Franklin County conservation employees honored
MALONE — Tricia LaValley and Jane Robinson won awards at this year's New York State Conservation District Employees Association (NYSCDEA) Annual Meeting held in Auburn on March 15.
LaValley won the NYSCDEA Division 5 Award. She is a district conservation technician for the Franklin County Soil and Water District.
LaValley began with the district in 2008 and took over the Agricultural Environmental Management program for soil and water. She has coordinated, conducted and implemented all of the AEM projects in Franklin County.
She worked with many local farmers on grazing practices and many other best-management practices for agriculture. She has been selected to conduct specialized grazing programs in the state and has recently been awarded a mini-grant to work with local students on grazing.
LaValley has also participated in roundtables for grazing programs and many training efforts. She has developed a cost-share program, supported by the Adirondack North Country Association, for local farmers participating in grazing and environmental management.
She has also assisted and participated in conservation field days with Cornell Cooperative Extension, the envirothon, Boy Scout merit badges, WRP monitoring, many watershed groups, the Black River St. Lawrence RC&D and others.
Also, Jane Robinson won the Community Service Award for her efforts to help farmers in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene in Schoharie County.
Four tractor-trailer loads of hay from Franklin County, much of which was hauled by Robinson and the other district employees, went to Schoharie County.
Many other counties followed her example. The Saratoga Farmers Market filled another tractor trailer with hay and bailage.
Another load was donated from an Otsego County farm. A farm in Schenectady County donated the fields that were full of grass just ready to be cut for a third time. Robinson's efforts helped turn a disaster into a place where farms know others care about them, according to district representatives.