From contributed reports
Rappahannock County residents were among recipients of awards presented Oct. 21 by the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District.
The annual awards dinner honors those who have demonstrated leadership in the stewardship of local soil and water resources. The awards presented were Educator of the Year, Forest Stewardship, Bay Friendly Farm Awards in each of the district’s five member counties, Conservationist of the Year and Business of the Year.
The 2010 Rappahannock County Bay Friendly Farm Award was given to Lucille and Jerome Niessen, owners of Stoney Meadows Farm in Sperryville. The Niessens were recognized for using practices designed to protect water quality and soil resources withing the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Last year’s Bay Friendly winner was Dale Welch, whose farm is between Flint Hill and Huntly. And last year’s Conservationist of the Year was Cliff Miller’s Mount Vernon Farm in Sperryville.
Stoney Meadows Farm includes 140 acres of pasture and mountain land, a rotational grazing system with seven pastures and 11,000 feet of fencing to exclude livestock from streams. Sheep and cattle are sold locally as natural meat directly to consumers in the greater D.C. Area. A field where old pole ditches had collapsed was planted with trees, shrubs and wildflowers for wildlife habitat.
The 2010 Educator of the Year Award was given to Edward Dorsey of Rappahannock County.
Dorsey is president of the Old Rag chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists. He has completed more than 300 service hours dedicated to conservation, mostly with the Culpeper district through the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience, Envirothon, 4-H Creeks and Critters class and tree planting.
The mission of the Culpeper district is to promote the stewardship of soil and water and the conservation of our natural resources by educating and providing technical assistance to manage, protect, and enhance the land and water for the benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Culpeper, Greene, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties.
Rappahannock County is represented on the district’s board by directors Monira Rifaat and John Genho and associate director Richard McNear.