COLUMBUS — Paul Mechling, a resident of Pierpont Township, was recently presented with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Cardinal Award for conservation. A small group of department representatives traveled to Mechling’s 388-acre Snowy Oak Tree Farm, in Ashtabula County, to recognize the retired veterinarian’s achievements.
Those attending the gathering included department Assistant Director Steve Gray and Chief of Forestry Dan Balser.
“Dr. Mechling’s contributions to conservation and natural resources management in Ohio are truly legendary,” said Gray. “I have had the privilege of observing Paul’s great work for 35 years and his enthusiasm for conservation over that time has only intensified.”
Chief Balser, who nominated Mechling for the award, also noted the conservationist’s enthusiastic service and positive influence on numerous boards and councils, including the Ohio Forestry Advisory Council, Ashtabula SWCD Board of Supervisors, Ohio Forestry Association, Ashtabula Scenic Rivers Council and as current chairman of the Ohio Wildlife Council.
“Paul Mechling is a name synonymous with conservation in Ohio. He has been especially active and effective as an advocate for Ohio tree farmers and woodland owners,” Balser said.
Mechling said becoming an active member of the Ohio Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation 40 years ago spurred his interest in conservation. Today, those efforts are focused on promoting sustainable forestry, wildlife habitat and clean water.
Family and legacy also are important to Mechling. Originally from Perry County, his ties there remain strong, running the family’s 340-acre Wal-Mec Farm, in Hopewell Township, with his brother, Mark.
“Life is short, and you can’t just talk about good conservation practices,” said Mechling. “To create a lasting-legacy for future generations you must put those practices into action — plant trees, create wetlands, cultivate pollinator habitats. For me, it’s about living, believing and sharing a life of conservation.”
The department also selected two other Ohioans to receive the 2020 Cardinal Award, Tamala Solomon, of Columbus, and Doug Wynn, of Russel’s Point.
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