The Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) celebrated its 74th year at the Annual Dinner Meeting held on Thursday, September 27th at St. Mary’s Banquet Hall in Chardon. As a special collaboration with Geauga County Farm Bureau, this year’s event recognized Geauga County’s first two Bicentennial Farms: The Clarke/Sudyk and The Haskins Family Farms. With approximately 160 people in attendance, the Annual Meeting began with the election of two members to the Geauga SWCD five-member Board of Supervisors. Dee Belew of Auburn Township, Mary Slingluff of Chester Township, and Diana Steffen of Newbury Township were this year’s candidates. Dee Belew and Mary Slingluff were both re-elected to serve 3-year terms as Board Supervisors and will continue charting the course for natural resources management in Geauga County.
Throughout the evening Geauga SWCD and Geauga County Farm Bureau celebrated our county’s commitment to conservation. Geauga SWCD Board Chair Jeff Huntsberger and Geauga Farm Bureau President Kevin O’Reilly kicked off the evening with a welcome and introductions. Both the Clarke/Sudyk and The Haskins Bicentennial Farms were recognized by special guests Sharon Gingerich, Geauga County Recorder, and Janelle Mead, Ohio Department of Agriculture Deputy Director. Family representatives attended and presentations included histories, stories, videos, and resolutions for each farm.
The conservation awards continued with Thomas Kartley being recognized as the 2018 “Best of Show” winner in the Geauga County Fair Hay & Grain Show. The District also honored the Geauga County Big Tree Contest winner, Geauga Park District, for their champion American Beech Tree nominated by naturalist Dan Best and located at the Bessie-Benner Metzenbaum Park. Amy Hochschild of Burton Elementary School was recognized as the 2018 Teacher of the Year for her efforts, accomplishments, and commitment to conservation education. In addition, the following 2018 Poster Contest winners were also acknowledged: Grades K-1: 1st place – Michael Yeager of Westwood Elementary; Grades 2-3: 1st place – Caroline Yeager, 2nd place – Josselyn Mumm, both of Westwood Elementary; Grades 4-6: 1st place – Zoe Virant, 2nd place – Elizabeth Passow, both of St. Mary’s School; and Grades 7-9: 1st place – Leah Bass, 2nd place – Ava Morano, both of St. Mary’s School. The evening concluded with a raffle of various prizes and themed baskets donated by local businesses.
The Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District wishes to thank all of our generous supporters who contributed donations, door prizes, and locally grown foods, especially Geauga County Farm Bureau, Geauga Feed, Sage’s Apples, Smuckers, Seldom Seen Farm, Alvord’s Yard and Garden Equipment, GAR Horizons, Sarah LaTourette, Sharon Gingerich, Patterson Fruit Farm, Messenger Century Farm, Cleveland International Film Festival, USS Cod, Severance Hall, Grand River Cellars, African Safari Wildlife Park, Great Lakes Science Center, Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, Geauga Credit Union, Gutoskey & Associates, White House Chocolates, Mary Yoders Amish Kitchen, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Holden Arboretum/Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Great Lakes Cheese, Utopia Dairy, Ed and Mary Beth Rumburg, Todd Montazzoli, and Hastings Dairy!