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Conservation Awards

Conservation awards presented at  year end 4-H and FFA banquets

At the end of each school year, the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District (MRSWCD) sponsors a Conservation Award for one student from each FFA or 4-H chapter who participated in one of the board’s events. The teacher provides the conservation district with the name of the deserving student, a member of the board then presents an award plaque to the student at the year end  banquet. Additionally, the board makes a monetary donation to the participating FFA chapter or 4-H.

Students who are selected for the award may have won the conservation oriented speech contest. Or they may have been the high scoring member of their land judging team at the local or state level, for example.

Current non-partisan, volunteer, elected board members of the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District are:

Chairman: Jennifer Brunty, Ph.D.
Vice-Chair: John J. O’Connor, Jr.
Secretary/Treasurer: Paul Howard
Supervisor: Callon C. ‘Buddy’ Keen, Jr.
Supervisor: Ben King

Annual Events

Speech Contest– The speech competition in November is held for Manatee County middle and high school students as part of Farm City Week. The competition is designed to develop leadership through participation in public speaking activities and to stimulate interest in conserving our natural resources. The topic is selected by the Association of Florida Conservation Districts.  https://afcd.us/The winner qualifies for an area contest and the winner of the area contest is eligible to compete at the state contest.

Land Judging– Land Judging is an exciting 4-H and FFA contest in which Middle and High School student teams of four observe and interpret the soil in order to make wise land use decisions. The regional competition is held in February in different locations throughout Manatee County. Selected teams then move on to the state competition. Manatee County has had teams in the past qualify for the national competition held in Oklahoma. For more information about the state contest visit http://landjudging.org/

Envirothon– Envirothon is an environmentally themed academic competition for high school aged students. The Manatee regional competition held annually in February, is facilitated by the MRSWCD. Teams of 5 students take hands on exams in soils, wildlife, forestry, aquatics and a current issue. In 2018 Rangeland Management was the current issue.  The winning team from each county is eligible to compete at the state contest, the overall winner of the state contest will represent Florida at the North American Envirothon later this summer. For more information about the state contest visit  https://www.flenvirothon.com/

Congratulations to the following students who won the Conservation Award in 2018!

Manatee County 4-H-Colton Ginter

Buffalo Creek Middle School FFA-Branden Rowe

Lakewood Ranch High School FFA-Savannah Cannon

Palmetto High School FFA-Elanie Mason

Southeast High School FFA-Kyle Evans