Soil Stewardship Week is underway across the U.S. and continues through May 3. Promoted by the National Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, this celebration is held every year. Its' purpose is to raise awareness of the need for soil conservation, not only amongst rural people but also amongst urban dwellers.
Soil and water conservation districts across the state are engaged in different events this week to celebrate soil conservation, notes Jennifer Boyle, executive director of the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Typical activities promoted by districts include providing placemats for any banquets that occur, or even at local restaurants, and providing bookmarks and Sunday bulletins to local churches.
This year there will be a special celebration in Indianapolis, Boyle notes. A tree will be planted this week on the grounds of the Indiana Farm Bureau headquarters in Indianapolis. The building is also home to IASWCD.
Besides being appropriate to commemorate a week devoted to practicing stewardship of natural resources, the tree will be dedicated to a former great leader in conservation. He's not a Hoosier, but he was admired by many Hoosiers who worked with him on the national level.
Olin Sims, then NACD president, was killed in a farm accident during his term. Known as a thoughtful and successful leader in helping promote soil conservation programs across the country, his memory remains alive to those who knew him. Organizers of the tree planting ceremony hope that the tree will help keep his memory alive well into the future.
The event will include participation by many from Indiana's soil conservation partnership. The partnership includes IASWCD, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, headed in Indiana by Jane Hardisty, a native Hoosier, the Division of Soil Conservation, part of ISDA, and Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.
Jared Chew was just recently names as the new leader of the Division of Soil Conservation for Indiana. He replaced Tammy Lawson, who will still work on special projects for the Division. Chew served as assistant director until taking the reins of the agency.
Chuck Hibberd is the head of Purdue Extension. He's now in his second year of service. Hibberd hails from Nebraska. He set out to visit every county in the state when he arrived in late '07, and completed his quest a couple months in advance. His journeys across Indiana also gave him a good opportunity to see Indiana's conservation needs and judge its' successes.