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Old News - 2022

Bradford Pear Bounty
Tree Exchange Program
December 10, 2022

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Our commissioners and staff braved the cold morning air to assist Clemson Extension and the SC Forestry Commission with their tree exchange event. There was a steady flow of people for the first two hours with some arriving as early as 7:45am. The Master Gardeners Association manned the check-in table where attendees showed proof of having removed one or more of the dreaded Bradford pear trees. Then Clemson Extension and the SC Forestry Commission helped attendees pick up to five new trees from the sixteen types available. 


While some members of LSWCD helped prepare the trees for transport, others manned the information table and spoke with attendees. With 44 attendees walking away with a total of 134 trees, we were very grateful for the volunteers from the Boy Scouts, GHS Beta Club, and Gilbert FFA .

After a chilly three hours a total of 200 were distributed. All in all, despite some cold toes, the event was a definite success.  

Every year the bounty is held in a new location to increase awareness of the invasive nature of Bradford Pear trees and to reduce their number across South Carolina. This year the event was held in Goose Creek & Lexington and next year they plan to hold the event in Aiken, Laurens and Spartanburg. 

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Arbor Day
December 2, 2022

Every year, when possible, we try to honor 1-2 schools with an Arbor Day tree. We do this to introduce more native trees into the environment and to educate the youth on their importance. Trees clean the air & water, protect the soil and support biodiversity. Without trees life on this plant cannot be sustained, and it is our hope that the trees planted at RH Fulmer Middle School and Pelion Elementary School will help inspire the students to take an active role in preserving our natural resources.

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RH Fulmer Middle School, tree planet in honor of Megan Carrero winning the State Middle Level Principal of the Year award.

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Pelion Elementary School, tree planet in honor of their archery team winning the World & National Competition.

SCACD - Mid Year Meeting
October 6, 2022

2023 SCACD Mid Year meeting

The sun was shinning, a cool breeze was blowing and LSWCD was stuck inside at a meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to examine the current policy positions and see if there was anything that needed to be changed.

After lunch NRCS, SCDNR, SCCDEA, NACD, and the SC Conservation Districts Foundation delivered their partnership updates. NRCS State Conservationist, Ann English, stated they are working towards urban agriculture projects and outreach to colleges and universities. 

NRCS - National Resources Conservation Services, SCDNR - SC Department of Natural Resources, SCCDEA - SC Conservation Districts Employee Association, NACD - National Association Conservation Districts

Agricultural Teachers' Meeting September 28, 2022


A dinner meeting was held at Mediterranean Café with the agricultural teachers from all five school districts.  After a light but tasty meal of hummus and pita bread, chicken, yellow rice and greek salad our Commissioners introduced themselves and gave a brief overview of LSWCD history and objectives. 


Katherine Porth from FSA joined us and offered her expertise as we broke down the programs and assistance we offer to teachers. We hope to have similar meetings in the future so we can stay informed and help the teachers as best we can.

Local Work Group Meeting

July 26, 2022

LSWCD and Melanie Schuller, of NRCS, hosted a Local Work Group meeting for Lexington County landowners to discuss the resource concerns they are facing. Local Work Groups are the intermediaries between Districts, USDA-NRCS, state/local partners, and producers. These groups asses the current natural resource concerns in Lexington County/District and identify opportunities and challenges that Local and State NRCS and partners can address through their conservation programs. Some of the programs that NRCS offers to help landowners address resource concerns and to implement good conservation practices are:


  • EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program) – an incentive program designed to encourage people to implement good conservation practices like stacking sheds and cover crops.

  • CSP (Conservation Stewardship Program) – 5-year contract to encourage stewardship. This programs enhances conservation practices that are already in place.

  • CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) – 10-15 year contract through FSA that assists agricultural producers in preventing environmentally sensitive agricultural land from being farmed or ranched.

  • ACEP (Conservation Easement Program) – has 2 components: agricultural land easements and wetland reserve easements.

NRCS separates resource concerns into four categories and this month's most recent of meeting of the LWG identified what they believe to be the most pressing issues facing Lexington County.

For more information about these programs please visit


  1. Management

  2. Fencing

  3. Vegetation health


  1. Soil Health

  2. Erosion

  3. Water quality/quantity/ irrigation efficiency


  1. Plant Productivity

  2. Forest Health

  3. Land conversion

Animal Waste/Poultry

  1. Waste collection and containment

  2. Water Quality

  3. Erosion

SCACD - East Piedmont Area Meeting

September 22, 2022


LSWCD started the meeting traveling up a winding road, surrounded by lush trees, that lead up to a venue straight out of a fairytale. All five Commissioners were in attendance, and Commissioner Hensley even flew from DC to make the meeting.

