WC?Conservation District honors local farm, educator

The Warren County Conservation District (WCCD) held its annual awards ceremony on March 19. Conservation District directors and staff gathered to recognize the 2012 Conservation Farm of the Year and the 2012 Environmental Educator of the Year.

Riverview Farms, owned and operated by David and Margorie Manning, was honored as the 2012 Conservation Farm of the Year. This is an award given annually to a producer or landowner who has shown outstanding efforts to conserve and improve natural resources on an active farm. David and his family have implemented conservation practices on their 450-acre farm such as heavy use area protection, a complete rotational grazing system where all their pigs, chickens and cattle are pastured and raised naturally without hormones, steroids or antibiotics. The Manning family also grows numerous vegetable crops which are sold locally.

The 2012 Environmental Educator of the Year award was given to the Warren County group of hunter trapper education instructors. This group of volunteers was nominated by Dick Smith, WCCD Board member and a 50-year hunter trapper education instructor. Of the 33 instructors, 18 were able to attend the awards ceremony to receive recognition for their countless volunteer hours. The hunter trapper education program was established to teach young people hunter safety. Current members range in experience from two years with the program to 50 years. These men and women donate their time to carry on the tradition of hunting and trapping, instill a respect of nature in future generations, and ensure the safety of that generation.

When asked why they joined the Hunter Trapper Safety Education program, most responses had to do with the love of shooting and hunting and of course the enjoyment of working with kids. Bill Lyon reminisced about a former student joyfully relating the story of shooting his first deer. John Buck told how he helped run the projector at his son’s hunter safety class and the instructor asked John if he would like to join the program. That was 20 years ago. When new member Paul Bialas was asked why he joined the program he said, “It’s about volunteerism, and this is a good thing to do.”

Sportsmen’s clubs that host the classes include Kalbfus Rod & Gun Club, Sugar Grove AMVETS, Sheffield Rod & Gun Club, Brokenstraw Fish & Game Club, Spring Creek Sportsmen Club.