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Menard County SWCD #215

Annual Activities and Workshops

Friend of Conservation Award

Leadership Development Workshop -February

Poster and Essay Contests - February

Poster and Essay Award Presentations – March/April

Area II Awards Banquet - May

Soil and Water Stewardship Week  - April/May

Hill Country Association Spring Meeting - May

TSSRM Youth Range Workshop Meal - June

SWCD Educator Workshop Meal - June

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon - August

4th & 5th  Grade Conservation Field Day - September

CEU Training – October

Annual TSSWCB State Meeting - October

4th Grade Arbor Day Tree Planting - November

High School Conservation Program - November

DR. JAKE LANDERS RECEIVES 2020 FRIEND OF CONSERVATION AWARD

Dr. Jake Landers was selected as Menard County SWCD’s Friend of Conservation.

This honor is given to someone who promotes conservation in the community, county and state.  Jake does all of that by being involved in any event that includes learning a little or a lot about conservation. Menard County SWCD #215 is proud to have Jake represent us as our Friend of Conservation. Thank you  Dr. Landers for sharing your time, effort and knowledge with all of us.

Read more about 

Dr. Landers' award-winning 

accomplishments

Dr Jake Landers receives Menard County SWCD's 2020 Friend of Conservation Award

Dr. Jake Landers (right) receives a commemorative plaque and MCSWCD gate sign in recognition of his selection as Menard County SWCD's 2020 Friend of Conservation.  Presenting the awards is MCSWCD Director Billy Kniffen (left).  Dr. Landers was also recognized as the winner of the Area II Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and Association of Texas SWCDs annual contest.       Read more . . . 

 
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ESSAY AND POSTER
TEACHER APPRECIATION LUNCHEON

2021 TEACHER APPREC LUNCH 202 Kelly Garcia & Devon Garcia Back Table Myghan Meadow, Jessic
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Front, Kelly Garcia and Devon Garcia.  Back table, Myghan Meadow, Jessica Holbrook, Blenda Wright, Kim Powell.  Standing, MCSWCD Director Gary Treadwell and Amy Bannowsky.

MCSWCD Director Gary Treadwell, left, and MISD student Colton Flage.

MISD teachers and staff enjoyed the luncheon catered by Jennifer and David Schniers.  

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ESSAY AND POSTER

TEACHER APPRECIATION LUNCHEON

 

  Every August, Menard County SWCD hosts a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon to thank all the teachers and MISD staff who help with the conservation poster and essay contests. 

    Our teachers have done an awesome job through the years, as we have had District, Area II and State winners.

 

The Menard County SWCD #215 held an appreciation Luncheon for Teachers that participated in the Texas State Soil and Water conservation poster and essay contests.  Approximately 24 Teachers, Administrators, and Guests met at the Murchison-Whitehead Complex on Hwy 190 W to have lunch Tuesday, August 10, 2021.

 

The meal was catered by David Schniers and consisted of pork steak, green beans, potatoes, hot rolls, and peach cobbler. The meal was superb!!

 

Teachers were entertained by Aspen Hutchison, who read her District Winning Essay “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities” and by Colton Flage who shared his experience at the Texas Section Society Range Management (TSSRM) Youth Range Camp in Junction at the Texas Tech Center via a power point presentation. 

 

Teachers received a computer bag and insulated mug donated by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) with various items for their classrooms donated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

  

 

    Be sure to thank a teacher for helping to inform our future caretakers and voters about soil and water conservation and stewardship.  Through their efforts, students learn to care for our soil, water and air in order to ensure a clean, healthy environment.   

MCSWCD Directors attend annual SWCD meetings

Each year, District Directors attend regional and statewide association meetings.  Attendance at meetings helps broaden Directors' knowledge of timely conservation issues, offers field tours of successful agricultural operations and information about pending or needed legislation on state and national levels.

 Hill Country Spring Meeting

 Hill Country SWCD Directors and NRCS District Conservationists met at 700 Springs Ranch on May 21, 2019 to conduct their Spring Meeting. A tour of the springs and of the original settler’s spring and water transport system for running a water wheel mill was given. A wonderful BBQ lunch was catered by Lum’s of Junction.

  The guest speaker, Dr. Pete  Rose gave an over and under view of the spring formation, its water source and what drives its flow.  Menard County SWCD #215 attendees were J.W. Jennings, MCSWCD FY19 Vice Chairman and secretary of the HC Association; Gary Treadwell, MCSWCD Sec/Treas; Jerry Kidd, MCSWCD Director; Charlotte Albrecht, MCSWCD Business Manager and Chris Casaday, NRCS DC in the Menard Field Office.

