The Transylvania Times -

SWCD Hosts Annual Awards, Appreciation Banquet – Transylvania County NC


First place FFA team at the State Envirothon award was given to the "Brevard Blue" FFA team. Andy VonCanon (pictured right) was the team's advisor.The team is (left to right) Eliza Witherspoon, Damien LaForenza, and Carver Nichols. (Courtesy photos

Around 140 people gathered in the library's Rogow Room recently to attend the Transylvania Soil and Water Conservation District's (SWCD) annual appreciation and awards banquet.

The district hosts this event to honor the volunteers who have helped throughout the year with such events as the annual tree sale, 7th grade conservation field days and conservation education contests.

This year, the district also used this opportunity to acknowledge several students who won Area and State awards, as well as announce the district's 2015 Conservation Educator and Farm Family of the Year.

The Transylvania SWCD serves Transylvania County and is a member of the N.C. Association of SWCDs.

This association is broken down into areas, and Transylvania SWCD is one of 16 Western North Carolina counties in Area 1. The district held its annual conservation education contests back in November and the first place winners from these contests were entered into the Area 1 contests.

The first place winners at each area level are also automatically entered into the state contest. The district also sponsors Envirothon teams to compete in the Area 1 competition. The seven top scoring high school and seven middle school teams from the area qualify to compete at the state competition in Burlington, N.C. Seven of the eight Envirothon teams that the district sponsored qualified to go to the state competition this year.

The first award of the evening went to Mike Whitmire, former chairman of the SWCD Board of Supervisors.

He received a plaque for his 20 years of service to the Board. Several awards for the area and state Envirothon competitions were given, including a tie for first place at the area level.

Members of the Rosman HS FFA team (Luke Owen, Jeremiah Hooper, Drey Owen, Alex McNeely and Claire Harris) received a first place award.

The Rosman HS "Cathey's Chaco Crew" (Dakotah Curtis, Rachel Owen, Michael Bagwell, Madison Holden, and Haley Parker) also received a first place area Envirothon award.

The Brevard HS "Brevard Blue FFA" team (Carver Nichols, Damien LaForenza, Samuel Kicklighter, Eliza Witherspoon and Hannah Field) won top scoring FFA team at the state Envirothon, as well as having the highest score on the oral presentation.

This win qualifies the team to proceed to the National FFA Environmental Quality Competition in Louisville, Ky., this fall.

Other area and state contest awards given were for the annual poster contests. Christina McDonald, 3rd grader at T.C. Henderson Elementary School, won second place at the area level for her poster.

Kyleigh Heath, 4th grader at Brevard Elementary, took first place at the area, and Laikyn Buchanan, 5th grader at Rosman Elementary, won first place at both the area and state levels for her poster.

Kylie Worley won 2nd place for her poster, and Frank Parsens won first place at the area for his essay. Both are 6th graders at Brevard Middle School.

Ingrid Findlay, 9th grader at Brevard High School, won first place at both the area and state levels for her computer generated poster.

Transylvania SWCD Chairman Dick Bragg (far left) with the Area 1 First place Envirothon HS award recipients, "Rosman FFA" team. The team members are (left to right) Jeremiah Hooper, Claire Harris, Drey Owen, Luke Owen and advisor Heather McNeely.

Mark and Dolly McCall, owners of McCall's Produce of Penrose, were the 2015 Conservation Farm Family of the Year. The McCalls were honored for the work that they have done to conserve the soil and water resources on their farm.

The final award of the evening was for the SWCD's 2015 Educator of the Year Award.

This award went to Alan Johnson from Hi-Lo Mountain Nursery, for his dedication to district educational activities.

Dick Bragg, chairman of the Transylvania SWCD Board of Supervisors, welcomed the crowd and presented the awards.

Bragg also told the group the district is proud to be able to give so many awards this year, and to be represented at the state level by such outstanding students.

He also attributed the dedication of district staff, teachers, and parents for such high numbers of area and state awards.

For more information about the district's educational contests, visit


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019