Conserve and report

WCCD seeks excellence in environmental education

Times Observer photo by Dave Ferry Kiantone Creek in Farmington Township is just one of many area streams at risk of erosion and pollution problems without conservation efforts.

There may not be a dust bowl now, but conservation districts are serving some of the same purposes they were created to address in the 1930s.

“Conservation districts are still made up of volunteers committed to the conservation movement,” according to information from the Warren County Conservation District website. “Encouraging farm conservation planning and proper management of soil and water resources is still the backbone of the district’s program. Today, however, an awareness of increasing environmental problems has expanded the district’s programs to include conservation education in schools, urban and rural erosion and sedimentation control programs, storm water management and several non-point source pollution programs.”

The Warren County Conservation District is looking to recognize excellence in environmental education and encourage those who plan to study conservation with scholarships.

Educator

Nominees do not have to be full-time teachers.

“Nominate a teacher, scout troop leader, 4H leader, day care provider, or educator in any other type of organization who you feel may qualify for the title of 2018 Environmental Educator of the Year, whether it’s their outstanding teaching abilities or their endless energy put into educating our local community,” Watershed Specialist Jean Gomory said. “To nominate a candidate, please send us a short paragraph describing programs they’re involved with or have started, or any other accomplishments in environmental education you would like to see recognized.”

The nomination deadline is Friday, Feb. 15.

Nominations may be sent via email to jgomory@wcconservation.net. Those with questions may call 726-1441 for more information.

Scholarships

The conservation district will award two scholarships to students who will move forward with their education in conservation fields.

“The Ralph G. Eckert Scholarship is awarded annually by the Warren County Conservation District to a deserving county student planning to continue her or his education in a conservation-related field or service,” Gomory said. ” This scholarship is named for Ralph Eckert, who served in the Soil Conservation Service in Warren County from 1950-1966.”

Eckert graduated with a degree in forestry from Penn State and “devoted his entire life to conservation issues,” Gomory said. “He was a frequent lecturer and instructor of youth on proper stewardship of our natural resources. He was also active in the Boy Scout movement, wrote columns for the local newspaper, and contributed articles to outdoor magazines.”

He was “instrumental in planning and developing the Outdoor Ecology Lab at Eisenhower High School,” she said. “The Conservation District is proud to offer this scholarship in his name, to promote the love of the outdoors, and the conservation of natural resources through education.”

The conservation district also awards the Warren County Council of Sportsmen’s Clubs scholarships.

“This opportunity is available to high school seniors residing in Warren County who wish to enter college to pursue an environmental degree,” Gomory said. “Students can each apply for both scholarships. If you need additional information or an application package, please contact the Warren County Conservation District office at 814-726-1441 or www.wcconservation.net. Students should also inquire at their high school’s guidance office.”

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