  It was an awesome meeting in a gorgeous setting.

TSSWCB Annual State Meeting

The 2021 Annual State Meeting of Texas SWCD Directors was held October 4-6, 2021 at Kalahari Resort in Round Rock. 

 

The meeting was attended by Menard County SWCD Director Gary C. Treadwell. The SWCD Auxiliary Quilt was auctioned and the funds will be used for scholarships for 2022 Texas high school seniors.

 

The annual conference also included keynote speakers, business meetings, breakout sessions on a wide variety of conservation and environmental issues and a statewide awards banquet, along with numerous booths promoting agricultural products and agencies.

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MCSWCD Director Gary Treadwell attended the 2021 Annual Meeting of Texas SWCD Directors held October 4-6, 2021 at Kalahari Resort in Round Rock, TX.

 
 
DANIELLE BROWN APRIL 2019 Danielle[14726

In April 2019, Menard High School senior Danielle Brown was awarded a scholarship of $500 by the Texas SWCD Employees Association.  Danielle is pictured here with her grandfather, Dick Runge.  

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2019 QUILT BLOCK BEST PIC FROM ANNUAL MT

Thank you to MCSWCD Chairman J. W. Jennings' wife, Louise Jennings, who designed and created the Menard County SWCD quilt block used in the popular quilt raffle at the 2019 Annual Meeting.  In this year's design, Mrs. Jennings highlighted MCSWCD's 75th anniversary.  MCSWCD appreciates all of her time and great work! 

2021 Conservation Poster and Essay

Contest Winners

Complete lists - pdfs for printing

Poster contest: 1st - 5th grade winners

Essay contest:  6th - 8th grade winners

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Overall winners in the 2021 Conservation Poster Contest

2021 Overall Conservation Poster Winners

Left to right:  Tami Russell, Menard Water District Manager; Isabelle Devine, 3rd place; Benjamin Burch, 2nd place; Kade Bannowsky, 1st place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

Overall winners in the 2021 Conservation Essay Contest

2021 Overall Conservation Essay Winners

Left to right:  Tami Russell, Menard Water District Manager; Colby Powell, 3rd place; Jaegar Leonard, 2nd place; Aspen Hutchison, 1st place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

Thank you to Menard Water District for partnering with us on the annual Conservation Poster and Essay Contests and providing cash prizes for overall winners.

1st Grade POSTER 1ST GRADE 1ST 2ND 3RD P

2021 1st Grade Poster Winners

Left to right:  Lilly Torres, 3rd place; Saydee Meadow, 1st place; Cooper Gorman, 2nd place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

2nd Grade POSTER 2ND GRADE 1ST 2ND 3RD P

2021 2nd Grade Poster Winners

Left to right:  Caitlyn Burch, 3rd place; O'Dan Wright, 2nd place; Kate Baker, 1st place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

3rd Grade POSTER 3RD GRADE 1ST 2ND 3RD P

2021 3rd Grade Poster Winners

Left to right:  Kelsie Aguirre, 3rd place; Stori Halley, 2nd place; Sara Ogdon, 1st place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

4th Grade POSTER 4TH GRADE 1ST 2ND 3RD P

2021 4th Grade Poster Winners

Left to right:  Isabelle Devine, 1st place; Trevor Mazar, 3rd place; Samuel Evan Mayfield, 2nd place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

5th Grade 5TH GRADE 1ST 2ND 3RD PLACE WI

2021 5th Grade Poster Winners

Left to right:  MaKenzie Wright, 3rd place; Benjamin Burch, 2nd place; Kade Bannowsky, 1st place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

6th Essays 6TH GRADE 1ST 2ND 3RD PLACE W

2021 6th Grade Poster Winners

Left to right:  Sabri Zamora, 3rd place; Edward Segura, 2nd place; Claudia Thompson, 1st place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director.

7th Essays 7TH GRADE 1ST 2ND 3RD PLACE W

2021 7th Grade Poster Winners

Left to right:  Bryce Davis, 3rd place; Jaegar Leonard, 2nd place; Aspen Hutchison, 1st place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

8th Essays 8TH GRADE 1ST 2ND 3RD PLACE W

2021 8th Grade Poster Winners

Left to right:  Isabella Morales, 2nd place; Chloe Whitson, 3rd place; Colby Powell, 1st place and Billy Kniffen, MCSWCD Director. 

