Morgan County Soil and Water Conservation District
2020 Award Winners
On February 12, 2020 Morgan County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted its Annual Meeting for landowners. Several local citizens were presented awards for making an impact in soil and water conservation in Morgan County. We are ever grateful for the resources found with in our county but even more so the residents who devote so much energy caring for these valuable resources.
2019 Indiana River Friendly Farmer Award Winners
In Indiana, since 1999, key conservation & agricultural organizations have sponsored the River Friendly Farmer Program. The statewide initiative recognizes farmers and landowners, who through good production management practices helps keep Indiana’s rivers, lakes and streams clean. Annually, each county SWCD may nominate up to two farmers who do an outstanding job of protecting their rivers, lakes and streams through their every day conservation management practices on the farm in this statewide program. We would like to congratulate M & B Farms and Hunter’s Honey Farm for being awarded this prestigious recognition here in Morgan County in 2019.
M & B Farms has focused on forest management, decreasing chemical use, installing grassy waterways and restored many wildlife habitats to improve the water quality on their farm.
Hunter’s Honey Farm has focused on pollinator habitats, invasive species control, minimal spraying, more mechanical and non-toxic treatments and maintaining woodlands to improve the water quality leaving their farm.
2020 Youth in Conservation Award
Kaytlin is currently a Junior at Mooresville High School and involved in 4-H, Key Club, FFA, and show choir. She is passionate for biology, and is planning on pursuing a college degree in medical surgical nursing and hopes to obtain a minor in a field that will provide her work that is outdoors. She enjoys learning about organisms and how they function and interact to their environment. She has been involved in 4-H for 9 years. Kaytlin is in many different clubs within 4-H and has served as an officer on many occasions within those clubs. She is ambitious and exhibits leadership, sportsmanship, and is goal oriented. In 2019, she decided to focus her Soil and Water Science 4-H Project on cigarette litter and how it affects decomposers in the soil. She believes it is important to understand how decomposers are affected by our trash and litter. She tested the difference between worms exposed to used and unused cigarettes, and how it affected their health. She used cigarette butts and litter from her dad’s work to recreate what our real world is like. Her hard work has earned her Morgan County Champion AND Indiana State Champion Soil and Water Science project, She also was able to attend the State Fair achievement trip due to her accomplishments!
2020 Conservationist of the Year Award
Bryan Schmeiser and Family
Since 2016 Bryan has performed more than 70 acres of Timber Stand Improvement in controlling grapevines on marketable trees, culling damaged and diseased trees and creating openings to foster the regeneration of native oak and hickory species. He also treated many invasive brush species on over 27 acres of woodlands annually for 3 years. All of these treatments were completed by Bryan and his forest consultant through a USDA contract under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). In addition to work performed on the woodlands he has established a native prairie consisting of native grasses, forbs and legumes. Bryan’s motivation for creating the native prairie habitat was to support pollinators, birds, & upland wildlife. Bryan controls weeds selectively by hand applying herbicide with a cloth glove and manual removal.
The continuous and vigilant efforts of Mr. Schmeiser in controlling invasive species, managing his native hardwood forests and enhancing native wildlife habitat will insure he will be passing on a high quality farm to the next generation.
2020 Friend of Conservation Award
Purpura Maple Farm
Originally from New York, Paul Purpura moved to Indiana in 1972 courtesy of the U.S. Army. While in Indiana, he met his wife, Susan. He and Susan moved to the Martinsville area in 2003 and shortly afterwards Paul was deployed to the Middle East for two tours of service. Purpura Farms started shortly after his return in 2005 when the Purpuras walked their property with a forester and he noted the large number of sugar maples there. They started tapping a few trees “just for fun” and then things grew from there! They currently tap 150-200 trees and produce around 25-30 gallons of maple syrup a year, which they sell at the Morgan County Farmer’s Markets. They have learned to improve soil and water conservation on their land by using fallen tree placement to reduce soil erosion on the many slopes and ravines on their property, forest management techniques, unwanted plant control and trail maintenance with diverters and gravel. They have also installed a vacuum tube system which greatly reduces travel across the land and reduces creek crossings and soil erosion .