Hold Until 8:15 p.m., Jan. 8, 2013 

winter banner

Indiana Association of
Soil and Water
Conservation Districts
Four Soil and Water Conservation District staff receive state recognition at conservation awards banquet

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 Star Award is presented by the Indiana District Employees Association (IDEA) to four Soil and Water Conservation District staff for their outstanding work serving their constituents and conservation partners in 2012.  

Cheryl Jarrett Cheryl Jarrett has been dedicated to the Huntington County Soil and Water Conservation District office for 15 years and has a passion for conservation. She has worked very hard on many committees including spearheading the 2012 IDEA Fall Conference planning committee. She is the IDEA vice president and has served as the North-Southeast Region Director. Jarrett's dedication to conservation is highlighted through her outreach efforts. She provides good advice and a helping hand in any areas. She has networked with various ag vendors to gain contributions and support for District activities and programs. Jarrett also is inclusive and helpful to partnering agencies. 


Cheryl Furnish Cheryl Furnish, Switzerland County Soil and Water Conservation District, hit the ground running when she was hired as the District technician in 2007. The daunting task of learning all of the programs associated with her field of work did not deter her from seeking training and assistance so she would be prepared to help any customer. Today, many customers seek Furnish for her input because they know if she doesn't have the answer, she will not stop until she finds someone that does!  


Judy Bengochea Judy Bengochea, Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District, started in 2003 as the Educator / Coordinator. As part of her duties, she sought funding for the Annual Eighth Grade "Wabash River Expedition." For the past nine years Bengochea has raised $8,500 annually to continue this event. The District has now created an endowment intended to fund the raft trip into the future. The Sullivan County Soil and Water Conservation District has taken more than 3,000 students on this educational excursion down the Wabash River. Bengochea's grant writing skills have been very beneficial to the District.  


Radius Weisman Radius Weisman, Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District. After retiring from the USDA Farm Service Agency, Weisman began working part time with the Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District. His vast knowledge of the county and previous work with the FSA makes him an exceptional addition to the staff.  Presently he works with the District's full time technician and assists with surveys throughout the county. Weisman assists the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist with field visits, as well as Conservation Reserve Program waterway re-enrollment checkouts.  

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).  


#     #     #

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.