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POSTER AND ESSAY CONTESTS 

 

   Each year MCSWCD sponsors annual poster and essay contests for local students.  Younger children learn valuable conservation lessons through creative artwork based on a statewide theme.  

    Older students research the theme's topic and write essays based on what they've learned. 

"Students are learning about ecology, soil health, clean water and how to protect and clean up our environment."  

POSTER AND ESSAY AWARD PRESENTATIONS 

 

  MCSWCD presents 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards to poster winners in first through eighth grades.  Overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners are then selected.      

   Three Overall Junior Essay Winners and three Overall Senior Essay Winners are recognized. 

   In accordance with Texas State Conservation Board (TSSWCB) and Association of Texas SWCDs (ATSWCD) regulations, winners in each category are entered into the Area II regional contest.  

AREA II AWARDS BANQUET 

 

    In May, the Area II Awards Banquet is held to honor student winners of the conservation and essay contests.  Conservation farmer and rancher, wildlife operations, teacher of the year, businesses, Friends of Conservation and other categories are also recognized at the annual event. 

   Through the years, MCSWCD has produced winners in many categories.  Directors and the Business Manager attend the event to represent Menard county, as well as to support the conservation efforts of landowners and environmentalists across the large, 52-county Area II region.   

 

2020 Poster and Essay

Contest Winners

Read complete list - pdf for printing

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2020 Conservation Essay Contest

13 Years and Under Division

Wyatt Terrell

Winner of the Local, Area II and Statewide Award

WYATT RECEIVING AWARD FROM BILLY KNIFFEN

MCSWCD Director Billy Kniffen (above, left) presents Wyatt Terrell an award plaque as winner in the 13 years and under division of the annual conservation essay contest and congratulates him on his selection as the 2020 Area II winner.  

WYATT TERRELL RECEIVING PLAQUE FROM KOTH

MISD student Wyatt Terrell (center) receives a plaque as the 2020 State Conservation Essay Award winner in the 13 years and under category.  Wyatt accepts his commemorative plaque from MCSWCD Directors Benny Fred Kothmann (left) and Billy Kniffen (right).

2019 Texas Essay Winner,

14-18 Years Old Division

Lexus Aguirre

See state presentation pic and read more . . . 

  Wyatt Terrell’s conservation essay in the 13 years and under division placed first over all in the Menard County Soil and Water Conservation District competition. 

  First and second over all posters, 13 and under over all essays and 14 to 18 over all essays are sent to Area II competition. 

  Area II is comprised of 42 Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  Each of the Districts may send their top 2 in each category to Area II competition.

  Wyatt won the Area II competition and his essay was sent to the Texas State Conservation Board for state competition. Only first place area winners can compete for state.  State competition is comprised of 5 Areas, so his essay competed against 4 others.

  Wyatt won the statewide competition!

 We are so proud of you Wyatt!

 Congratulations from the Menard County Soil and Water Conservation District.

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2018 Texas Conservation

Teacher of the Year

Mary Kniffen

See state presentation pic and read more . . . 

4th and 5th Grade
Conservation Field Day

Held in September of odd numbered years

4TH AND 5TH GRADE CONSERVATION FIELD DAY

September 8, 2021

September 8, 2021 the fourth and fifth grade Menard Elementary School students attended a conservation field day held by the Menard County SWCD #215. 

 

The Students visited 6 stations where they experienced: raindrop effects on soil by Kathy Mews; wells and the water table by Merridith Allen; soil composition by Billy Kniffen; poster development by Deb Roberson; edible aquifers by Mary Kniffen and Lisa Brown; and wildlife by Jerry Kidd and Katy Kidd.

 

A meal of hot dogs, cheese, chips, apples, and cookies was provided and served by the Menard County Soil and Water Conservation District. Thank you to Lowe’s Pay and Save for the awesome support and donations for the meal.

 

Students were given an overview of TSSRM Youth Range Camp by Houston Hayes and Colton Flage. An introduction to the opportunities of 4H followed by Lisa Brown. Then the afternoon program of Conservation and You was given by Billy Kniffen and Lisa Brown. As a finale students gained an insight of the relationship of wildlife and livestock on the range by participating in a competitive game.

 

The Presenters and District directors were very impressed by the exemplary behavior of the 4th & 5th graders. Our compliments to their teachers and parents!

 

Thank you to the Teachers and Administrators for allowing the SWCD the opportunity to share different aspects of conservation with our young people. Thank you to our presenters who did an outstanding job.

