Local SWCD director receives state Izaak Walton League award
Indianapolis - The Ted Falls Memorial Environmentalist of the Year Award was recently presented by the Indiana Division of the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) to the director of the Vermillion County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
Meg Leader received the league's highest award that is presented for environmental or conservation achievement. According to Clara Walters, National Director - Indiana Division of the IWLA, "While not an IWLA member, Meg upholds the mission and the highest principles of the League. She is certainly a worthy recipient."
Meg Leader, director of the Vermillion County Soil and Water Conservation District, with the Ted Falls Memorial Environmentalist of the Year Award. Photo credit: Indiana Division, Izaak Walton League of America.
In the two years she has served as director of the Vermillion County Soil and Water Conservation District, Leader has been the driving force in the Dana Urban Forest Project that is replacing trees along the town's streets that were lost due to the community's storm and sewer installation. The SWCD was recognized this year with a state District Showcase Award presented by the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Indiana Conservation Partnership at the the Annual Conference of SWCDs in January.
"We are very fortunate to have Meg as Conservation Director here in Vermillion County," says Les Zimmerman, Vermillion County SWCD Supervisor. "Her accomplishments during these first two years in our office are a testament to Meg's vision, drive and dedication to the cause of conservation. We look forward to more innovative programming from Meg. She is very deserving of this award," Zimmerman adds.
Leader is responsible for expanding Kindergarten Days on the Farm, a program to introduce young people of Vermillion County to soil and water conservation. The program now includes all Vermillion County kindergarten students and ties the popular field trip into the National Association of Conservation District's annual stewardship theme.
A free well water testing program was started for Vermillion County home dwellers last year. It was so successful that it is being repeated again this year.
Leader also works with farmers to encourage cover crops and no-till farming, as well as being the lead on a tri-county program to provide farmers with information on farming issues. The SWCD started a series of working breakfasts with farmers so they could network and discuss things that worked and things that didn't.