The Dirt on Conservation: Time to award those who have conserved natural resources


It’s that time of year — summer activities are winding down, the kids are back in school and fall is right around the corner!

Over the next few months, soil and water conservation districts will be having their annual meetings and open houses. These events will showcase all the conservation activities within the district for the past year. In addition, it is a time to recognize individuals that have made an impact on natural resources conservation.

Farm of the Year

This award recognizes individuals that have displayed an outstanding example of protecting and conserving our natural resources. This includes landowners that have developed a conservation plan, implemented conservation practices and demonstrated conservation to others.

Recipients of this award have spent time working with staff from their local SWCD and NRCS offices to develop plans for activities such as grazing and forest management.

Once these plans are made, these landowners start on the implementation of practices to accomplish the overall plan.


A key component to conservation is education. Support from teachers is necessary to reach young adults and teach them about the importance of natural resources conservation. Learning about conservation and preservation of natural resources early in life will impact how children view natural resources as adults.

Young adults are not the only focus of education by soil and water districts. Adult education is also important. Landowners need to know they can help with conservation, whether they own a house with a small lot or a 200-acre farm.

One way to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses that support natural resources education is by awarding an Educator of the Year award.

Hall of Fame

When I think of recipients of the Conservation Hall of Fame award, I think of individuals or families that have dedicated a significant amount of time, often a lifetime, to conservation of natural resources.

Sometimes this award goes landowners who have worked hard to improve their land. Other times, the award winner has actively worked to educate others about conservation practices. Occasionally, this award is given to a SWCD board member or staff member who has dedicated a large amount of time to the district and gone above the call-of-duty.

The common factor among these award recipients is their dedication to natural resources.

Come out and support the individuals within your county that are working to conserve natural resources!

Contact your local SWCD office to find out more about your county’s annual meeting.

(Pam Smutney is the district program administrator for Harrison Soil & Water Conservation District. Smutney was raised in Belmont County and received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the Ohio State University. Smutney has been working with Harrison Soil & Water Conservation District since November 2010. Contact Smutney at 740-942-8837 or e-mail



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