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News Release

Virginian Duane Mohr Honored with NRCS Volunteer Award

Barbara Bowen
(804) 287-1679

    Duane Mohr teaches youth about caring for sheep at a recent Prince William SWCD Farm Field Day.

Duane Mohr teaches youth about caring for sheep at a recent Prince William SWCD FarmField Day.

Richmond, VA, April 4, 2019 – Duane Mohr of Nokesville, Va., donated the first of what would eventually be more than 500 hours to the cause of conservation in the fall of 2017.  Only eighteen months later, he received the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS’) highest award for volunteerism.

The agency selected Mohr as the nation’s top individual volunteer for outstanding contributions to the Earth Team Program through his work with the Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD). Mohr functions as a soil conservationist for the district, which nominated him for assisting local residents with a wide range of stewardship activities to include nutrient management and grazing systems.

District Conservation Planner Mike Miller credits Mohr as a driving force in the following areas:

Conservation planning: Mohr’s first exposure to the NRCS came about 15 years ago when he requested help in formulating a conservation plan for his own farm, where he grows hops and breeds sheep and horses. He raised his level of involvement in 2017, after he retired as a military meteorologist. Mohr now devotes most of his volunteer hours to preparing plans for others and has developed recommendations for more than 900 acres in Prince William County. He has taken the test to become a certified nutrient management planner and is completing course work for conservation planner certification through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. 

Storm Water Management: Miller said Mohr regularly accompanies SWCD staff on site visits to properties owned by persons who’ve requested help through the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP). Mohr also has assisted with outreach to state and local government officials, led tours of completed VCAP projects and mentored a high school student who designed and installed a raingarden for a local homeowner.

Conservation Education: Mohr, a master gardener for more than a decade, has helped NRCS’ Warrenton Service Center staff expand the reach of education programs in Prince William County.  He’s conducted numerous rainfall simulator demonstrations for children and worked with the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) to provide introductory soils presentations for new master gardeners. Mohr is a major contributor to the SWCD’s annual farm field day, sharing lessons on livestock care with an estimated 1,400 third graders who participate each year. He also supports the district’s annual watershed education program serving 500-600 fourth graders.

“These accomplishments only scratch the surface of why the PWSWCD staff feel that Duane Mohr is a paragon of an Earth Team volunteer,” Miller said.  “He’s just a tremendous asset to our office.  It has been a great joy to mentor Duane and I can think of no one more deserving of this award.”

“I didn’t start volunteering with the idea of winning awards,” Mohr said after the award presentation. “This work is something I enjoy doing and, the more of it I do, the more I seem to like it.”

Mohr was also recognized as the top individual volunteer for the 11-state Southeast Region. He received both awards at a Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts area meeting on April 3.

Established in 1985, the Earth Team Program offers many opportunities to individuals 14 and older to partner with employees to provide a wide range of service to private landowners and the public. Learn more about Earth Team in Virginia.