Edible aquifers by Mary Kniffen and Lisa Brown

Edible aquifers by Mary Kniffen and Lisa Brown

Poster development by Deb Roberson

Poster development by Deb Roberson

Wells and the water table by Meridith Allen

Wells and the water table by Merridith Allen

Raindrop effects on soil by Kathy Mews

Raindrop effects on soil by Kathy Mews

Wildlife by Jerry Kidd and Katy Kidd
Soil composition by Billy Kniffen

Soil composition by Billy Kniffen

Wildlife by Jerry Kidd and Katy Kidd

 

MENARD ISD 4TH AND 5TH GRADE CONSERVATION FIELD DAY

September 10, 2019

(Held in September of odd numbered years)

4TH AND 5TH GRADERS UNLOAD FROM BUS FIEL
Marcy Wheeler & 4th Graders SEPT 10 2019
Jake Landers & 4th Grade SEPT 10 2019 FI

4th and 5th graders arrive at the Whitehead-Murchison Complex for Conservation Field Day.

Retired teacher Marcy Wheeler presents tips on how to construct conservation posters.

Dr. Jake Landers teaches a session about wildlife and the benefits of pollination.

GENE STALZER SEPT 10 2019 G. Salzer Poll

Gene Stalzer, from Native American Seed, helps students make seed balls and provides instructions about planting and distribution. 

GRANT TEPLICEK SEPT 10 2019 G. Teplicek

Grant Teplicek, from USDA/NRCS, demonstrates how ground cover protects soil from erosion and captures more water for the soil to absorb.  

The 4th and 5th Graders of Menard ISD attended a Conservation Field Day on Tuesday, September 10, 2019  at the Whitehead-Murchison Complex.

The students arrived by bus about 8:45 a.m. and once on site, they were divided up into 5 groups to maneuver through six different stations:  

  • Soils by Victoria Norrell-NRCS:  students discovered how much of the earth they were able to live on.

  • Water by Tami Russell and Caroline Runge-Water Districts:  students observed how water moves through the ground we stand on and how easily it can be polluted.

  • Pollinators by Gene Stalzer-Native American Seed:  this station allowed students to make seed balls using seeds of different colored flowers to attract certain pollinators.  Discussion was held on how to plant or distribute the seed balls to get the best results.  

  • Rainfall Simulation by Grant Teplicek-NRCS:  students were shown how ground cover protects the soil from erosion as it captures more water for the soil to absorb.  Different range plants were shown that would attract pollinators.  Ground cover also affects how well a seed might germinate.

  • Wildlife by Dr. Jake Landers:  students discovered an animal's tooth structure determined the kind of food it could eat.  It was pointed out that without pollination by wind or animals there would be no food.

  • Poster Construction by Marcy Wheeler-Retired Teacher:  tips on how to construct an effective and competitive conservation poster were discussed and practiced.

 

A lunch of hot dogs was followed by a discussion of "The 4-H and You" by Lisa Brown, AgriLife Extension, and Mary Kniffen, 4-H advisor.

 

The afternoon program, given by Dr. Barron Rector, Texas A&M Professor, taught how man affects pollinators and the world around them.  This was followed by an activity to show how all of earth's systems are connected as well as how competition for food and food availability controls animal and plant populations in nature.

 

Students were accompanied to each station by their teachers and by the Menard County SWCD Directors. Buses were loaded at 3:30 p.m.

 

The students’ behavior during this event was a great compliment to their teachers and school as well as to their parents. The presenters of the program were very impressed and complimentary.

Way to Go, 4th & 5th Graders!!!   

 
 

9th and 10th Grade
Conservation Program

9TH AND 10TH GRADE CONSERVATION PROGRAM

November 16, 2021

On November 16, 2021, Menard County SWCD #215 held a Conservation Program at the Whitehead-Murchison Complex.

 

Menard ISD high school students and attending faculty attended a half-day program featuring: “Water Facts” presented by Caroline Runge; “Soil Characteristics Needed to Support Life” given by Billy Kniffen; “Wildlife” presented by John Compton; “Good Range Depends on Healthy Soil” given by Charles Anderson; “Good Essay Strategies” presented by Kendria Ray and “Monarchs” by Jenny Singleton.

 

The students and faculty arrived at 8:30 a.m. and attended six 30-minute sessions before returning to school. The presenters and SWCD Directors were very impressed with the wonderful behavior of our students.

 

Students, you make our community look awesome.  Thank you.

Monarch presentation by Jenny Singleton

MISD students learn about "Monarchs" from Jenny Singleton.

John Compton presents program on Wildlife

John Compton presents his program on "Wildlife".

Caroline Runge presentation about Water Facts

A presentation about "Water Facts" was given by Caroline Runge.

