Photo by Irenee Payne
HALL COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT
The Hall County Conservation District was formed on March 23, 1983. Prior to 1983, Hall County was part of the Upper Chattahoochee River Conservation District. Former District Chairman Rudolph Clark, Supervisor Tom Blackstock, and others foresaw the tremendous growth and changes ahead for Hall County. They believed a district representing just Hall County would be in a better position to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and changing county.
With Hall County progressing into a more urban setting, it is imperative that we maintain the agricultural resources that remain. It is the responsibility of the Hall County Conservation District to educate the community on agriculture and sustainable practices, while preserving the diverse utilization of landscape to enrich our soil and water systems.
NUISANCE WILDLIFE & VEGETATION SEMINAR
On November 27, 2018, Hall County Conservation District held a seminar at Riverside Military Academy on Nuisance Wildlife and Vegetation. Speakers included Lynne Womack with Georgia Forestry Commission, Michael Foster with UGA Extension, Dr. Gino D’Angelo with the University of Georgia, and Matt Ondovchik with USDA Wildlife Services. The event was sponsored by Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D and brought in members of the Hall County Master Gardeners, environmental science students from Riverside Military Academy, and the general public. Topics covered at the seminar included invasive plant and insect species of Georgia, backyard nuisance wildlife, white-tailed deer management, and feral swine management; the event concluded with a demonstration by Matt Ondovchik, where he demonstrated how to use a trap for feral swine.
Native medicinal botany guided walk and seminar
On Saturday, July 21, 2018, Irenee Payne, with Hall County Conservation District, arranged a Native Medicinal Botany Guided Walk & Seminar at Linwood Nature Preserve. The event brought in roughly 40 people from the community, both members of the Georgia Native Plant Society and general public were in attendance; the audience included a wide range of botany expertise and covered age groups from as young as 7-years-old. Speakers included Margaret Rasmussen, the Executive Director of The Redbud Project Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society; Pam Eakins of the Ladies Homestead Gathering here in Hall County; and Karin Hicks of the Georgia Native Plant Society. The morning included a history of the native flora of the Gainesville Ridges, a presentation on making tinctures, and presentations/guided walk on plant identification. To access the article written on the event, please click below.
To access Hall County Conservation District’s article on medicinal botany, click below.
pond management seminar
In August 2018, sponsored by Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D, UGA Extension, DNR, NRCS, and Hall County and Upper Chattahoochee Conservation Districts arranged a Pond Management Seminar at Lake Laceola, nestled in a mountain community near the heart of Cleveland, Georgia. Despite heavy rain all throughout the morning, Steve Dean and Joseph Gaynor welcomed over 40 people to their Lake Laceola community; in attendance were NRCS affiliates; members of Hall County, Stephens County, Upper Chattahoochee River, and Blue Ridge Mountain Conservation Districts; and Aquascape Environmental. Speakers included Steven Patrick of UGA Extension, Chris Looney of Georgia DNR, and Chelsea Cutler of NRCS. People in attendance learned about water quality maintenance and the removal of invasive species, and those in attendance were able to see a pond shocking demonstration from the DNR. To access the article written on the event, please click below.
To access Hall County Conservation District’s article on pond management, click below.
Hall County Conservation District put together a similar seminar at Eagle Ranch in Flowery Branch, GA in October 2018, and 6th-9th grade students were able to participate in the event.
High Tunnel Construction and Education
Hall County Conservation District works with the Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D to bring necessary farming equipment and seminars to Hall County. In 2018, both groups worked together to establish a high tunnel at Tadmore Elementary in Hall County. In September, Hall County Conservation District, Hall County Extension, and Hall County Farm Bureau returned to the school to educate teachers on how to maintain and maximize use of the high tunnel.
To access Hall County Conservation District’s powerpoint on tips for using high tunnels, click below.
Local Ag Days
Twice a year, Hall County Conservation District works with Hall County Extension and Hall County NRCS to participate in Ag Day at varying local schools in Hall County. In September 2018, Hall County Conservation District presented on soil health and sustainability to kindergarten through fifth grade students at White Sulfur Elementary.
Louise McPherson, Soil Conservationist with USDA- NRCS, demonstrated the effects of runoff on different soil structures. Cread Brown, Hall County’s USDA- NRCS District Conservationist, and Greg Bell in affiliation with Hall County Conservation District, put together layered, edible soil for the students to learn and enjoy about sediment and soil layers.
Assisting neighboring districts
Hall County Conservation District works closely with neighboring districts to promote outreach and education throughout Northeast Georgia. Our District partners with the Blue Ridge Mountain Conservation District to educate students on freshwater invertebrates and their ecosystems. Hall County DPA Irenee Payne and Blue Ridge Mountain DPA Grayson Payne teach students on finding and identifying organisms in streams as indicators of water quality (see below).
Irenee also travels independently to the Mountain Research and Education Center in Union County, which is a part of the Blue Ridge Mountain Conservation District, to teach local students on watersheds and pollution. She utilizes a multi-district owned enviroscape for her demonstrations (see below).
Hall county conservation district annual meeting
Each October, Hall County Conservation District holds an Annual Meeting, where the district board recognizes farmers and local students who have made contributions to agriculture and conservation throughout the previous year. The event consists of food, live music, and fellowship.
In October 2018, Hall County Conservation District awarded the Dyer Family Farm (left) 2018 Conservation Farm Family of the Year for their active conservation efforts on their family farm, which has been around since 1868.
The district also awarded Supporter of the Year to Todd Clark (right) for his continuous contributions to conservation agriculture across Hall county; Clark has assisted in the establishment of conservation practices on multiple farms in the county!
Local college students applied to receive scholarships from the district, and this year, the three scholarship winners were Rebecca Bowen, Brandy Carr, and Rhea Chawla.
Georgia’s First Lady:
At the October 2018 Annual Meeting, Sandra Deal served as the guest speaker.
other district projects and events
Monthly Meeting Information
Hall County Conservation District meets on the second Tuesday of each month, unless otherwise stated, at 8:15 AM in the Conference Room of the Hall County Agricultural Service Center Building at 734 East Crescent Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501.
To access meeting minutes and other information, click below.
Contact HALL COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT
Irenee Payne, District Program Assistant