Greene County Conservation District 19 South Washington Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Phone: 724-852-5278 • Fax: 724-852-5341 • www.co.greene.pa.us/gccd
News Release County of Greene, Pennsylvania
Contact: Elizabeth Menhart Communications Director Phone: 724-852-5210 / Fax 724-627-5428
Conservation District honors 12 at annual awards ceremony FOR RELEASE De. 22, 2015
JEFFERSON, PA The Greene County Conservation District honored 10 individuals and two other recipients during its annual awards ceremony Tuesday, Dec. 15, at Thistlethwaite Vineyards in Jefferson.
Each year, the Conservation District honors those within the county who have shown an outstanding commitment to soil and water conservation. Honorees this year included Bradley and Shirley Eisiminger of Woodside Farm, recipients of the 2015 Special Recognition Award for Agricultural Excellence; Gay and Harold Thistle, recipients of the 2015 Special Recognition Award for Forestry; Pine Belt Energy Services, LLC, Outstanding Conservation Contractor of the Year; Gilmore Township, the inaugural Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Program Municipality of the Year; and Rodney Parson, recipient of the 2015 Conservation Speaking Award.
The Conservation District also honored Kevin Willis, a teacher and Envirothon team coach for Carmichaels Area High School, who this year was listed as an honorable mention for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. Four Conservation District board and staff members also received special service awards.
Bradley and Shirley Eisiminger were recognized for their many years of agricultural and conservation efforts that led to them recently being named the 2015 North American International Livestock Exposition Shorthorn Show Honorees.
The couple was honored Nov. 16 in Louisville, Ky., during the Jack C. Ragsdale National Shorthorn Show, the largest all-breed, purebred livestock event in the world. The Eisimingers were noted for their outstanding contributions to the livestock industry, long-time involvement with the American Shorthorn Association and devotion to building the Shorthorn breed.
Woodside Farm, near Kirby, has one of the oldest Shorthorn herds in the country. Bradley is the fifth generation in his family to show Shorthorns, and he and Shirley work on his family farm, which was recognized in 1985 as a Century Family Farm. Since 1871, cattle have been raised on those same tracts of land, and the Shorthorn cattle bred now have pedigrees dating back to post-Civil War times.
Every fall, the Eisimingers organize the Keystone Autumn Classic, the longest-running Shorthorn sale in the country, at Woodside Farm. Breeders from a variety of states and Canada attend the sale, which marked its 35th anniversary in 2015. The couple works closely with the Conservation District to implement best management practices beneficial in both herd management and soil and water conservation. Gay and Harold Thistle were recognized for their forest conservation efforts that have gained them the honor of being awarded Pennsylvania’s Tree Farmer of the Year for 2015. The Thistles previously received the Conservation District’s Forester of the Year award in 2011.
In June 1999, the couple purchased 98.2 acres, including about 30 wooded acres originally of a typical Appalachian oak-hickory type. The Thistles have worked with state and federal programs to plant more than 3,400 seedlings and nurture them into thriving trees. Varieties planted with deer protection include black walnut, white ash, northern red oak, sugar maple, chestnut, white spruce and butternut.
The Thistles are the founding members of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Woodland Owners organization, which formed in 2000, and have hosted educational tours and courses and training sessions on their property.
Pine Belt Energy Services, LLC, the 2015 Outstanding Conservation Contractor, was recognized for its protection of the environment and Greene County’s natural resources from erosion and sedimentation. The company was also noted for its willingness to work with landowners and its respect for the land. Pine Belt provides support to the oil and gas industry and has worked closely with Momentum Oil & Gas to repair and maintain slides that resulted from the installation of gas pipeline infrastructure in Greene County. Owner Allen Entrekin accepted on behalf of the company, which is based in Mississippi, but has a satellite office in Fairview, W.Va.
This year for the first time, the Conservation District chose to award a municipality within Greene County that has participated in the Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Program. This program was developed to enhance municipal roads with environmentally sensitive maintenance practices as developed by the Center for Dirt and Gravel Roads. The inaugural Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Program Municipality of the Year award was presented to Gilmore Township.
