Harrison SWCD hits 70 years in conservation education, service

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The Harrison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will celebrate 70 years of service on Aug. 11, 2015, at the Harrison County Fairgrounds.

The charter was issued Oct. 31, 1945, and the first to serve on the board of supervisors were O.B. Sparrow, Wallace McConnell, Raymond Galbraith, J.R. Blackwell and W. T. Wilson.

The mission statement is “to promote stewardship by providing education and technical assistance to cooperators for the conservation of our natural resources.”

Through the years, our organization has been blessed as an excellent career training ground for many successful young men and women. They were nurtured by onsite instruction from dedicated leaders like District Conservationist Earl Nelson, Ray Rummell and technician James Patton and a host of others including Soil Conservation Service (SCS) personnel (the forerunner to the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service), efficient office secretaries, board members and local clients. We are grateful to the past and present Harrison County Commissioners for their continued support.

For many years educating the fifth graders, and now the fourth graders, has been a focus, and the students have enjoyed a day of agriculture and nature studies at a local farm or park. An award is given to the best student essay.

The last several years this educational event has been held at Zitko Farms, owned by the Zitko family.

The drive-it-yourself tours have included tree farms, livestock enterprises, water conservation practices, historic sites and other related areas.

We have promoted conservation in connection with numerous countywide programs and organizations. Some examples include the Ourant one-room schoolhouse restoration, and programming with Ohio State University Extension, Farm Bureau, Natural Resource Conservation Service and many others.

Annual meetings provide a special opportunity to review the year’s accomplishments and express gratitude to all of our constituents who have been and will continue to be “the wind beneath our wings” in the success of our programs.

One of the well-known events in 1982-1983 was the “Reclamation Showcase,” co-hosted by Harrison SWCD, R & F Coal Company, and county commissioners held at the Harrison County Home site. The event attracted over 1,000 people to learn about sediment pond construction, seeding test plots, active strip mining, and seeding and mulching.

Harrison SWCD still offers assistance with many of these same conservation practices, but also some new best management practices that have changed with the times.

Invitation

Join us for our 70th Anniversary celebration Aug. 11, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. at the Harrison County Fairgrounds for a chicken barbecue. Bring the family and enjoy the company of old friends as we reminisce about the past and indulge in some great food.

Children’s activities will be offered, a picnic style dinner, along with a showcase of the history of Harrison SWCD. Visit hswcd.org for more information or call 740-942-8837.

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Keila Telfer is the District Program Administrator at Harrison SWCD. She has been an active 4-H advisor in Harrison County for 8 years. She is very passionate about agriculture and our natural resources. You can reach her at ktelfer@harrisoncountyohio.org

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