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Soil and Water Conservation announces award winners
Posted By Staff On February 9, 2011 @ 2:01 am In Outdoors | No Comments
From press release
Winnebago County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) held its 70th annual meeting and awards luncheon Friday, Jan. 28, at Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Rockford. About 90 people attended the event, which included a short business meeting with election of directors, and staff reports outlining district activities.
Local landowners and organizations were recognized for their outstanding efforts in the field of Environmental Education and Awareness, Outstanding Erosion and Sediment Control on Construction sites, and Support of the Soil and Water Conservation District. A Farm Family was also recognized, as well as a Lifetime Friend of Soil and Water.
Four people ran for a two-year term as Soil and Water director. Incumbents John Carlson of Pecatonica and Mark Johnson of Winnebago were voted into office for two-year terms.
To complement the event, the district held a silent auction to benefit the local Land Use Council 16 Envirothon. More than 50 local businesses, organizations and individuals donated items ranging from gift cards and golf packages, prints and other one-of-a-kind items. The silent auction brought in more than $1,500, which will go toward this year’s Northeastern Illinois LUC 16 Envirothon competition.
Awards for conservation efforts that were presented include the following:
→ Conservation Family Farm Award: Hazzard Farm Family—Ken Hazzard’s future career in agriculture was nurtured by his father, as they worked together on the family farm in Winnebago County’s Seward Township. While milking cows, raising hogs and working on shares alongside his father, his knowledge and expertise grew. In 1968, he took over the farming operation from his father.
His first independent venture was to rent and assume responsibility for the entire 220-acre farm. It was here that Ken and his wife Genise would raise two children, son Adam and daughter Andrea, both of whom have continued the family farming legacy.
Ken and Adam farm more than 1,100 acres throughout the county. Their operation is primarily corn and soybeans, with some hay and wheat rotated in. Ken and Adam also run Hazzard Tiling, a business they created nine years ago as a joint venture. They have worked together on numerous projects installing field drain tile and tile along grassed waterways on farms throughout Winnebago County; and with the recent wet springs, they’ve stayed quite busy. Ken is very familiar with conservation programs; seeing firsthand the environmental benefits of converting an old 20-acre cattle pasture adjacent to a creek into a CRP Riparian Buffer.
In addition to farming, Ken is skilled at equipment repair and hoop house building, which his daughter, Andrea, of Hazzard Free Farms, can attest to. Andrea has followed the family tradition, carving out a career in agriculture, operating a Certified Naturally Grown farm in Pecatonica Township as part of Community Supported Agriculture. Andrea specializes in growing heirloom and unique varieties of potatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes as well as herbs. Andrea considers Hazzard Free Farms to be a new chapter in her family’s farming legacy.
→ Environmental Awareness Award: Rock Valley College—Rock Valley College (RVC) is a comprehensive two-year community college on a 217-acre wooded campus in Rockford. RVC makes a difference in the community through teaching, learning and leading. They have had sustainable practices in place for a number of years, including academics classes and programs, working in coordination with community groups, facilities planning to have the U.S. Green Building commission “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) recognition and operational efforts that include recycling, greener cleaning practices, handling of landscaping waste and the development of rain gardens.
→ Outstanding Erosion & Sediment Control Award: Northern Illinois Service Company—Northern Illinois Service Company (NIS) was founded in 1970 by Wayne Klinger as a demolition and site work contractor. In the 40 years since, they have grown to include four quarries, 45 employees, and a service area that includes northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.
NIS has experience working as a team with contractors, civil engineers, municipalities, and developers, and understands coordination and planning play important roles in project success. NIS has demonstrated their understanding and appropriate application of best management practices for controlling non-point source pollution impacts that affect ecosystems in existing communities and developing areas.
→ Lifetime Friend of Soil and Water Award: Eldora Zimmerman—This year, Eldora Zimmerman was recognized as a “Lifetime Friend of Soil and Water.” Zimmerman is sometimes best referred to as “Born to Make Trouble.” She has been involved with the Soil and Water Conservation District for close to 40 years, serving as a director from 1973 through 1995, and has remained an associate director since then.
From the very beginning, Zimmerman had a passion for the benefits and services of the Soil and Water Conservation District. She started promoting farm tours and no-till, developed the Horizons newsletter, and started the annual tree sale program. She was instrumental in starting the agreement with the Health Department to conduct soil borings for septic suitability, and making sure natural resource information was provided to land-use decision-makers.
Zimmerman’s involvement wasn’t just at the local level, as she was also placed on the State Conservation District Board and later to the State Conservation Advisory Board, where she was named chairman. Her involvement in the community also included working with the County Farm Bureau, the Rock Valley College formation committee, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Durand Woman’s Club.
→ Chairman’s Special Award: Winnebago County—This year, we chose to recognize Winnebago County with our Chairman’s Special Award. The county has been a great supporter of the district over the years, and has done many things over the years that fall in line with the goals and objectives of the Soil and Water Conservation District. The Administration Office and County Planning & Zoning Department have been instrumental in their efforts in developing sustainable and natural resource-based ordinances for the county’s 2030 Land-Use Plan; watershed and flood mitigation endeavors have resulted in grants recently received by the County Highway Department for two watershed studies to be conducted; and the county’s work and support in the development of Freedom Field, and other initiatives.
Photo contest winner
SWCD named David Zimmerman as the 2010 photo contest winner. His award-winning photograph, called “Splashes and Grasses,” captures the breathtaking beauty of the main waterfall at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford. Zimmerman, who has lived in the Durand area most of his life, has a passion for photography.
House resolution for 70th anniversary
SWCD is thankful to state Rep. Jim Sacia (R-89), who offered House Resolution 1280 to help celebrate SWCD’s 70th anniversary. The resolution stated: “Be it resolved, By the House of Representatives of the 96th General Assembly of the State of Illinois, that we congratulate everyone involved with the Winnebago County SWCD and wish them the best on this anniversary.” Sacia presented SWCD a copy of the resolution, which was adopted May 25, 2010.
To help celebrate its 70th anniversary, the district also recognized past farm family winners from their records, dating back to 1968. Thirteen past winners and their families attended the luncheon, and the district purchased a commemorative plaque listing all past recipients.
Past farm family winners in attendance included Dietmier (1969 and 1975), Heeren (1974), Pell (1980), Binger (1985), Freedlund (1986), Sacia (1993), Vormezelle (1996), Glenny (1998), Tipton/VandDeWalle (2001), McCallips (2002) and Beuth (2008).
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