in 1998. He has been instrumental in building the District’s relationships with landowners and partners throughout the region for almost 25 years. There is a very high likelihood that if we ask “Do you know Clair Klock?” the answer will be a resounding “Yes!”
Klock was one of the very first small farm and urban conservation specialists in the Portland metro area. He has spent his career sharing his passion for conservation and wide ranging knowledge with those wanting to protect and improve their land. His hard work earned him statewide recognition. In 2005 he was acknowledged as Outstanding District Employee for Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Districts. This award was given by the Natural Resources Division of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
Over the years, Klock has worked with rural and urban landowners interested in improving their conservation and stewardship skills. He has presented many workshops. Workshop topics included rainwater harvesting, erosion control, mud and manure management, rain gardens, and other conservation techniques. Klock is also the host of a series of videos that explore all of these topics and more.
“My focus at the District has always been on education and outreach,” says Klock. “In the early days, I used to set up my table at feed stores so I could talk to the farmers about our programs and services.” He notes that education and outreach is an ongoing priority for the District. He is excited by the development of the District’s Conservation Resource Center in Beavercreek. “This will be an opportunity for people to observe a wide variety of conservation practices at a small-scale demonstration farm.”
Love of Conservation Extends Beyond the District
Klock’s passion for conservation has taken him around the state, the nation, and the world. He has been actively involved in numerous small farm organizations and has presented at organic and sustainable agriculture conferences. He worked extensively with the Oregon State University’s Growing Farms Program. This program provides new and beginning farmers an opportunity to learn a variety of valuable skills. Klock helped these students learn how to incorporate conservation practices into their own farm plans.
Klock has served as a board member on a wide variety of farm and conservation-related organizations. These include the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, Audubon Society of Portland, Pacific Northwest Direct Farm Marketing Association, and Tri-County Farm Fresh. He also served as an interim director of the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. These days, you can find Klock at the Columbia (Corbett) Grange where he is an active member.
Clair’s reputation for his love of conservation and caring for people and the land reflects well on our District. His work has helped raise awareness of many issues and topics in the conservation community and his knowledge and enthusiasm has inspired colleagues throughout the state. He is a gem. – Lisa Kilders, Assistant Manager, Clackamas SWCD
Klock’s appreciation for the natural world began when he and his sister moved from Portland to Corbett to live with his aunt and uncle on their blueberry farm. “They loved to travel and took us out all over Oregon.” He worked on their farm from the age of 13 all of the way through college.
“I’ve been interested in science and natural resources since the 3rd grade. I knew I was going to be a scientist,” said Klock. “I just loved to see how things worked.”
Klock studied biology at Mt. Hood Community College, then transferred to Oregon State where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in General Science and Biology. After graduation, Klock worked with the Multnomah Education Service District as a resident outdoor school supervisor and youth conservation corps camp director.
Klock has worked as a blueberry farmer, full-time or part-time, for nearly 45 years. “Beyond providing a quality product, my other goal was educating our customers about our farming practices. I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to lease a production farm and cut the fertilizer and pesticide application by half and increase production because of my scientific training.”
In his “free time” he worked as a naturalist for a small cruise line in Baja, Alaska, and along the Columbia River. His love of travel has taken him on expeditions around the world from the Antarctic, to the Galapagos Islands, Central America, Europe, and to the Arctic.
Now partially retired, Klock says that his main emphasis is natural resources advocacy at a local and state level. He also provides support to the the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation staff. “That’s what I do with my retirement. One of the reasons I quit farming was that it was getting in the way of my advocacy work!” he laughs.
Assistant Manager, Lisa Kilders notes, “We depend on Clair’s experience — which is both deep and wide — to represent the many aspects of Clackamas SWCD with many agencies and organizations. He knows the heart of the District and is able to share that when he communicates with folks who may not know us as well.”
When he’s not out and about advocating for conservation, Klock says he can be found exploring nature. “I enjoy bird watching, plant watching, clouds, weeds, oceans, and tidepools. Anything that has to do with natural history, animals, botanical, and basic astronomy is exciting to me!”
“There’s nothing out there that isn’t interesting,” he says. “For me, well, for everyone, the main thing is living with nature, respecting the laws of nature, understanding that we are a part of nature, and that we need to follow those rules.”
If you are interested in developing a conservation plan for your farm, or if you would like to learn more about the different conservation practices you can use on your rural or urban property, please give us a call at 503-210-6000!