Updated: Jan 22
As the year draws to an end, the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District looks back on the programs, projects and activities that define another year’s worth of work overseen by its elected, nonpartisan and unpaid board of supervisors.
To highlight the high points, the district compiled a 46-page review of its work in 2021 (which can be downloaded by clicking the box below).
The review showcases through key documents and photographs how HSWCD engaged hundreds of individuals, groups, sponsors and cooperating partners in the work of conservation throughout Hillsborough County and beyond.
“Despite the issues of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we had a highly successful year,” said Betty Jo Tompkins, executive director of the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District (HSWCD). “We were particularly excited that the range and scope of what we do continues to grow as we add more and more activities and events each year.”
“We are always conscious of the need for our programming to reach the entire community, including inner-city, urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods,” Tompkins said. “Our mission drives us to live what we preach, that ‘Conservation is everybody’s business,’ and we are committed to make sure conservation opportunities are open to each and every one we serve.”
The district’s efforts to support the protection of natural resources, including air, water and soil, involve everything from youth poster contests to unique funding sources for agricultural interests.
“This year’s poster contests drew more than 500 participants from kindergarten through grade 12, as students showed a continuing interest in learning all aspects of conservation and the role they play in our ever-changing world,” Tompkins said.
“And this year we were pleased to conduct two local working group meetings, in coordination with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to secure direct producer-input as to their needs for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years,” Tompkins said.
Coordinated efforts with the NRCS, along with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and others, “allow us to distribute additional funding for critical agricultural needs,” Tompkins said.
“We’re always conscious of the need to adapt our programming to be the most effective and beneficial partnerships possible with the agricultural community,“ Tompkins added, “and we’re always stressing BMP’s (Best Management Practices) as part of the equation.”