CIRCLEVILLE – The Highland Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) attended the Area 5 winter meeting held Dec. 6 at Emmett Chapel United Methodist Church in Circleville. The meeting featured speeches, presentations, the swearing in of officials and award presentations.
Partnering agencies gave updates, including the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Employees. The keynote speakers for the evening was George Kaitsa, the Delaware County auditor, who spoke about CAUV reform.
Judge Randall Knece, of Pickaway County Common Pleas Court, swore in the newly elected and re-elected Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors. Dan Chambers and Mike Penn took the oath of office for the Highland County SWCD.
The Area 5 Service Awards were presented to three individuals. The Area 5 directors selected Steve Jenkins, Meigs SWCD Program administrator; Tim White, Fairfield SWCD supervisor; and Chuck Williams, Highland SWCD District technician.
Pam Bushelman, Highland SWCD operations manager, had the honor of presenting Williams the Area 5 Service Award for Employee of the Year on behalf of the Highland SWCD Board and the Area 5 directors. Williams is a native of Highland County and takes pride in his work at the district. He began his career in 2001 to mainly focus on the Rocky Fork 319 Watershed Grant, where he worked closely with landowners to find out their needs and hosted field days and public meetings as part of the grant. As he gained experience with soil and water conservation he started assisting customers and helping other staff implement various conservation programs in the county. Williams became more involved and assisted landowners with developing conservation farm plans that outlined their entire operation. As a result of budget and staff reductions, Williams stepped to the plate and became the primary district’s technician in 2009.
Williams never backs down from an opportunity to increase his knowledge as he was one of the first in the state to successfully complete the Technician Development Program known as TDP from level 1-5. With Highland County consistently being one of the top funded EQIP and CRP counties in the state, Williams’ workload is extremely overwhelming with planning, designing and installing conservation practices. Over the years Williams has acquired job approval authority in many areas due to his years of experience that has attributed to Highland County being self-sufficient in getting practices on the ground. Williams is always willing to help out when needed to make sure that the county’s core soil and water conservation programs stay in place and the district stays true to its mission.
The Highland Soil and Water Conservation District Board and staff would like to thank Williams for his dedicated service for over 16 years.
Submitted by Pam Bushelman, Highland SWCD.