Local Conservation Awards
Through out the year that are different awards given to organizations/farms/programs who show commitment to conservation.
Below are receipts within New Castle County who have been recognized for their on-going efforts.
Willoughby Farms is run by the father and son team of Robert Willoughby Sr. and Robert Willoughby Jr.
The Bellevue Farms new director, Jere Barber and son CJ receiving their award for Urban Ag Cooperator.
Cooperator of the Year
This award recognizes those farms which demonstrate outstanding stewardship and conservation practices done in partnership with New Castle Conservation District.
2021- Willoughby Farms (traditional agriculture)
Congratulations to Robert Willoughby Sr. and Robert Willoughby for receiving the 2021 Cooperator of the Year for traditional agriculture award. Willoughby Farms is a small family grain farm primarily growing corn, soybeans, wheat and barley. They farm approximately 1500 acres between the home farm (84 acres) and rental land. Robert Sr. began using no-till back in the 1980’s and they now practice both no-till and minimum tillage using a no-till ripper. Cover crops hold the nutrients in place and have increased the organic matter in the soil. They follow Best Management Practices (BMP’s) and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP’s). Precision ag techniques include the use of GPS for grid sampling and yield mapping and soil tests are done annually
2021- Bellevue Farms (urban agriculture)
For the first time in 2021, NCCD has add an urban agriculture category for the Cooperator of the Year. This year's awardee is Bellevue Farms, overseen by the farm’s Director, Elisa King. The urban farm and community garden began life in 2014 on the site of a former baseball field behind the Bellevue Community Center in Bellefonte. Elisa and her team have received many grants to support the expansion of the farm. Grants from the District have funded an outdoor food prep station, the installation of a water line, a 1,000 gallon water cistern, and a drip irrigation system. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service provided funds for the hoop house. The First State Resource Conservation and Development Council provided funding for pollinator habitat, a bee condo, and the farm market stand.
Governor's Conservation Awards
Each year, awards are given in the categories of agricultural and urban conservation within each of Delaware's three counties. These honorees are chosen for their "ongoing commitment to improving the environment." Learn more about our 2022 awardees down below.
2022 Agricultural Conservation:
Jeffrey A. Bartsch Sr.
For more than 30-years, Jeff Bartsch has been one of NCCD's primary contractors for tax ditch work and RC&D-CTF drainage improvement projects in New Castle County. In December 2021, he became Chair of the Herring Branch Tax Ditch. He is very knowledgeable about tax ditch maintenance and improvement projects, works well with the different tax ditch managers and landowners, and does excellent work. Jeff has done work on numerous tax ditches throughout southern New Castle County, from maintenance activities like mowing ditch banks and drainage rights-of-way, to repair projects such as replacing rusted corrugated metal pipes with high-density polyethylene pipe. Being a farmer at heart, Jeff takes great pride in improving the land and its productivity and has tried to do his part to improve water quality and soil health on his farms. Jeff has implemented a total of 2,119 acres of cover crop over the past 14 years. Currently Jeff and his wife, Joyce, till 585 acres in Delaware and Maryland.
District Coordinator, Kevin Donnelly, with Jeff Bartsch and his wife Joyce Bartsch.
2022 Urban Conservation:
Simonds Garden Civic Association
Simonds Gardens is a community of townhomes in New Castle Delaware. The community wide project started with several meetings of the Simonds Gardens Civic Association, NCCD staff and the engineering consultant team followed by a neighborhood walk to identify issues of concern within the Simonds Gardens community. An engineering study and construction plans were partially funded with a matching grant from the Water Infrastructure Advisory Council (WIAC), NCCD RC&D funds and Community Transportation Funds (CTF). Consulting engineering design services were provided by AECOM's David Athey, P.E. and Lawrence R. Carson, P.E. of the Carson Management Co. Funded projects include:
the installation of a new stormwater basin at the entrance into Simonds Garden from Lambson Lane
replacement of two existing DelDOT stormwater basins and interconnecting stormwater pipes as well as a new
stormwater outlet in NCC's Simonds Gardens Park
installation of over 1200' of new curbing and road re-surfacing to address ponding and impaired curb-side drainage
Utility easement vegetation clearing (to begin April 2022).
Project construction was funded by $428,901.52 of NCCD RC&D funds and $354,259.64 of Community Transportation Funds (CTF), and$42,500 of WIAC's Surface Water Matching Planning Grant.
Jaywann Saunders, Simonds Gardens Civic Association President and Javier Paula, Civic Association Secretary - May 2022
Past Award Recipients
Cooperator of the Year
2022- Bruce Patrick
2021- Wiloughby Farms (traditional ag) & Bellevue Farms (urban ag)
2020- Bob Uniatowski
2019- Ramsey's Farm
2018- Filasky's Farm
2017- George Whitehead
2016- David H. Daniels Sr. & father 20202 David R. Daniels
2015- Bill Alfree (Deer Crossing Farm)
2014- Gwen and Norman Pierce
2013- Delaware Nature Society
2012- Two Eagles Farm, LLC
2011- Delaware Wild Lands, Inc.
2010- Bill and Mary Jane Willis
2009- Joseph Vari
2008- Woodside Farm
2007- Jack and Neal Duke
2006- Dennis and Morgan Clay
2005- Jack Coleman
2004- Ben Walters
2003- Sterling Nursery
2002- James Correll
2001- Jim Reynolds
2000- Steve Corazza
Governor's Conservation Awards
20aAgricultural - Jeffrey A. Bartsch, Sr
Urban - Simonds Gardens Civic 20202020 20202020 Association
20aAgricultural- Marianne Hardesty
20aUrban- Skyline Orchard Civic Association 20aand General Excavating Inc – Skyline 20aOrchards Emergency Road Repair 20aProject20202020 Skyline
2020 No awards were held due to COVID-19
20aAgricultural- Colonial School District's Penn Farm
Urban- NCCo Dept. of Public Works – 20202020 Westwoods Stormwater 20202020 Management Pond
20Urban- Cheltenham Bridge –Westminster 20202020Civic Association
20Agricultural- John R. Stinson & Sons Inc.
20Urban- Dragon Run Tide Gate Repair
20Agricultural- Emerson Family Farm
20Urban- Green Valley 2nd Street Streambank 20202020Stabilization Project
20Agricultural- Whitehead Cattle Company
20Urban-NCCo Carousel Park Pond