Meadville Tribune

February 21, 2014

Awards handed out for outstanding conservation

By Jane Smith
Meadville Tribune

VERNON TOWNSHIP — Crawford County Conservation District presented special awards in recognition of outstanding conservation efforts in 2013 at Thursday’s annual dinner at the Days Inn.

James and Jane Reilly were presented the Conservation Forestry Stewardship Award by Mark Lewis, service forester of the Bureau of Forestry. They were recognized for the work they have done on their land near Spartansburg where they have a large wooded tract. Work has included good stewardship ethics as well as tree planting and preserving wetlands.

Judy Acker was named Conservation Educator of the Year and presented a plaque from Kathy Uglow, environmental educator. Acker is the French Creek outreach coordinator for Audubon Pennsylvania and previously was director of the French Creek Outdoor Learning Center for 12 years. Uglow said more than 5,000 students participated at the Outdoor Learning Center during Acker’s tenure. She noted that Acker is presenting all types of educational programs for Audubon Pennsylvania to educate people about conservation. In accepting the award, Acker thanked the district and noted, “it’s nice to be recognized. It means a lot to me.”

The Conservation Farmer of the Year Award went to Todd and Anne Kantz and their children. The first-generation farming family purchased a farm of 120 acres in Sadsbury Township where they also rent another 1,200 acres. They milk 130 cows daily and raise 150 replacement heifers. They were given special recognition for their conservation efforts, including their no-till practices, according to Jody Lasko, supervisor district conservationist, who presented the award.

Supervisors of six county townships were next to come to the podium to accept Dirt and Gravel Road Municipal Awards presented by Maria Dreese, erosion and sedimentation control technician. The statewide program provides funding to eliminate stream pollution caused by runoff and sediment from unpaved roads. Townships participating in the program last year were Athens, Randolph, Richmond, Summerhill, Wayne and Woodcock. Maria Dreese, erosion and sedimentation control technician, presented the certificates.

Gary Mason was named recipient of the Outstanding Volunteer Award by Uglow. In presenting the award, Uglow noted Mason has volunteered with the district for six years. He had retired. He also volunteers with Hospice, the Crawford County Historical Society and Crawford Central School District, among others. Uglow noted Mason goes to Crawford County Conservation District meetings early to help set up and stays late to clean up. “He leads by example,” she said.

Mason said he had never learned about conservation when he went to school and said it is important to educate people about preserving the environment.