The Johnson County Youth Conservation Board has been in existence for more than 30 years. It is the only one of its kind in the state of Indiana and perhaps the entire country. It is open to all Johnson County High School students that would like to participate.
The Johnson County Youth Conservation Board assists the Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District with many activities. Just a few examples of recent years are field days, annual meetings, storm drain labeling, Indiana Envirothon Competitions and soils contests.
The Youth Board provides area students with a "hands-on" approach to conservation education and practices. Their trademark is the Fifth Grade Pine Seedling Program. This year marked the 30th anniversary delivering a pine seedling to every fifth grade student in Johnson County, both in public and private schools.
This program affords the Board an opportunity to address conservation issues and educate their younger peers on the benefits of trees to our soil and water. It is estimated that more than 50,000 trees have been districted through this program and each student is encouraged to either plant the tree at home or share with a friend or relative that can plant it.
Last week was the 2014 Fifth Grade Pine Seedling Program Days. It took two full days, two dedicated adults and nine high school youth board members to visit each fifth grade classroom in the county.
The kids love the trees and the opportunity to plant and grow something. The real purpose of this program, however, is the chance for the older students to educate younger children on the importance of our natural resources, the effects of natural processes and droughts, and conservation techniques.
"The kids are always shocked when they see soil erosion taking place with our demonstration." said Chase Neville, Youth Board Member. "I have been asked twice about what would happen if a hurricane hit their tree. Kids are funny!"