Thursday, October 29, 2015

73rd Annual Election and Banquet

Bill Bertram, Ed Kennedy, Jo Lucas, and Rusty Roberts were the candidates for 2 board positions, serving 3 years beginning on 1-1-2016.   Bill Bertram and Jo Lucas were the top 2 vote getters. Congratulations to them, and sincere thanks to all four for their interest and commitment to the conservation of natural resources in Guernsey County!

Guernsey SWCD Annual Meeting and Election

On Wednesday, October 29th the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District held its 73rd annual meeting banquet and election.  The meeting was held at Mr Lee’s Restaurant. Bill Bertram and Jo Lucas were elected and will serve a three-year term beginning January 2015 on the board which provides direction, oversight, and fiscal accountability to the Soil and Water Conservation District.  Board members serve on a volunteer basis.  Current board members include Bill Bertram, Ken Ford, John Enos, Myron Dellinger and Steve Douglass.  The special guest for the evening was Abraham Lincoln, who regaled the crowd with stories from his presidency.  He ended the evening with the Gettysburg Address. 

During the annual meeting, the Co-operator of the Year award was presented to Celeste and Brent Mnich.  The Guernsey SWCD partners with Farm Credit, and USDA-NRCS to recognize co-operators who have shown a commitment to conservation of natural resources.  The Mnichs were presented with a sign, provided by Farm Credit Services.    

The Minchs have worked with the district over the past few years to improve their property for the benefit of the livestock as well as the environment.  They have installed pressurized watering facilities to provide water directly to their pastures.  They have fenced out both sides of their stream to avoid erosion and livestock waste contamination of the stream, and installed 2 stream crossings.  Still to be completed are a feeding pad, access road, and more fencing to divide their pastures to better manage cattle grazing of their pastures. 
The Minchs have not yet seen the full effects of what they have added to their farm, but in the next few years, both their cattle and their land will benefit from these practices.  In the mean time, they are attending every educational program provided by the district and by OSU extension in an effort to learn more of how to better manage their land.

The second award of the evening, The Friends of Conservation, went to the Hodges family, which has a long history of assisting the district in its conservation efforts. Beginning with Bob Hodges, who served on the board from 2004 to 2009, and his wife, Dee, who served on the auxiliary board and volunteered her time for children’s education programs, the family’s service spans 3 generations.  The district was near and dear to Bob’s heart, especially Moore Memorial Woods and the Conservation Day Camp the district has held for children each summer since 1985.  When Bob passed away in August of 2012, his family honored that commitment by asking that donations be sent to the district to support that education program.  The district recently honored Bob’s memory with a park bench at the woods.
Bob’s son Bruce and his wife Anna have taken on the farm now that Bob is gone.  While Bob was still with us, he hosted a training for Sanitation Engineers in the surrounding counties, where a soil pit was use to teach suitability of different soils for septic systems.  This summer, Bruce and Ana again allowed the district to dig a big hole on the farm – this time to hold a soils class for area farmers. 

Anna and the kids – Beth, Katie, Karen, and now their youngest, Patrick, have helped for several years with conservation camp.  Anna is so creative and teaches crafts each year, and the girls are essential to the camp as counselors who lead the kids and keep them in hand.  Patrick has enjoyed attending the camp, and is looking forward to taking on his new mantle as a counselor. 

The Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is a political sub-division of the State of Ohio and covers the entire county.  Soil and water conservation districts were first formed in the 1940's when concerns of soil erosion and the loss of our most productive soils became apparent after the Great Dust Bowl.  Local citizens gathered together to form the conservation districts to educate and provide assistance to landowners in order to reduce soil erosion to tolerable limits.  Conservation Practices such as contour strips, no-till crops, and grassed waterways have had a great impact on reducing soil erosion.

Over the years conservation districts have evolved to include issues around land use, water quality, forestry and wildlife.  They work with landowners, land users, other governmental agencies, and elected officials to solve natural resource concerns.  Your conservation district can be a wealth of information.  The mission of the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is to promote through education and technical assistance the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.  

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