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WJBD - Local News - Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District Holds Annual Awards

Amy Herdes of Iuka Grade School receives her award.

Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District Holds Annual Awards

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District Board honored several people for their work in conservation at the group's annual meeting Thursday night.  

The Marion County Conservation Farm Family is Dale and Hilda Donoho who began farming in 1956 in Haines Township.  The Donoho's were described as strong advocates for soil conservation and were among the first to use no-till.  Dale Donoho said good conservation practices are essential to his farm operation.

"it's very important... If we can get the [branches of the river] clear again like they were 70 years ago, we're doing really good" said Donoho.

The 2,000 acre Donoho farm also uses grass waterways, quail borders, and other CRP practices.   

Fourth generation Raccoon Township farmer Charlie Fulton was named Cooperator of the Year.  

"We've built ponds and waterways and so on and so forth. It's like Howard Buffet says, if we do not take care of the soil we wont be able to feed the generations to come" said Fulton.

Fulton says soil stewardship should be the main thought of any dedicated farmer to protect the land for future generations.  

The Jake Davis Friend of Conservation Award was presented to recently retired Illinois Department of Natural Resources forester Mary Grapperhaus.   She's pleased with cooperation between agencies to assist land owners.

"If we all work together and do our different parts, we can accomplish the goals of the farm bill on all of our properties. It's been a good ride" said Grapperhaus.

Grapperhaus plans to continue to help on several conservation projects.  

The Conservation Teacher of the Year is Amy Herdes who has been teaching 21 years , last 16 as 4th grade teacher at Iuka Grade School.  She shared the message she tells students about conservation.

"Each one of them [has a] personal responsibilities to care for our Earth...so our grandchildren and great grandchildren can enjoy this Earth as we do" Herdes said.

Herdes commended the Soil and Water Conservation District for their help in providing teaching materials.   Each year, Herdes has students focus their science fair projects on soil and water conservation.   

The conservation district honored the Fifth Grade Poster Contest WInners.  Emily Crompton of Franklin Park Junior High took first place, Jacob Pritchard of Sandoval Grade School second place and Riah Bottles of Odin Grade School third place.   

The Odin High School FFA was honored as the Marion County Land Use Contest Winner and the FFA Winner in the Marion County Environthon Contest.  Sandoval High School was introduced as the overall Environthon Winner.   

Three board members were unanimously elected for two year terms.  They are Dwayne Snow, Tom Byers and Van Dykstra.   

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