Pa. couple earns Conservation Farm of the Year

WARREN, Pa. — Aggravation Acres, owned and operated by Vicki and Rich Gilkinson, was named as the Conservation Farm of the Year recently at the Warren County Conservation District annual meeting at the Jefferson DeFrees Center.

The award was accepted by the couple’s daughter, Wendy Gilkinson. The Gilkinsons operate a 60-cow dairy farm on approximately 60 acres of pasture and 100 acres of crop land.

Their approach

They utilize rotational grazing dividing large fields into smaller paddocks. This allows better utilization of the forage by alternating active grazing sessions by the cows with rest periods for plant regrowth. The paddocks are established with temporary fencing with water available in each paddock.

The Educator of the Year was Janet Mack, a fifth-grade teacher at Youngsville Middle School. Mack participates in Trout in the Classroom as well as hatches chicken eggs in her classroom.

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Leadership award

Pam Stoleson, former education coordinator for the district, received the Conservation Leadership Award. In Warren County, Stoleson was responsible for the success of the summer Conservation Camp as well as for the development of the Teacher Naturalists — a group of dedicated and environmentally concerned men and women trained in Warren County.

Former county commissioner David Bauer received the Friend of Conservation Award.

Ten-year service awards were presented to board members Lee Curtis and Robert Sleeman. Heather Wilcox received an award for five years of service.

Past winners

Since no formal award ceremony was held in 2007, the 2006 award winners were also recognized. John Fedjak was Educator of the Year for 2006. Mike Wright of Big Horn Ranch received the Farm of the Year for 2006. Dave Miller received his 10-year service award, while Chris Stevens was recognized for five years of service.

Other staff members introduced were Josh Dean, district technician; Jean Gomory, watershed specialist; Debby Hornburg, West Nile Virus technician; and Judy Froman, office manager.

Speaker

Michael Wright presented a presentation titled “Nomadic Grazing for Farmland Preservation: Improving the Grassland Ecosystem through Multi-specie Polyculture.”

About the Author

Freelance writer Ann Swanson writes from her farm home in Warren County, Pa. More Stories by Ann Swanson

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