Monday, January 18, 2012


from the
Indiana Association of
Soil and Water
Conservation Districts
Statewide conservation awards presented to local leaders


Indianapolis -- Conservation honors were presented in six categories to local conservationists last week in Indianapolis during the 2012 Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs (Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs).  


The Power of Conservation: Local Actions with Global Impacts attracted over 400 people from across the state to the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. The conference, a program of the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD), was designed for SWCD supervisors and staff, watershed organization staffs and other resource technicians and representatives from the Indiana Conservation Partnership.

Photos from the Conference can be
viewed and downloaded from this online link >> here. 

Five Conservation Farmer of the Year Award winners were recognized last week for going beyond the norm to incorporate conservation practices into the routine management of their farming operations. The award is sponsored by the Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc. Farmers who were 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 IASWCD. Winners for 2011 who were recognized last night 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 were 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 2011 Supervisor of the Year award winner Roger Wenning is front (center). Other nominees were: (front, left to right): Andrew Fox (accepting for Carole Riewe), Tim Stearley, Charlie Hendricks. Second row: Dana Coots, Brad Dawson, Priscilla Kelly, Joy McClain (representing the award sponsor, Indiana Prairie Farmer Magazine), Brenda Semersheim, Rita Sharr, and Rodney Rulon.

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 were recognized. The award is sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer Magazine. The nominees were:
  • 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.

Roger Wenning, Decatur County SWCD, received the overall statewide Supervisor of the Year honor. Wenning, a member of the Decatur County SWCD Board of Supervisors, is known as a goodwill ambassador for cover crops and no-till farming in the county. He has hosted numerous field days for both the SWCD and NRCS on his farm including six field days and workshops last year.  


The 2011 Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Earth Team Award was presented to the Clinton County SWCD at the banquet. The award recognizes volunteer efforts that support conservation work in NRCS field offices across the state. 


The Indiana District Employees Association honored 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:

Jennifer Boyle-Warner, IASWCD executive director

Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts 


President: Ray McCormick
, Knox Co.

Vice President: Jeff Meinders,, Ripley Co.

Secretary:  Paul Cummings, Owen 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: Les Zimmerman , Vermillion 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