Arbor Day at Yates Elementary School.

It is a great time of the year to get involved in conserving our environment.

The Hillsborough 100 Conservation Challenge is taking place from Saturday, April 17 to Saturday, May 9 with the goal of encouraging residents to get involved. The period of the challenge covers Earth Day (Thursday, April 22), National Arbor Day (Friday, April 30) and National Stewardship Week (Sunday, April 25 to Sunday, May 2).

With the simple concept of conservation being everybody’s business, the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District (HSWCD) established the Hillsborough 100 Conservation Challenge in 2017. The idea came about when Betty Jo Tompkins, executive director at the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District, reached out to the board to create a Conservation Challenge with the goal to reach 100 projects.

The group hopes to reach urban, suburban, inner-city and rural populations within Hillsborough County with projects, programs and activities emphasizing protection of natural resources. It also aims to develop and support garden programs for elementary, middle and high schools throughout the county.

“The concept behind it would be to encourage everyone to do their part to reduce, reuse and recycle,” Tompkins said.

Through the program, a group selects a project, then they work with the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District and report the outcomes. Examples of projects may include tree plantings, community and school gardens, road and river cleanups and much more. Businesses, agricultural groups, churches and more can participate. Tompkins stated that practicing good conservation is essential to protecting the earth for future generations.

The deadline to register for the Hillsborough 100 Conservation Challenge is Thursday, April 15.

“Overall, everyone of any age can make an impact and be part of the conservation solution,” Tompkins said.

“With that in mind, if people do a small part in protecting our environment, the result would dramatically improve our world,” she added.

For more information, call the HSWCD at 752-1474, ext. 3, call Betty Jo Tompkins at 477-8332 or email

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.