On April 12, the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District held a festive luncheon where it awarded several supporter awards, scholarships and mini grants. Funding for the scholarships and mini grants came from its annual Great Plant Auction held at the Hillsborough County Fair.

The Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District held a ceremony on April 12 at The Regent. At the luncheon, the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District presented awards to several local agencies and organizations, two scholarships and 16 mini grants.

Betty Jo Tompkins, executive director, said, “The idea for the luncheon started in 2016. The luncheon and awards represent the very thing that the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District stands for, and that is that conservation is everybody’s business. It is the responsibility of everyone to conserve and preserve nature.”

Several leaders of local agencies were recognized for their support. The Outstanding Supporter of the Year award was given to Hillsborough Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez and his staff. The Outstanding Project of the Year award went to the Hillsborough County Fair. The Outstanding Cooperative Partner award was awarded to Environmental Protection Commission executive director Janet Lurton and her staff.

Two scholarships were awarded as well. The Michael Hepburn Memorial Scholarship was presented to Madison Leiner, and the Ro Gene Davis Scholarship was given to Morgan Chancey.

The mini grants are new for this year. The funding for the grants came as a result of the Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District’s Great Plant Auction held annually at the Hillsborough County Fair.

There were 16 mini grants in the amount of $250 awarded. Each mini grant project proposal required at least one adult and four students participating in the project. Tompkins said, “When we came up with the idea for the mini grants, we thought that we would give out 12, but there were so many great project proposals that we decided to give out 16.”

The grant recipients included Apollo Beach Elementary School, Brandon High School FFA Chapter, Cub Scout Pack 37, Boy Scout Troop 109, Dunbar Elementary Magnet School, Ryan Flugel’s Eagle Scout project, Girl Scout Troop 3518, Graham Elementary AGP Gardens, Hillsborough County 4-H, Lopez Agriculture Classes, Pizzo K-8 School Garden Club, Raise the Bar 4-H Club, SCUBAnauts International (Tampa Chapter), Springhead Elementary Fifth Grade Lunch Bunch/Tutoring Group, Temple Terrace Elementary School Green Team and Winthrop Arts.

For more information, please visit www.hillsboroughswcd.com.

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