At its awards dinner in Culpeper last week, the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) presented its annual awards to area residents who’ve demonstrated leadership in the stewardship of local soil and water resources in each of the district’s five counties.
Among the awards given out was the Rappahannock County Bay-Friendly Farm Award, which went to Woodville residents Larry and Kathy Grove, owners of Belle Ridge Farm. The award recognizes farms in Virginia that utilize practices designed to protect water quality and soil resources.
The Groves’ Belle Ridge Farm encompasses 165 acres, with more than 100 acres of forest and several streams flowing off Bessie Bell Mountain; approximately 20 acres of pasture were recently renovated after many years of neglect.
The Groves subdivided and fenced these pastures, protected the streams from livestock and dug a well to provide water for goats, pigs, chickens, calves and sheep. All the animals feed on the clover and orchard grass in the pastures, which are fertilized only with manure from the livestock on the farm. The animals are rotated between the different paddocks to manage the quality of the forages.
The CSWCD’s Educator of the Year award went to Thomas “Jack” Price of Rappahannock County. Price volunteers with Shenandoah National Park and has logged more than 2,000 volunteer hours with the Master Naturalist program and 600-plus hours with the Master Gardener program. He is also a certified facilitator for the Wildlife Mapping and Project Underground programs.
The Forestry Award was given to Rappahannock residents Karl Brotzman and Kaye Clarke. Their working forest includes 20 acres of hardwood cutting, two acres of tree planting, 24 acres of trails and sitting areas, and aggressive invasive species management.
In addition, Rappahannock district director Dr. Monira Rifaat was recognized for 10 years of service on the district board. This year’s Chairman’s Award was given to Gregory Wichelns, manager of the Culpeper district.
The mission of CSWCD 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.