Tuesday, January 3, 2012


from the
Indiana Association of
Soil and Water
Conservation Districts

Media Advisory
Local conservationists to receive honors at statewide conference next week

Indianapolis -- Local conservationists who have made outstanding contributions to Indiana's natural resources will be honored next week during the 69th Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs (Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs).  


The Power of Conservation: Local Actions with Global Impacts is expected to attract over 400 people from across the state to the conference logoIndianapolis Marriott Downtown, 350 W. Maryland St., 46225, Jan. 9-11. The conference is designed for SWCD supervisors and staff, watershed organization staffs and other resource technicians and representatives from the Indiana Conservation Partnership


Keynote speakers include third-generation Montana logger Bruce Vincent, who opens the conference on Monday, Jan. 9 at the 11 a.m. session. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White will be the keynoter on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the 11 a.m. session.


The Conservation Awards Banquet to be held Tuesday evening, January 10, convenes at 6 p.m. Conservation Farmer of the Year Award winners will be recognized for going beyond the norm to incorporate conservation practices into the routine management of their farming operations. Five state winners will receive honors. The award is sponsored by the Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. Farmers who will be honored are (by county):

  • Decatur County SWCD: Roger Wenning,
  • Kosciusko County SWCD: Tom Price,
  • Putnam County SWCD: Mark and Phyllis Legan,
  • Sullivan County SWCD: Mike Kelly, and
  • Tippecanoe County: Dean Craig. Craig also will receive the Career Conservation Farmer designation for his consistently high regard for conservation measures over the course off his agricultural career spanning at least 25 years.

The Friend of Conservation Award recognizes individuals, businesses or organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to soil and water conservation in Indiana. This recognition is sponsored by the Brownfield Radio Network and the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD). Winners for 2011 who will be recognized are (by county):

  • Fulton County
    Jim Straeter, New Holland Rochester, nominated by the Fulton County SWCD, 
  • Scott County
    Danielle Walker, Scottsburg High School, nominated by the Scott County SWCD,
  • Sullivan County
    Gill Township Levee Association, nominated by the Sullivan County SWCD and West Central Indiana Watershed Alliance;
  • Vermillion County
    Elanco Animal Health, Clinton Labs, nominated by the Vermillion County SWCD, and
  • Wabash County
    Manchester College, nominated by the Wabash County SWCD.

Indiana's District Showcase Award highlights the successes of county Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Specifically, the honor demonstrates how SWCDs partner with traditional and nontraditional groups, businesses, government agencies, local officials and volunteers to achieve District conservation goals.


The award is sponsored by the Indiana Conservation Partnership (ICP) which includes the IASWCD, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Division of Soil Conservation, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, State Soil Conservation Board, USDA Farm Service Agency, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Four SWCD projects will be honored as recipients of the District Showcase Award at the 2011 Conservation Awards banquet. They are the:

  • Dubois County SWCD: Success in Utilizing Contribution Agreements - Accomplishing Conservation Work in Dubois County
  • Jasper County SWCD:Our Local Soil and Water Resources: Upper Iroquois Watershed Initiative, the On-Farm network and the Conservation Tillage Roundtable
  • Pike County SWCD: First Time and Awesome Achievements in Conservation
  • Gibson/Posey/Vanderburgh/Warrick County SWCDs: Cover Crop Aerial Seeding Cost-Share Project

The IASWCD's Supervisor of the Year Award honors Soil and Water Conservation District leaders (supervisors) for their outstanding and exemplary achievements and leadership in the protection and enhancement of Indiana's soil and water resources. Ten nominees will be recognized and the state winner will be announced at the Conservation Awards Banquet. The award is sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer Magazine. The nominees are:

  • Dana Coots, Clark County SWCD,
  • Tim Stearley, Clay County SWCD,
  • Brad Dawson, Dearborn County SWCD,
  • Roger Wenning, Decatur County SWCD,
  • Brenda Sermersheim, Dubois County SWCD,
  • Marguriette Sharr, Greene County SWCD,
  • Rodney Rulon, Hamilton County SWCD,
  • Priscilla Kelly, Posey County SWCD,
  • Carole Riewe, St. Joseph County SWCD, and
  • Charley Hendricks, Vigo County SWCD. 

The 2011 Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Earth Team Award will be presented next week as well. The award recognizes volunteer efforts that support conservation work in NRCS field offices across the state. Clinton County will receive the 2011 award.


The Indiana District Employees Association will honor seven SWCD staff with Star Awards for their contributions of excellent service to their District and the community they serve. 2011 recipients are: 

  • Melanie Davis, Clark County SWCD,
  • Betty Gabbard, Franklin County SWCD,
  • Linda Hixson, Kosciusko County SWCD,
  • Darlene Fischer, Perry County SWCD,
  • Michelle Benson, Porter County SWCD,
  • Stacy White, Randolph County SWCD, and
  • Jan Came, Vigo County SWCD. 

>> Click here for more information on the 2012 Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs.


Our mission is to represent Soil and Water Conservation Districts as one voice, and to assist the leadership of local SWCDs through coordination and education for the wise use and management of our natural resources. 

For additional information contact:

DeeDee Sigler, IASWCD communications manager
317.692.7374 or 317.431.6098
>> Click here for additional information on our 2012 Annual Conference
Other Conference Highlights:
  • State Soil Conservation Board Mtg., Jan. 9, 8:30 a.m.
  • Hands-on training sessions, Jan. 9 and 10.
  • Annual Legislative Breakfast, Jan. 11, 7:30 a.m.

Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts 


President: Ray McCormick
, Knox Co.

Vice President: Jeff Meinders,, Ripley Co.

Secretary: Brian Campbell, Elkhart Co.
Treasurer: Jamie Scott, Kosciusko Co. 

Region Directors: 


North-NW: Larry Strole, Newton Co.

South-NW: Mike Starkey, Hendricks Co.

North-NE: Tom Crowe, Allen Co.

South-NE: Bobby Hettmansperger, Wabash Co. 

North-SW: Paul Cummings, Owen Co.

South-SW: Jim Droege, Posey Co.  

North-SE: Mike Schwab, Franklin Co.

South-SE: Brad Ponsler, Jennings Co. 



IASWCD Staff: 


Executive Director: Jennifer Boyle Warner, 317.692.7519

Conservation Development Specialist:
Janice Bullman, 317.692.7514

Project Assistant: Liz Rice, 317.692.7325

Communications Manager: DeeDee Sigler, 317.692.7374