The Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) celebrated 75 years of assisting area landowners in their conservation efforts at the annual meeting and election of supervisors held in November at The Connection in Wooster with 115 guests present.
Founded in 1947, countless landowners, farmers, businesses, agencies and citizens have benefited from the guidance, direction and expertise of Wayne SWCD’s staff.
“Wayne County Commissioners extend their sincere appreciation, appreciation and congratulations to the Wayne Soil and Water Conservation District for 75 years of hard work, dedication and service to Wayne County.” County Commissioner Ron Amstutz said during a proclamation presentation to the SWCD Board of Supervisors.
The evening began with historian Paul Locher leading a guessing game on ancient farming tools and describing their uses. It culminated with the presentations of the Conservation Farm Award and the Conservation Educator of the Year Award.
Kelly Riley, Wayne SWCD Education Specialist, presented retired Chippewa High School teacher Dave Parfitt with the Conservation Educator of the Year award. He was honored for a project he started in 1973, when Parfitt and his students transformed a 3-acre cow pasture into an outdoor science laboratory now known as Parfitt’s Paradise. Students and community members continue to enjoy what has become a beautiful and mature forest setting.
“I’m very happy that students can still get in there and learn more about nature,” Parfitt said. “I come here many times and meet former students and meet their children. It is truly a joy. »
Although he is 81 years old, Parfitt still enjoys being the unofficial custodian of Parfitt’s Paradise Wildlife Sanctuary.
Matt Peart, Board Member of Wayne SWCD, presented the Conservation Farm Award to Shane and Suzanne Hartzler of Crossroads Dairy, a 200-acre organic farm in Milton Township, for their continued conservation practices.
It is a sixth-generation family farm with its headquarters located around a bank barn built in 1849, at the crossroads of Benner and Steiner roads.
The dairy went organic from 2004 to 2007 and Crossroads Dairy now produces milk for Organic Valley. They milked 70 cows twice a day in a “double-13” parlor that reduced their milking time from 3.5 hours to 45 minutes.
“They’ve transitioned to organic milk production and are using a number of key conservation practices,” Peart said. “I think if you talk to them, they’ll say they’re not doing this for themselves; we do it for our children.
Prior to the close of the meeting, Rob Hamilton, ODA-Division of Soil & Water, announced that Dustin Ramsier and Scott Stoller had each been re-elected to a three-year term on the Board.