Conservation persevered in 2020

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The past few weeks I have learned a huge lesson that, I think, will stay with me for a long time. With the absolute craziness in 2020, many things were put on the back burner — many things other than conservation, that is.

Perseverance

I have been on the phone quite a bit with local landowners lately and realized how much time they are spending outside. Regardless of all the bad in 2020, the one safe place is outside on your own property. Being out with the trees and wildflowers, taking in that fresh air, feels like one of the few normal things we still have.

Conservation is deeply rooted in perseverance and hard work from the beginning, with Hugh Hammond Bennett and his efforts to bring a change in how we utilize our land by being good stewards. I have had to remind myself of the beginnings of conservation lately.

Still going

What has really changed my perspective, though, is how much work landowners have been doing lately for conservation. Nothing has slowed down the efforts of conservation.

Pollinator plots, tree plantings and invasive plant species controls are just a few of the many different practices that have been implemented all through 2020, many times going unnoticed due to social distancing and limited contact with others.

I have been getting emails with pictures showing successes over the summer and fall, and phone calls from excited landowners who can’t wait till spring to see some of the results from practices they implemented this past year. I cannot wait to see the progress on these projects as well.

2021

Everything that has happened this past year has changed my drive and motivation greatly, and I am appreciative of all the hard work that landowners have done. My goal in 2021 is to work even harder alongside the landowners and push myself to learn and adapt as much as possible. Conservation is a group effort, and I think 2021 might be the best year for conservation ever.

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Billy Wilson is the Forestry/Wildlife Technician for the Harrison Soil and Water Conservation District. He grew up in rural Carroll County and attended Hocking College where he graduated with an Associates of Applied Science in Wildlife Resources Management. During his time at Hocking he worked with Wayne National Forest in their Invasive Species Program as an Intern, with the focus on Non-native invasive plant and tree species that are common to Ohio.

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