Jan. 8, 2013 

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Indiana Association of
Soil and Water
Conservation Districts
State Friend of Conservation Awards presented in corporate, nonprofit and individual categories

Indianapolis -- The Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (IASWCD) held their annual Conservation Awards Banquet tonight as part of the organization's 70th Annual Conference of Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). The theme for the conference is The Power of Conservation: Today's Action's,Tomorrow's Rewards. 


Award photos from tonight's banquet are available to be downloaded. 


Among the six major awards presented, the Friend of Conservation Award was presented in three categories corporate, nonprofit, and individual. Megan Grebner, Indiana Farm Director, Brownfield Ag News, the award sponsor, presented plaques to the winners:


  • Corporate: Duke Energy, Cayuga Station, Vermillion County
  • Nonprofit: The Friends of the Middle Fork Steering Committee, Wayne County
  • Individual: Allen and Peggy Royer, Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District
Duke Energy's Cayuga Station
Duke Energy's Cayuga Station.
Corporate recipient Duke Energy, Cayuga Station is committed to using their presence in Vermillion County to improve the environment. Most of their environmental stewardship activities focus on climate change, environmental education, renewable technologies, energy efficiency and biodiversity.


The plant features a 35-acre wetland area. Cayuga Station works with various state and federal agencies to protect threatened species by managing the company's assets to encourage habitats and nesting.  The wetland supports the largest concentration of mid-winter migratory bald eagles in Indiana. For the last 17 years, Cayuga Station has hosted a range of programs to educate local students and the public about these birds and the wetland that supports them.


Cayuga Station also hosts a Wonders of Wetlands program for middle school students from Vermillion and Parke counties. They use their wetland as a showplace to expand the public's understanding of the value of clean water and a balanced ecosystem.  


Friends of the Middle Fork Steering Committee

Left to right: Friends of the Middle Fork Steering Committee shown are: Kirby Hiller (deceased), Dick Roeper, Shirley Rodgers, Rich Nicholson, Don Berger, Harold Routson, Kelly Dungan (Watershed Coordinator) and Mark Alexander (local farmer).

The Nonprofit Friend of Conservation recipient, The Friends of the Middle Fork Steering Committee is a group of local community members who were concerned about the health of the water flowing into the Middle Fork of the East Fork of the Whitewater River. The watershed is located north of Richmond and begins in Randolph County, as well as Darke and Preble counties in Ohio. 


The watershed includes nearly 50 square miles which eventually drains into the Middle Fork Reservoir, the main source of Richmond's drinking water. Friends of the Middle Fork have actively pursued clean water by educating others about stream and reservoir water quality since the mid 1990's through grants and demonstration projects. 


They successfully wrote 319 grants to employ a full time watershed coordinator. With the help of the coordinator they have conducted various education and outreach activities not only to raise public awareness but encourage participation in the project. 


By increasing conservation practices in the watershed they have helped to slow the amount of sedimentation into the reservoir. The Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District served as the catalyst for the Friends by writing and submitting the initial 319 Grant. 


The Individual Friend of Conservation Award winner for 2012 is Allen and Peggy Royer, from Putnam County. The Royers have used their farm as an education site to allow over 1,000 visitors see how conservation practices can improve soil and water quality on the farm.


The Royers work with the Indiana Department of Natural Resource's Division of Fish and Wildlife, Law Enforcement, and Forestry, along with the Putnam County USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency, Sycamore Trails Resource Conservation & Development Council, the Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District, and private Indiana consultant foresters to achieve their conservation goals.


Royer field day
A field day at Allen and Peggy Royer's farm in Putnam County.

During field days at the Royer farm, they show aerial photos dating back to the late 1930s dramatically illustrating soil erosion due to deforestation and poor farming practices. This erosion is still evident in 1972. After many conservation programs were implemented, photos from 1995 show dramatic improvement in the soils and erosion control. These photos are a true selling point for all soil and water conservation programs. The Royer's then take participants to the areas where the most erosion showed up in the photos and show what those areas look like today due to the implementation of conservation practices. 


The three-day Annual Conference of Indiana SWCDs concludes tomorrow at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown with the IASWCD's annual Legislative Breakfast and Annual Business Meeting.

The complete agenda is available in the conference brochure. Registration and other information on the conference is available online, or onsite at the registration desk located on the second floor of the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, 350 W. Maryland, Indianapolis, 46225 (not the JW Marriott).  


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IASWCD Staff:  

For additional information contact:

DeeDee Sigler, IASWCD communications manager,

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.