Gilmore Township was recognized for outstanding accomplishments in the establishment of environmentally sensitive maintenance practices that protect water quality within the municipality. Since 2013, the township has installed 10 projects and has applied for additional future projects. The township has worked diligently to complete these projects in a timely manner and has worked closely with the district to improve its road system. Rodney Parson, a junior at West Greene Junior/Senior High School and current FFA chapter president, was recognized for his outstanding speaking skills and for winning the 2015 Greene County FFA Speaking Competition with his speech, "EPA’s Waters of United States Rule and its Effects." Parson not only placed first at the county speaking contest, but also continued through the local and regional competitions and became one of 12 students in the state to represent his FFA chapter, school and county at the State FFA Conservation Speaking Contest this past summer at the Pennsylvania FFA State Convention. He placed second overall. Parson is the son of Tim and Tina Parson of Graysville.
This year, the District was honored to help with the unveiling and presentation of national recognition to Kevin Willis of Carmichaels Area School District. Willis made the list of honorable mentions for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators and received a special certificate. Willis was nominated for his leadership, guidance and accomplishments in engaging and expanding his students’ knowledge. Finally, four service awards were given to current Conservation District board and staff members. J. Robert Rice, board director emeritus, was recognized for 50 years of service to the board. Rice’s service includes three years as farmer director, nine years as district treasurer, 32 years as district chairman and the past six years as director emeritus. A tri-colored beech tree has been planted in his honor at the Greene County Historical Society Museum.
Rebecca Salosky, District fiscal officer, received recognition for her 35 years of committed service. Salosky is a valuable asset to the board and staff and has watched the District grow over the years, from one other staffer to seven full-time and two seasonal staff members. District Manager Lisa Snider was recognized for 15 years of service. Snider began her career at the District as the watershed specialist and has been the manager of the office since 2010. Under her supervision, the board has dramatically increased its fiscal, programmatic and staffing responsibilities. Lindsay Kozlowski, environmental resource specialist, was recognized for five years of service. Kozlowski first started with the District as the West Nile Virus coordinator until she took her current position. She is responsible for environmental permitting and was commended for her knowledge of the programs she administers. The Conservation District also recognized and thanked the following for their contributions during the past year that helped improve district programs: Alpha Natural Resources, for its contribution to the annual Envirothon scholarship; Community Foundation of Greene County, for funding to assist with the Envirothon; the winning Envirothon team members from Carmichaels Area High School; and all cooperating agencies and the County of Greene for another year of support.
For more information on the Conservation District awards, call 724-852-5278.
[Top Photo above: Bradley and Shirley Eisiminger of Woodside Farm received the 2015 Special Recognition Award for Agricultural Excellence. Pictured, from l. to r., are Bradley Eisiminger, also Conservation District Board chairman, and Jim Cowell, District secretary.]
[Second Photo above: Harold and Gay Thistle received the 2015 Special Recognition Award for Forestry.]
[Third Photo: Pine Belt Energy Services, LLC, was named the Outstanding Conservation Contractor of the Year. Pictured is owner Allen Entrekin (right) with District Treasurer Thomas Headlee.]
[Gilmore Township was named the inaugural Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Program Municipality of the Year. Pictured, from l. to r., are District Treasurer Thomas Headlee, Gilmore Township Supervisor Chuck Wise and District Secretary Jim Cowell.]
[Kevin Willis of Carmichaels Area High School received a special certificate for his honorable mention for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, and Rodney Parson, a junior at West Greene Junior/Senior High School and current FFA chapter president, received the 2015 Conservation Speaking Award. Pictured, from l. to r., are Willis, Parson and District Chairman Bradley Eisiminger.]
[Last Photo: Four Conservation District board and staff members received service awards. Pictured, from l. to r., are Environmental Resource Specialist Lindsay Kozlowski, 5 years; Fiscal Officer Rebecca Salosky, 35 years; Board Director Emeritus J. Robert Rice, 50 years; District Chairman Bradley Eisiminger; and District Manager Lisa Snider, 15 years.]
For general information, please contact the Information Services at 724-852-5399 / Toll Free: 1-888-852-5399 Greene County Office Building, 93 E. High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370