Richland SWCD receives district of year honor

soil and seedling in hand

MANSFIELD, Ohio — Richland Soil and Water Conservation District was named District of the Year for 2023 at the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation District Partner Meeting Feb. 21, in Columbus. Richland SWCD was selected from a field of 88 Ohio districts.

Erica Thomas, Richland SWCD director, said they are excited and honored to receive the honor.

“We are fortunate to be part of such a knowledgeable, trusted, and passionate community of dedicated people who are working to conserve our precious soil and water resources in our own local communities,” Thomas said, in a statement. “As our name implies, we have ‘rich’ land in Richland County — rich with diversity, plentiful natural resources and people committed to being good stewards, and it makes our work very meaningful and personal for each one of us at Richland SWCD.”

The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding and innovative soil and water conservation district education initiatives that have proven successful in reaching out to a variety of audiences, involving new partnerships and spreading the soil and water conservation message.

Richland SWCD grew in staff and programs during the last several years and with this new energy and funding, the district was able to get involved in new and exciting ways to engage with residents in Richland County to promote conservation, Thomas said.

In 2022, the district had 1,913 participants in public workshops and events and 1,717 attendees in community events, visited 28 schools through 10 events; and distributed 500 promotional and 2,000 educational items. For public outreach, the district released five podcasts and two videos, donated a rain barrel to the Kindwood Center, donated 400 tree seedlings to the City of Mansfield Shade Tree Commission and gave away 1,168 milkweed seed packets. The district also sold 16 rain barrels, 14 garden gloves, 192 native plants, eight native seeds and 19,738 pond fish.

“This award is especially meaningful because we are celebrating our 75th anniversary this year and this award further encourages us in the importance of the work we are doing and services and programs we provided,” Thomas said.

To learn more about services and programs Richland SWCD provides, visit or call 419-747-8686.

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