Geauga County SWCD celebrates 75 years

From the Dust Bowl to Diamonds… Geauga SWCD Celebrates 75 Years of Conservation

The Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) celebrated its 75th year at the Annual Dinner Meeting held on Thursday, Oct. 10 at the Claridon Woodlands Lodge. With approximately 63 people in attendance, the meeting began with the election of two members to the Geauga SWCD five-member Board of Supervisors. Tracy Engle of Auburn Township, Jeffrey Huntsberger of Munson Township, and Todd Ray of Munson Township were this year’s candidates. Engle and Huntsberger were both elected to serve three-year terms as board supervisors and will continue charting the course for natural resources management in Geauga County. Mike Henry of Auburn Township was recognized by the Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Soil and Water Conservation for his 12 years of service as he serves his final term.

Throughout the evening, Geauga SWCD celebrated the county’s commitment to conservation, with a special focus on the District’s 75th Anniversary. Geauga SWCD Board Chair Mike Henry kicked off the evening with a welcome and introductions. District Director/Engineer, Carmella Shale, provided a special presentation using photographs, newspaper articles, meeting minutes and historical documents to craft the story of the district from 1944 to the present.  Through the years, over 65 Geauga County landowners have served on the Board of Supervisors including Chuck Lausin (1972 – 1978) who was in attendance. Though unable to attend, Ken Folsom was recognized as the longest serving supervisor with a total of 14 years (2001-2012, 2014-2015).  Shale concluded the presentation by reading a poem that she had found in her research written by one of the original board supervisors, Albert Haskins, in 1950. State Rep. John Patterson, presented Shale with a Certificate of Commendation and Congratulations for the District’s 75 years from the Ohio House of Representatives, and U.S. Congressman David Joyce’s office presented a Certificate of Recognition and Achievement. The Geauga SWCD staff also recognized Shale for her 20 years of leadership as District Director/Engineer.

The conservation awards began with Amanda O’Reilly 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 (Public Land), West Geauga Community Joint Recreation District, for its champion American Sycamore Tree nominated by Susan Curtis and located at the West Geauga Commons.  Also recognized was the Big Tree Champion American Sycamore on Private Land owned by Anthony Pacioreck of Novelty.

A special recognition was given to Byron Leffler of Novelty for painting 10 rain barrels for the District’s Rain Barrel Yard Art Campaign! In addition, the following 2019 Poster Contest winners were also acknowledged: 

Grades 2-3:  1st place – Thomas Skytta of Jordak Elementary, 2nd place – Savannah Brockway; Grades 4-6: 1st place – Samantha Gautam of Kenston Middle School, 2nd place – Greg Savron of Notre Dame Elementary School; and Grades 10-11: 1st place – Kaden Knake of West Geauga High 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 the generous supporters who contributed donations and door prizes, especially Gutoskey & Associates, African Safari Wildlife Park, Lake County Captains, Cleveland Orchestra, Peak Resorts, WhirlyBall, Mary Yoders Amish Kitchen, Cleveland International Film Festival, Quill Corp., USS Cod Submarine, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Great Lakes Cheese, Messenger Century Farm, Western Reserve Historical Society, and Pickle Bills.