Header image  
Conservation District  

22545 Center Parkway Accomac, VA 23301-1330 757-787-0918 ext. 101 FAX 757-787-8142







































































Conservation Awards 2015:

The District honors local students, teachers, farmers and community members for their efforts in the conservation of our natural resources.



Steve Sturgis

Clean Water Farm Award

  The DCR 2015 Clean Water Farm Award was awarded to Steve Sturgis of Tri-S Farms. Tri-S Farms has approximately 1,000 acres of a corn/wheat/soybean rotation as well as providing custom work for another 2,000-3,000 acres of agricultural land.  Steve has worked with the District by implementing cover crops using no-till planting methods. Steve has planted an 11.8 acre Pollinator habitat. He and his family also have a 79 acre farm held in an easement with the Virginia Outdoor Foundation. See more on the District's Agriculture webpage.


Gary Breeding

Wildlife Conservationist Award


  Gary Breeding was recognized for his outstanding efforts in wildlife conservation and management with this year's 2015 Wildlife Conservationist Award. In 2012 Gary enrolled 152 acres of forested wetland in the NRCS Wetland Reserve Program. This is a voluntary conservation easement program that gives landowners the opportunity to restore andenhance wetlands on their property. Program participation includes a restoration plan and wetland protection in perpuity. By restoring his wetland hydrology, Gary created habitat for frogs, turtles and salamanders through vernal pools.


Anne Armstrong

Conservation Teacher Award


  ESSWCD awarded Anne Armstrong the Conservation Educator Award for her outstanding commitment to educating and inspiring youth and community members about the environment around them. Anne oversees the Chincoteague Bay Field Station’s Education Department, adult & family college programs, and staff.   She was awarded a Toyota Together Green Fellowship to do extensive environmental education outreach. Anne has worked with the District overseeing the Aquatics portion of the Local Eastern Shore Dominion Envirothon for the past 4 years.   She works with SPARK on child-oriented projects such Creek Watchers which is a nature-based family learning program that Anne helped to create. Annie headed up the Living Shoreline Stabilization Project in Greenbackville to help restore eroding shoreline. 

Jimmy and Fred Smith

Conservation Farmer Award


Each year the District acknowledges a local farmer who regularly applies best management practices to promote soil and water conservation to improve water quality on the Eastern Shore.  This year, the District’s 2015 Conservation Farmer Award was presented to a father and son team- Jimmy and Fred Smith of J.E. Smith & Son.  The Smith family farm, located along Craddock Creek, is a 285 acre operation primarily consisting of a corn, wheat, soybean rotation. Healthy buffers are voluntarily maintained along their crop borders and agricultural ditches on the property are protected by thick vegetation on each side. They work with the District to ensure their Nutrient Management Plan is always up to date and are successful participants in the District’s annual cover crop programs by planting using no-till planting methods.  With the oysters filtering algae, water clarity has improved and Fred has seen an increase in areas of submerged aquatic vegetation.  In 2013, the Smiths participated in a joint program with NRCS, VA Tech and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that utilized new Green Seeker technology to precisely apply nitrogen to over 140 acres of their no-till wheat.  Their willingness to experiment with innovative precision ag technology further demonstrates their commitment to conservation and the environment.


James Teeling

Conservation Student



James Teeling, an exceptional student who participates in environmental studies and conservation outreach was awarded the 2015 Conservation Student Award.  He received the VA State Parks Youth Conservation Corps Emmitt Award for Outstanding Crew Member in 2014 and he was MVP of his Cross Country team twice.  James Teeling graduated from Northampton High School in June and is attending James Madison University this fall to pursue a degree in Environmental Biology.  He worked at the Natural Tunnel State Park as a member of the Youth Conservation Corp and was selected by the District to represent the Eastern Shore for the 2012 Youth Conservation Camp at Virginia Tech. 


Roy Custis

Foresty Conservationist Award


The Virginia Department of Forestry, Eastern Shore Area Office nominated Roy Custis for the District’s 2015 Forestry Conservationist Award.  Roy manages OK Farms, where he and his family manange timber land near Nandua Creek, for timber production, wildlife habitat enhancement, soil and water conservation, and hunting and recreation.  Roy has conducted timber stand improvement, pre-commercial thinning of loblolly pine, and timber harvesting.   Wildlife habitat has been enhanced during each of these practices with the establishment of early succession forest cover benefitting game animals such as quail, deer, and turkeys.


The District would like to thank the farmers, landowners, teachers, students and other partners whose contributions to conservation help assure clean water and productive soil for the future.