Charles Anderson presentation on Good Range Depends on Healthy Soil

Charles Anderson taught students how "Good Range Depends on Healthy Soil".

Billy Kniffen presents Soil Characteristics Needed to Support Life at Menard County SWCD high school conservation program.

"Soil Characteristics Needed to Support Life" was MCSWCD Director Billy Kniffen's topic during the high school conservation program.

Caroline Runge prepares to her session with Menard county high school students during Menard County SWCD conservation program.

Caroline Runge is ready for her session with MISD high school students.

MENARD ISD 9TH AND 10TH GRADE CONSERVATION PROGRAM

November 25, 2019

Menard High School 9th and 10th grade students gathered at the Murchison-Whitehead Complex for a Conservation program Monday, November 25, 2019. The program was composed of 6 stations:

  • Predators with Gary Roberson of Burnham Brothers and TV Show Carnivore Host

  • Pollinators by Ryan McClintock, NRCS Biologist

  • Water with Meredith Allen, Menard County Assistant District Water Manager 

  • Soils with Amanda Bragg, NRCS Soil Scientist 

  • Bees by Andrew Burnard, Apiarist (Beekeeper)

  • Essay Tips with Kendria Ray, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board Area II Representative

 

Other guests were Superintendent Mrs. Amy Bannowsky, High School Principal Mrs. Cheryl Kruse, Mr. Larry Reed, Mr. Kolby Kahlden, Mr. William Barker and Mrs. Denisse Crisp.

 

Many thanks to MISD for sharing these students and staff with Menard SWCD #215. The purpose of the program is to give Menard students a background in conservation and its relationship with their community. This will give them a better chance to make good voter decisions about conservation for their community and state.

 

The Student behavior was awesome! Thank you 9th and 10th graders for making us (Menard ISD and Menard County SWCD #215) look so good!

NOV 25 2019 Ryan McClintock- Apple Demo-
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NOV 25 2019 Bee Suit & Smoker - Copy[197

Ryan McClintock, biologist from the San Angelo NRCS Area II office, cuts an apple during a demonstration about pollinators.  

Gary Roberson of Burnham Brothers and television show Carnivore host, discusses predators.

Apiarist Andrew Burnard of Kimble County, demonstrates equipment and techniques of beekeeping.

More Educational Conservation Programs 

    SOIL AND WATER STEWARDSHIP WEEK 

  Soil and Water Stewardship Week is observed by MCSWCD in the first week of May, along with SWCDs nationwide. 

    Stewardship Week is a time for thanksgiving as well as for  communities to remember the important role every citizen plays in protecting our natural resources. 

    In 2018, MCSWCD provided watershed booklets and puzzles to elementary, junior high and high school students based on the 2018 theme:  "Watersheds:  Our Land, Our Home".   

NATIONAL ARBOR DAY  

  Menard County SWCD hosted a tree planting for the 4th grade students of Menard Elementary School, Wednesday, November 6, 2019.  This event was to celebrate Arbor Day.

  Arbor Day in this part of Texas is on the first Friday of November.  Due to school schedules and football, we celebrated this day on the following Wednesday.

   The District encourages everyone to plant a tree or shrub (native if possible), which will improve the air quality, habitat for birds and pollinators and beauty of the community.

  By planting your trees and shrubs in the fall, you encourage root growth and adaptation to a new growing place for the plant.  By spring, the plant should be ready to start growing.    Just remember to water this plant all through the winter.

Everyone had fun planting our tree at the

2019 Arbor Day event!

NOV 6 2019 Jerry Kidd & 4th Graders sett

Menard ISD 4th graders assist MCSWCD Director Jerry Kidd with setting posts for the cage around their newly planted tree.

NOV 6 2019 Billy Kniffen & 4th Graders t

Students learn the technique of "tickling" the roots before planting their tree with instruction from MCSWCD Directors Billy Kniffen (kneeling, left) and JW Jennings (standing).

NOV 6 2019 4th Graders planting tree.[19

Menard ISD students had fun at the 2019 Arbor Day event, where they learned how to plant and care for a tree and its importance in conservation and the environment.  

2018 ARBOR DAY EVENT
2018 ARBOR DAY EVENT

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2018 ARBOR DAY EVENT
2018 ARBOR DAY EVENT

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2018 ARBOR DAY EVENT
2018 ARBOR DAY EVENT

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Menard County SWCD knows that the future of agriculture

lies in the hands of our young people.  We try to provide educational tools to promote good decision-making to protect the land for the benefit of future generations.

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