The Coshocton County Beacon May 17, 2017 - Page 12

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12 THE BEACON www . coshoctonbeacontoday . com MAY 17 , 2017
COSHOCTON - This is a continuing series on the 75th Anniversary of the Coshocton Soil & Water Conservation District ( SWCD ). If you asked past or present SWCD board members what is the most challenging duty of a supervisor , they would probably tell you “ staff ”. Board members hire capable staff to carry out the mission of the soil and water conservation district . This month we are going to focus on past district technicians Vernon Dreher and Don Brown .
Vernon Dreher was the first District Technician hired in 1967 . Up until that time , a USDA , Soil Conservation Service employee was the only technical assistance available at the SWCD office .
I recently sat down with Marjorie Dreher , Vernon ’ s widow to discuss his twenty year career with the SWCD . Marjorie said , “ I can never remember Vernon not wanting to go to work ; he enjoyed his job completely . He felt the work he was doing was necessary in the community .” She went on to say , “ Contour strips were a popular conservation practice and he called Arnold Schindler the Master Teacher when it came to laying out contour strips , he said they always came out perfect .” Mr . Schindler was the District Conservationist , a USDA Soil Conservation Service employee assigned to Coshocton SWCD at that time . Another conservation practice that Marjorie remembers Vernon speaking highly of is spring developments . “ Vernon knew that most farmers had a need for them in a pasture and the producers were glad to have him help them clean-up water holes .”
Vernon was hired as a part-time employee but was offered a permanent position in the fall of 1967 ; enjoying a 21 year career with the SWCD . Vernon and Marjorie

SWCD : Celebrating 75 Years of Conservation

Contributed | Beacon
1985 Coshocton Soil & Water Conservation District Staff : L to R : Dick McConnell , SCS District Conservationist , Don Brown , District Technician , Teresa Bradford District Secretary , and Vernon Dreher , District Technician .
were married for 66 years before he passed in 2007 .
Don Brown worked as a District Technician from 1975 to 1999 . Don shared that his best memories of working for the SWCD included meeting people to serve their conservation needs . Don commented , “ Working with landowners in Coshocton County has been the best experience and pleasure , knowing we helped them with conservation improvements .” Conservation practices most widely accepted during Don ’ s tenure were contour
strips , tile , spring developments , animal waste systems , and grassed waterways . Don remembered working with Bob Mikesell to develop a frost free spring tank that would keep water in the tank from freezing during the colder months .
Don remembered that ponds were another widely accepted practice that he and Vernon like working on . Don commented , “ Ponds challenged our technical skills for dam construction as well as providing the landowner a recreation area for swimming , boating , and fishing . Pipes were also installed through the dam to provide water to stock tanks . In later years many of the ponds were used to install dry hydrants to provide fire protection for the rural community .”
The SWCD office was located on Main Street above the Pastime Theater when Don and Vernon first began working for the District before moving to the present day location in the County Services building in 1976 .
SWCD technicians are the “ boots on the ground ” meeting one-on-one with landowners to discuss their soil and water resource concerns . They work with landowner to find solutions that address the resource problem and suggest practices and designs to solve the problem . There is no charge to the landowner for SWCD services and technicians will assist on site as the practice is installed . Including present day technicians Ryan Medley and Zach Wallace , the SWCD has employed 8 technicians in the past 75 years .
Contributed | Beacon

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