Attendees socialized for about thirty minutes before Joe Ghent, Chairman of Lancaster SWCD, got the meeting underway. Sherry Walden, the owner, gave a brief history of Catawba Falls before the partnership reports from SCACD, NRCS, and DNR were given. Elliot Wicham from Drought Monitoring & Response gave a brief, but informative presentation. 

After the reports, a hearty dinner of marinaded chicken, roast beef, squash, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls and cheesecake was served. Following diner, Senator Mike Fanning spoke on the importance of remembering the history of the past and how it connects to our future. He talked about the future growth of Great Falls, and emphasized the importance of developing rural communities so they can advance towards the future instead of fading into the past.

Rounding up the night, Cherokee, Chester, Lancaster, Lexington, Newberry, Richland, and York County all gave a brief report on how their districts were doing. With the district reports finished the meeting came to a close and the attendees were encouraged to take the extra food home.


2022 Annual Recognition Banquet
May 5, 2022

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this year's banquet came back with a bang. Shealy's set out an amazing spread of green beans, corn, fried chicken, country fried steak, rice and gravy, pecan pie and banana pudding. With over 100 guests in attendance Shealy's made sure everyone had a full plate with a little left for some guests to take home.

Students of Lexington High School, River Bluff High School, White Knoll High School and Pleasant Hill Middle School were in attendance to receive their certificates and cash prizes as winners of the 2022 Photography Contest. This year had 7 winners for Division 1, 9th - 12th grade; 1 winner in Division 2, 6th - 8th grade; and 1 winner for the Poster Contest. This year we were also fortunate enough to be able to provide 4 scholarship to deserving high school seniors.

Other awards given were: Teacher of the year, Angela Kruger; Friend of Conservation, Bill Scott; and Conservation & Public Service, Sheri Armstrong. Robert Broyles gave a moving speech as he presented Dwight Davis with his Emeritus Award. Many special guests were in attendance such as Toya Rodgers of Twin City news, the Honorable Cal Forrest, Reginald Hall and Robyn Amie of NCRS, Tyler Brown of SCDNR and many more. With such lovely turn out we can't wait for next year's banquet.

Photos by Charlotte Jennings

Ag in the Classroom

Gilbert Elementary School

May 24, 2022

Commissioner Padget read to six classes at Gilbert Elementary from grades K-5. The 3rd – 5th graders were read Lincoln Clears a Path, and she kept them engaged by asking them how their lives related to the story they were read. Students were excited to share that they lived on farms and grew many of the same vegetables that Lincoln did. The K-2nd graders were read So You Want to Grow a Taco? and were greeted by the sight of different types of corn and tomatoes. Thankfully lunchtime was right around the corner.

The 2022 SC Envirothon Competition
April 29, 2022

RSWCD Associate Commissioner Charles Weber(left), SCDNR Conservation Districts Program Manager Tyler Brown (right)

We had beautiful weather for this outdoor, environmental competition for high schoolers. We are so grateful to the SC Envirothon sponsors, volunteers, and coaches who make this program possible! Sponsors include Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, SCDNR-Conservation Districts, SC Conservation Districts Foundation, the SC Association of Conservation Districts, and several others.  We had three Lexington Soil and Water Conservation District Representatives volunteer for this event including Commissioners Barbara Padget and Hugh Caldwell along with District Employee John Oxner.

1st place overall - Spartanburg High School A Team who will represent South Carolina at the NCF-Envirothon this summer in Ohio!
2nd Place Overall: Spartanburg Day School Carolina Team
3rd Place Overall: Pendleton High School FFA Team 1

New Team Award: Nation Ford FFA Team
Marc Cribb Exceptional Leader Award: Anna-Wallace Cheek from Spartanburg High School

Photos and information provided by RSWCD and Brooke Myres

2022 Herb Festival
March 26, 2022

The 10th Annual Herb Festival sponsored by Lexington Herb Bunch was held on Saturday, March 26, 2022 on the grounds of the Lexington Museum. It was sunny, but chilly day. The LSWCD had a booth where they displayed information about the district and provided materials for attendees to take home. Pens, recipe cards, and copies of South Carolina Wildlife were also handed out. Commissioners Caldwell, Gunter and Padget helped children make seed necklace to take home so they can start their own gardens. District Manager John Oxner also attended with a member of his family. We enjoyed meeting folks from the county and sharing our mission of promoting good conservation practices. 

By Commissioner Barbara Padget

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