Conservation Commission News

WSDA appoints a new commissioner to the Conservation Commission

WSDA appoints a new commissioner to the Conservation Commission

Dr. Dani Gelardi appointed as SCC’s newest commissioner and begins her tenure on June 1, 2024

Starting June 1, 2024, Dr. Dani Gelardi will replace Perry Beale on the Washington State Conservation Commission as the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA’s) representative on the commission. Beale is retiring from Washington state service.

Commissioner Beale was appointed to the Conservation Commission in 2014 and has served for over a decade. Beale is a manager for the WSDA Natural Resources Assessment Section (NRAS), the agricultural science program located in the Director’s Office, and is looking towards retirement from state service. He was raised on a wheat and cattle ranch in southeastern Washington and is the Vice President of the family farm. During his tenure on the commission, Beale became a well-respected, friendly and knowledgeable commissioner.

“I have had a wonderful time being part of this commission and am really proud of the work that we were able to accomplish over my tenure,” said Commissioner Beale. “However, I am excited to embark on this next chapter of life and am sure that Dani will do a wonderful job representing Ag at the Conservation Commission.”

Dr. Gelardi is the Senior Soil Scientist and Climate Coordinator at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, where she leads soil and climate efforts for the agency including the Washington Soil Health Initiative.

“The Conservation Commission and conservation districts are vital partners to my work in agricultural climate resilience and soil health at WSDA. I’m thrilled and honored to deepen this partnership by serving on the governing board,” Commissioner Gelardi said. “Perry leaves big shoes to fill. I have a lot to learn, but also a lot of passion and knowledge to contribute. I can’t wait to get started.”

Dr. Gelardi is also Adjunct Faculty at Washington State University in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Soils & Biogeochemistry from UC Davis as a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) Fellow, and her B.S. from UC Berkeley. Her research program encompasses soil health, biochar, conservation practice adoption, agricultural climate resilience, and carbon accounting in working lands.

“Commissioner Gelardi brings a wealth of knowledge to the commission and her experience as a soil scientist at the Department of Agriculture gives her great insight for guiding our programs,” said SCC’s Executive Director James Thompson. “I have no doubt that she will be an invaluable commission member and I look forward to working with her for a long time to come.”

When Dr. Gelardi isn’t working, she’s reading science fiction, gardening, or adventuring with her dog.