Tree planters, grazing managers and others were recognized during the recent Nebraska Association of Resources Districts conference in Kearney.
The award winners are:
Nebraska 2013 Tree Planter of the Year—the Forney Ranch near Alliance. Andy Forney accepted the award on behalf of his family. The family operation started in 1906 under the Kincaid Act and each succeeding generation has been involved in planting trees for wind and soil protection, livestock protection and wildlife habitat. Upper Niobrara White NRD records show that the Forneys began purchasing trees in the late 1970s and since then have planted more than 50,000 trees. The Nebraska Forest Service presented the award and the Upper Niobrara White NRD placed the nomination for the family.
Nebraska 2013 Outstanding Grassland Conservation Award—Alvin Kruml of Sargent. The Krumls have a cow-calf operation in eastern Custer County. They rely on cross fencing, watering corrals and rotational grazing to distribute the livestock evenly across their pastures. They've also installed windbreaks for livestock protection. They were nominated by the Lower Loup NRD.
Nebraska 2013 Outstanding Community Award—Sidney. Nominated by the South Platte NRD, the city had the first wellhead protection plan in the NRD and for the past 26 years has earned Tree City U.S.A. status. Bill Taylor, water superintendent, and Tom Von Seggern, parks superintendent, accepted the award for the city.
Nebraska 2103 NRD Director of the Year—Orval Gigstad of the Nemaha NRD. He has served on that NRD's board since 1993 and has been heavily involved in NARD activities.
Nebraska 2013 Educator of the Year—Jan Zink, Norris High School. Zink has been coordinator of the school's Envirothon Teams since 1993, and those teams have advanced to the state competition all but two years. Those teams also have qualified for the National Envirothon three times.
Also during the NARD convention, the 2013 Omaha World-Herald Master Conservation Awards were presented.
One award went to Scott Stout of Curtis, a rancher with N&N Ranching Enterprise, for his working in combating eastern red cedar in the Loess Canyon of south-central Nebraska. Stout is the "burn boss" for the Loess Canyon Rangeland Alliance.
The other award went to the Six Mile Canal community in Dawson County in which its irrigation members, under a partnership agreement, discontinued surface water deliveries from the canal and converted to groundwater irrigation. The partnership was done in part to increase flows in the Platte River.