PENQUIS - The Piscataquis County Soil & Water Conservation District (PCSWCD) will host their Annual Tour & Luncheon on Wednesday, August 10. The tour will begin at 10 a.m. at Gilrock Dairy Farm on the Silvers Mills Road in Sangerville.
Each year the district recognizes a Cooperator of the Year and an Outstanding Conservation Teacher of the Year. Cooperators are landowners who implement conservation practices on their property. This year's award winner is George Nuite, owner of Gilrock Farm. Nuite has been active with the PCSWCD for several years and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
"I'm going to look awful funny giving this award to myself," Nuite said when notified that his farm had been selected by the other board members for recognition. Joking aside, Nuite has much to be proud of and the board felt his farm deserved this year's award. Gilrock is a 14,000-acre dairy farm that has been in the Nuite family for five generations. All six of George Nuite's siblings are involved in the farm to some extent, as are many of his nieces and nephews. The farm was selected for recognition because of the high-quality conservation practices and ability to change with the times that are required to sustain any agricultural business over so many decades. Gilrock became a Certified Organic Dairy Farm in 2003, and produces organic feed and forestry products on the land in addition to supplying Horizon Organics with milk for their products.
The Outstanding Teacher of the Year is Heather Doherty of MSAD #4 in Guilford. Doherty, of Dexter, has been teaching for three years. Prior to that, she worked for five years as an environmental engineer. She and her husband Rick operate a 20-acre Christmas tree farm in addition to holding down day jobs.
Doherty makes natural resources and their protection a big part of her biology and advanced biology curriculum. She also fielded an Envirothon team this year, the first time PCHS has been represented at the high school competition in many years. The team placed fourth in the Central region event, and plans are underway for PCHS to send two teams to this hands-on natural resource competition next year. Doherty also assisted with Water Quality Day at the PCSWCD Natural Resources Summer Camp in June.
The day will include a tour of the Nuite farm, a picnic lunch, presentation of awards and an afternoon soil quality workshop for those who wish to attend. Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-registration for the lunch would be very helpful. Please call the district office at 564-2321, ext. 3 to register for the picnic lunch before August 5. The menu includes hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, baked beans, desserts and beverages. Horizon Organics is also donating a variety of their organic dairy products for guests to sample. The cost of the meal is $6 per person. There is no charge for the tour or workshop.
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