Conservationists to be recognized in Latrobe
This year’s Westmoreland Conservation District annual awards banquet will be held on a new day — Veterans Day — and in a new location — the Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
The public is invited to join in the celebration, which will begin at 6 p.m. and include recognition of two of the area’s conservationists: Wayne and Eileen Baughman of Salem Township, Conservation Farmers of the Year for 2010, and Bob Berich of South Huntingdon Township, Conservation Farmer of the Year for 2009.
Also featured that evening will be the many partners who are working with the conservation district on an innovative, community project to install rain gardens in Mt. Pleasant. Those partners include Mt. Pleasant Borough; the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Richard King Mellon Foundation; and several residents of Ramsay Terrace.
“We are pleased to be able to honor some of the many people who are doing great things for conservation in our county,” said Greg Phillips, district manager/CEO of the Westmoreland Conservation District, whose organization works daily with farmers, developers, engineers, foresters and other professions to help ensure that the nation’s natural resources are used wisely.
The Baughmans manage a small farm in Salem Township, where they have a herd of “Black Baldy” cattle, which are a cross between an Angus bull and Hereford cows, and grow a variety of crops, including small grains, hay, black raspberries, blackberries, sweet corn, tomatoes and potatoes.
The Baughmans have made a variety of conservation improvements on their property during the past five years, adding fencing to keep the cows out of the stream, creating five paddocks so they can employ rotational grazing, installing roadways and water-runoff systems to prevent erosion, and using no-till methods to refurbish their pastures and to plant wheat and soybeans.
The conservation work that the Baughmans did adds to the quality of the local stream, which flows directly into Beaver Run, the source of drinking water for some 50,000 homes and businesses in Westmoreland County.
Berich installed a rotational grazing system on the 50-acre farm he owns in South Huntingdon Township. He rotationally grazes his state-certified Angus beef cattle and the legacy sheep herd that was his father’s, letting the sheep into a paddock right after the cows have been there to pick out the things that the cattle didn’t eat.
Like the Baughmans, Berich installed streamside fencing and three stream crossings to limit the access his animals have to the tributary of Meadow Run (Jacobs Creek Watershed) that flows through his farm.
The Mt. Pleasant rain garden project is the featured conservation partnership project this year. The innovative partnership effort is installing rain gardens in both municipal and residential locations throughout the borough as a way to help manage excess rainwater and lessen the load on the municipal infrastructure.
So far, rain gardens have been installed in the municipal parking lot behind Levin’s furniture store (four gardens at this location), between the library and municipal building (one rain garden at this location), and on 11 individual homeowner lots in Ramsay Terrace.
The awards banquet is supported by several area businesses and organizations, including lead sponsor Adam Eidemiller Inc.; and table sponsors Bove Engineering Co.; Ligonier Construction; Lone Maple Agricultural Services/Pritts Feed Mill/Hildenbrand Lime & Fertilizer; R.A. Smith National; Smart Growth Partnership, a program of Penn State Cooperative Extension; Tri-County Engineering; and Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation Citizens Advisory Board.
Everyone is welcome, but seating is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance. Price per person is $30. Registration and payment can be made here . For more information, contact the Westmoreland Conservation District at 724-837-5271.