NASHVILLE, TN — Aldo Leopold said, “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” This harmonious relationship was very evident at the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) 72nd Annual Meeting held in Nashville, TN, when over a dozen Northeast conservation professionals and students won conservation awards for service, photography and hand-drawn posters.
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state and territory associations, and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. It’s been a tradition at their annual meeting to recognize folks from around the country that lead the way in passion for putting good conservation on the ground.
This year’s award winners representing the Northeast agricultural corridor came from New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.
The inaugural Hugh Hammond Bennett Excellence in Conservation Award was received by Dorn Cox of Lee, NH. Cox serves as a county supervisor and vice-chair of the Strafford County Conservation District and is vice president of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts. Cox is a NACD Soil Health Champion, a pioneer of the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET), and emphasizes conservation outreach and education efforts.
Each year, the NACD and NACD Auxiliary photo and poster contests give students and adults the opportunity to display their artistic talents on a national stage. Photo contestants enter their work into one of the following four categories: Conservation Practices, Close-up Conservation, Conservation in Action, or Agriculture and Conservation across America.
Adult division winners were: Caitlin Stewart of Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District in New York, Troy Bishopp of Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District in New York and Melinda Evick of the Northern Panhandle Soil and Water Conservation District in West Virginia. Youth division winners were: Moira Carroll of New Castle Conservation District in Delaware, Maxon Blow of Kent Conservation District in Delaware, Courtney Brown of New Castle Conservation District in Delaware, Rithanya Saravanan of Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District in Virginia and Riley Alexander of New Castle Conservation District in Delaware.
The Poster Contest provides students from kindergarten through 12th grade the chance to have their art displayed as part of a national conservation outreach initiative. Over 250 students from more than 30 states submitted “Healthy Soils are Full of Life!” themed posters for the 2017 NACD poster contest. The drawings highlight the work of conservation districts and their state conservation associations, auxiliaries, and agencies to protect and enhance natural resources. The contest starts at the district level; winners advance to the state level, and then to the national level, where they receive recognition at NACD’s annual meeting. The poster division winners were; Elijah James Ritter of Delaware County Conservation District in Pennsylvania, Shreaya Ilayanambi of Delaware County Conservation District in Pennsylvania, Xinyi Zhang of the New Jersey Association of Conservation Districts in New Jersey, Cassie Tammy Wang of Mercer County Soil Conservation District in New Jersey, Sara Anne Garst of Clinch Valley Soil and Water Conservation District in Virginia and Rithanya Saravanan of Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District in Virginia.
To view all the works of art visit the National Association of Conservation Districts at www.nacdnet.org.