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Local Conservation Efforts Recognized
The Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District held its Annual Awards Luncheon on Thursday, November 13, 2014. The award luncheon honored individuals and groups in the community who have worked diligently to help improve water quality and soil health. The luncheon was held at the Lee-Jackson Inn and Conference Center in Winchester.
This year's honorees included three Conservation Farm Award winners :
David Hardesty, owner of Harvue Farm in Clarke County was recognized for the conservation practices he had implemented on his dairy operation. Some of the steps he has taken toward cleaner water and protection of the soil include increased manure handling capabilities, a special barn for cattle health and comfort that keeps them out of the field during muddy periods, and an extensive cover-cropping plan to prevent soil erosion.
Mr. and Mrs. Carroll Messick, operating Long Creek Farm in Frederick County were honored for their significant accomplishment in over two miles of fencing they installed along the part Opequon Creek that runs through their farm. The fence excludes livestock from the water, and the riparian buffer that is growing within the fence helps improve water quality and increase native habitat. Over 12 acres were set aside in the project for the riparian buffer.
Alan and Briana Hawkins of Tomahawk Farm in Shenandoah County were honored for their extensive and innovative conservation practices. In addition to fencing livestock out of creeks, runs, and ponds, the Hawkins installed a solar-powered and gravity flow irrigation system, making fresh water available to their animals in an energy efficient manner. It is one of the first of its kind in the area. In addition, they practice a managed grazing system which keeps the soil healthy, the water clean, and the animals productive.
Also recognized were two Outstanding Urban Forestry Awardees:
The Town of Woodstock was honored for its work in increasing the urban tree canopy in Woodstock by 8% over the next number of years. An increase in urban tree canopy helps to regulate urban temperature, improve air and water quality, and manage storm-water impacts. Reid Wodicka, Angela K. Clem, and Michael George received the award on behalf of the Town of Woodstock.
Front Royal/Warren County Tree Stewards were recognized for their significant contribution to the Royal Shenandoah Greeway, the Happy Creek Arboretum, public education, and their dedication to increasing the urban tree canopy in Front Royal.
Shenandoah University was presented with the award for Urban Conservation. Over the past several years, Shenandoah University has worked diligently at managing storm water and runoff on its campus. They have converted some impervious surfaces to permeable ones, installed a streambank naturalization project, and numerous other projects, making the campus a model for urban stormwater management.
Special recognition was given to Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel and Delegate Randall Minchew for their outstanding support for conservation in the Virginia legislature. Senator Vogel and Delegate Minchew have proven over the course of their tenure as elected officials that conservation is an absolute priority. Both have been leaders and strong advocates for the preservation of open spaces and the rural landscapes they represent, and they have supported the securing of funding for farmers to implement best management practices to protect our vital resources.