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Local Conservation Awards
Top- 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. 

Father and Son Whilloughby 2 _Ag Cooperator of the Year_August 2022.JPG

Willoughby Farms is run by the father and son team of Robert Willoughby Sr. and Robert Willoughby Jr.

Jere Barber with Son CJ_ Urban Ag Cooperator of the Year_August 2022.JPG

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 and Joyce Bartsch.JPG

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, Secretary.

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

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