NORTH VERNON — The Jennings County Soil and Water District’s 66th annual meeting provided a forum for its notable state and national accomplishments related to its pollinator project to shine in the spotlight.

“There is no other district in this country like the Jennings County SWCD,” state conservationist Jane Hardisty told an audience of about 150 people Tuesday at the Rolling Hills Shrine Club in North Vernon.

Hardisty described how the Jennings County SWCD was selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to receive the National Resources Conservationist Service’s National Earth Team Partnership Award.

Andy Ertel, the SWCD executive director, gave a visual presentation of the previous year during the meeting, with special emphasis on the Community Pollinator Project.

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Bees are the main pollinators in North America, but other types include butterflies, moths, birds, bats and some insects. Pollinators are necessary to human life and wildlife because three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants depend on them to reproduce, Ertel said previously.

The Jennings County SWCD has created more than 400 acres of pollinator habitats in the county, such as at the city and county parks, the fairgrounds and at schools.

Hardisty said the local district first won the Indiana NRCS 2016 State Earth Volunteer Award for its pollinator project. Each of Indiana’s 92 counties created there own conservation project and then submitted them in the state competition. State-level awards were given in each of the 50 states based on the conservationist value of the projects and the community involvement in the projects.

The state winners then competed on the national level, and the Jennings County SWCD’s pollinator project was selected as the best in the nation.

The Community Pollinator Project also has been given the Indiana Conservation Partnership Award.

Details of the district’s successful pollinator project tied in with the speech about pollinators delivered by John Scott Foster, executive director of Wesselman Nature Society in Evansville.

Foster began by praising the local pollinator efforts.

“I have never seen community involvement at the level you guys have exhibited here,” he said.

Official business

The evening’s agenda also included official business and the presentation of several awards.

Brad Ponsler was elected and installed as the 2017 chairman of the SWCD board of supervisors. Jennings County Circuit Court Judge Jon W. Webster administered the oath of office.

Among the awards presented, Amber Fields received the Conservation Education award for the Jennings County School Corp.’s involvement in the pollinator project.