Serving on a board of directors can be a thankless job, especially when there is no pay for the service you provide. Board members from the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District understand that and still give generously of their time and talents.
I am pleased to share that our own Steve Sheets from Kingston Township was recognized this week as the Outstanding Ohio SWCD Board Member of the Year at the annual meeting of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in downtown Columbus.
Steve has served on the SWCD board for 24 years, holding the position of chair for six of those years. He was a founding member of the Upper Big Walnut Creek Water Quality Partnership, served as chair of the Streams and Watershed Committee, and hosted several conservation education events on his farm, including the local high school soils judging contests. He has been a strong supporter and advocate of educating our youth about agriculture, conservation and soil health.
Steve has a keen interest in setting conservation policy on the state level and is always eager to discuss conservation needs with county commissioners, members of Ohio’s legislature and U.S. Congress. Steve is a full-time farmer who practices soil conservation on his 487 cropland acres, producing corn and soybeans.
Steve is joined by other members on the board: Sue Cunningham (chair), Ted Colflesh (who received this recognition last year), John Miller, and Dan Lane. These board members each give time away from their homes each month for a board meeting, as well as various events and activities. They assist with workshops or conservation tours, meet with county commissioners, spend time at the Conservation Park at the county fairgrounds, and much more. These selfless individuals give literally hundreds of hours of their time each year supporting the SWCD program.
Once, when I asked Steve why he serves on the board, he humbly and sincerely stated, “I have a passion for the land and just want to do what I can to see it protected.”
There are more than 3,000 conservation districts across the U.S. represented by the National Association of Conservation Districts. Each of Ohio’s 88 conservation districts is an autonomous unit of government, funded by county, township and municipal funds which are matched with funds from the state. The mission of the Delaware SWCD is “Helping you help the land!” Through the guidance of the board, the SWCD provides technical assistance, education programs and natural resources information, in both our agricultural and urban communities.
We are proud of board member Sheets’ recognition for his efforts and thankful for the dedication of all five of our board members. I hope you will thank them, as well whenever you see them in the community.