WOOSTER, Ohio — The Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District celebrated 75 years of assisting area landowners with their conservation efforts recently during the annual meeting and supervisor election held Nov. 3 at The Connection in Wooster, with a total of 115 guests.
The evening started with local historian Paul Locher emceeing a guessing game of antique farming-related implements and describing their uses. It culminated with the Conservation Farm Award and Conservation Educator of the Year Award presentations.
Chippewa High School teacher Dave Parfitt was presented with the Conservation Educator of the Year award. Honored for his project that began in 1973, when Parfitt and his students successfully transformed a three-acre cow pasture into an outdoor science lab now known as Parfitt’s Paradise. Students and community members continue to benefit from what has now become a beautiful and mature forest setting.
“I am very gratified that students can still come down to it and learn about nature,” Parfitt said. “I come down here many times and run into former students and meet their kids. It is really a joy.”
Although he is 81, Parfitt still enjoys serving as the unofficial caretaker of the wildlife area of Parfitt’s Paradise
The Conservation Farm Award was presented to Shane and Suzanne Hartzler of Crossroads Dairy, a 200-acre organic farming operation in Milton Township, for their ongoing conservation practices. They are a sixth generation family farm headquartered around a bank barn built in 1849, at the crossroads of Benner and Steiner roads in Milton Township.
The dairy was transitioned to organic from 2004-2007 and Crossroads Dairy now produces milk for Organic Valley. They currently milk 70 cows twice a day in a “double-13” parlor that took their milking time down from 3-1/2 hours to 45 minutes.
“They have transitioned to organic milk production, and they use a number of practices that are vital to conservation,” said Matt Pear, supervisor for Wayne SWCD. “I think if you talk to them, they will say they aren’t doing this for themselves; we are doing it for our children.”
Before the close of the meeting Rob Hamilton, ODA-Division of Soil and Water, announced that Dustin Ramsier and Scott Stoller had each been re-elected to a three-year term on the board of supervisors.
Door prizes were donated by a number of local businesses as well.
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