VAN WERT – The Van Wert County Soil and Water Conservation District work year-round to educate both youth and adults on the importance of healthy soil and clean water.

Tammy Campbell, education coordinator, and Julie Buggle, office manager, play a key-role in educating the public on what SWCD does.

“I do programs at Marsh Foundation; I teach a lot of summer science camps,” said Campbell. “I also do stuff with the YMCA with their summer programming.”

Once school starts, the SWCD team is busy with the annual Cows and Plows which allows all area fourth graders an opportunity to learn about how agriculture affects their lives. This year’s Cows and Plows is set for Sept. 25 and 27.

Campbell also creates program books that can be found on the SWCD website and they visit nursing homes to educate the elderly on conservation efforts.

“We teach soil and soil health, and we also do water quality,” said Campbell. “Children can learn if a stream is healthy themselves and then we also teach soils and how valuable our soils are.”

Campbell explained that soil and water health is vital to communities. Clean water is essential to having a healthy body, while healthy soil helps food grow.

For adult education, several events are held including on Aug. 7 when the SWCD co-host their annual meeting with the Farm Bureau at Hickory Sticks Golf Club, and on Aug. 14, when SWCD will host an adult cover-crop session to talk about cover crops and soil health, as well as give equipment demonstrations.

“Our priorities are education and water quality,” said Buggle. “We promote best management practices for farmers to participate in some of the government programs to better their farming operation.”

Education is a vital part of what the SWCD does in order to help keep water safe and clean.

“We can help the farmer decide what is best for their farm and what’s best for all of us,” said Campbell. “Soil and Water can help with that education. Things are changing all the time, and we have to help them.”

Since 1989, the Soil and Water Conservation District has collected water samples from Town Creek thanks to funding from the Van Wert County Foundation. The water is tested for nitrates, phosphates, and pesticides, and have shown that Van Wert County has quality water available.

SWCD also offers pond clinics every other year.

“It’s not just one set of people; it’s what we’re all doing all together to our environment,” said Campbell.