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News Release

Walker County Earth Team Receives National Award

AUBURN, Ala., August 21, 2013

Walker Co. wins National Earth Team Award

(l-r) Alabama Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) Area III Vice President Diane McCool; Walker County Supervisors Joe Love and Dwight Hicks; Walker County SWCD DAC Katherine Patton; AACD President Sue Gaines; Alabama NRCS State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett; and Jasper District Conservationist Daniel Goins

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Earth Team in Jasper, Alabama, received the 2013 National Earth Team Chief’s Field Award for the Southeast Region.

The Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the NRCS field office staff work together to administer Farm Bill programs and conservation education. Together they coordinated quality projects that earned them this award.

These activities included tree giveaways at the Arbor Day Program and the annual tree sale at the local Wal-Mart garden center to help citizens become aware of the importance of trees to the environment. Tours, clinics, and workshops like the Forestry Landowner Tour, Beef Herd Health Clinic, Wildlife Management Seminar, and Estate Planning for Landowners Workshop helped land managers learn best management practices from their peers. Conservation education activities to engage and teach area youth were also organized. These included land, livestock, and forestry judging contests, tractor driving contest, and Outdoor Classroom events.

Partnering with state and local agencies is important to the success of planning the workshops and educational activities. Round table discussions are held that allow everyone to provide input on topics and speakers. Earth Team Volunteers are able to get a sense of ownership by being involved in planning events from concept to completion. Some of these partners include the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Alabama Forestry Commission, Walker County Forestry Planning Committee, Walker County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Earth Team Volunteers.

Jasper NRCS District Conservationist Daniel Goins and Walker County District Administrative Coordinator Katherine Patton both agree that without the help of the volunteers it would not be possible to educate as many students and landowners as they do throughout the year. They especially would not have achieved the National NRCS Chief’s Field Office Award without these special talents.

The Walker County Soil and Water Conservation District is also proud to have received the Alabama 2013 State Conservation Education District of the Year Award for the first time.

Dr. William Puckett, Alabama NRCS State Conservationist, said, “We are proud of the conservation achievements of the NRCS/SWCD staff and the Earth Team in Walker County. They are very deserving of this award.”