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Indiana friends of conservation honored this week

Indiana friends of conservation honored this week
Three Hoosiers who have promoted soil conservation in their own way recognized at IASWCD conference.

The Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts honored three individuals as Friends of Conservation during their annual meeting in Indianapolis this week. The award winners were Alan Johnson, Bill Fuller and Neil Ainsle. Here's a closer look.

Al Johnson is dean of the Vincennes University Jasper campus. For the past several years, he has pledged support to the Dubois County soil and water conservation district to develop a model conservation example on land owned by the university surrounding the campus. He contacted the district before they could contact him!

Related: Who says the Indiana Master Farmer award is just for no-tillers?

Visionary leader: It's not every day you find an avid supporter of soil and water conservation in the dean's office of a university campus. Alan Johnson fills the bill.

Known as the Vincennes University Jasper Campus Land Stewardship Initiative, part of the land demonstrates ag practices, and part shows how land can be managed for other uses.

Johnson supported the district as it installed practices need on the land and moved toward conservation tillage. Research is conducted there to show the benefits of conservation tillage, and the site is also used as a training hub for the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative project.

About 13 acres at the front of the campus, visible to everyone, was converted to prairie under his guidance. He led negotiations with the City of Jasper to develop the prairie instead of continuing to mow grass on the property.

Bill Fuller, Greene County, is active on the Plummer Creek Advisory Committee. It's an EPA 319 grant project overseen by the Greene County SWCD. His efforts have helped open up cost-share practices for landowners and farmers to improve water quality in Plummer Creek.

He also has helped raise funds and plant native grasses and flowers for the Greene County Viaduct Committee. Friends say he is truly a supporter of conservation.

Related: 75 years of saving soil, planting trees in Indiana

Reverend Ainsle, Wells County, is known for organizing programs to educate both youth and adults about the history and science associated with the Wabash River. He has developed a water quality monitoring program to provide insight into impairments of streams and rivers in the community. He is also a member on the steering committee of the Upper Wabash River Basin Commission.

Brownfield Ag Network sponsored these awards.

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