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2019 Cooperators' dinner held Dec. 4

Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company
Dec. 4, 2019

GEORGETOWN, Del., Dec. 9, 2019 – The Sussex Conservation District (SCD) recently held the biennial Cooperators’ dinner at the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company to recognize the 2017 and 2018 Cooperator of the Year. Proceeds from the event totaling $1,500 were donated to Delaware Envirothon.

The 2017 Cooperator of the Year, Vernon “Chip” Baker of H&V Farms, Inc. in Millsboro was recognized for his dedication to agriculture and soil conservation, he is now retired. Baker farmed over 620 acres of corn and soybeans and had a 50,000 broiler operation. Baker practiced no-till for 25 years and regularly participated in SCD or the USDA National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) cover crop programs. He is a National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) Soil Health Champion, one of six in Sussex County and 240 nationwide. Baker was also an early participant in SCDs air seeder pilot program. His commitment to conservation is leaving a legacy for future generations to grow upon.

Richard Carlisle of Pine Breeze Farms, Inc. in Bridgeville was recognized as the 2018 Cooperator of the Year. Carlisle farms 1,120 acres in western Sussex County, he has been a long standing SCD cooperator participating in SCD and USDA-NRCS cover crop programs and was instrumental in the purchase and implementation of SCDs air seeder. Pine Breeze Farms, Inc. has consistently improved irrigation, nutrient and pest management systems to protect the environment, the lives of Delawareans and the Chesapeake Bay for years to come.

A special recognition ceremony unveiled the renaming of the SCD office building on Shortly Road from Cashar W. Evans Conservation Center to Vanderwende-Evans Conservation Center.

“Recently, the SCD board of supervisors voted to rename the facility, Vanderwende-Evans Conservation Center, to recognize the efforts of two of the district’s instrumental and longest serving chairmen,” said David Baird, district coordinator at SCD.

William “Bill” Vanderwende served on the SCD board of supervisors for 36 years and served as chairman from 1992 until his retirement at the end of 2013. Evans served on the SCD board of supervisors from 1952 to 1991, he spent the last 16 years as chairman. 

“Vanderwende was instrumental in establishing the foundation for SCDs success. He helped implement the SCD conservation cost share program, sediment and stormwater program in addition to the creation of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. Vanderwende currently serves on numerous boards and commissions including the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission, the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation and as a tax ditch officer, to name a few,” said Baird.

The newly named Vanderwende-Evans Conservation Center is currently undergoing expansion and renovations, it is expected to reopen in fall 2020.

The Delaware Envirothon (DE), sponsored by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts (DACD), is an environmental challenge for teams of five high school students to compete in the areas of air quality, aquatic ecology, forestry, soil and land use, wildlife, public speaking and an annual special environmental topic. For 25 years DE has instructed students in conservation methods, promoted sustainability and increased environmental awareness and stewardship amongst teenagers. The Envirothon program consists of yearly workshops to educate the teams in these areas. Teams from across the state compete in a daylong event. The winner advances to the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) Envirothon to compete against teams from across the United States, Canada and China in a weeklong event.

The Cooperators’ dinner assists DE in its fundraising efforts to fully cover costs associated with the winning team members and advisors competing at NCF-Envirothon. For more information about Delaware Envirothon visit www.delawareenvirothon.org.

About the Sussex Conservation District:

The Sussex Conservation District is dedicated to serving Sussex County by providing technical guidance and financial assistance to enhance, maintain, protect and improve land and water resources. For 75 years SCD has worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and implement effective conservation practices. For more information visit www.sussexconservation.org.

01 2017 Cooperator Baker

Joel Wharton, left, SCD chairman, presents Vernon “Chip” Baker Jr., of Millsboro, with the 2017 Cooperator of the Year award at the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner held in Bridgeville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.

02 2018 Cooperator Carlisle

Richard Carlisle addresses guests after receiving the 2018 Cooperator of the Year award at the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner held in Bridgeville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.

03 Vanderwende Family

A special recognition ceremony at the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner held in Bridgeville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, unveiled the renaming of the Cashar W. Evans Conservation Center to Vanderwende-Evans Conservation Center. William Vanderwende served on the SCD board of supervisors for 36 years and as chairman from 1992 until his retirement at the end of 2013. Family members attending pictured seated in the front, from the left, are Carla Killmon, William Vanderwende and Becky Vanderwende. Standing, from left, Garry Killmon, Donna Vanderwende, Jimmy Vanderwende, Taylor Vanderwende, Rep. Jesse Vanderwende, 35th District, Danny Vanderwende, Wendee Bull, Bethany Wright, Ian Wright, Morgan Vanderwende and Cody Vanderwende. Not pictured, Doug Vanderwende and Debbie Vanderwende.

04 Envirothon

Proceeds from the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner ticket sales were donated to Delaware Envirothon (DE). Joel Wharton, left, SCD chairman, presents Rick Mickowski, DE chairman, with a check for $1,500 at the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner held in Bridgeville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.

Conservation Guests

Conservation guests enjoying dinner, from left, Robert L. Emerson, New Castle Conservation District (NCCD) chairman, Kevin Donnelly, NCCD district coordinator and Jennifer Nelson, DACD executive director, at the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner held in Bridgeville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.

Guests Dining

Martha Rose Echols, left, Gwen Pierce, New Castle Conservation District (NCCD) treasurer and Norman Pierce, NCCD board member, enjoy desert prepared by the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary at the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner held in Bridgeville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.

Guests Laughing

Alan Mills, left, of Milford, and Richard Sapp, of Milton, enjoyed a laugh at the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner held in Bridgeville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.

Guests Talking

Joel Wharton, left, SCD chairman, and James Harmon of Harmon Farms in Lewes enjoy catching up at the 2019 Cooperators’ dinner held in Bridgeville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019.