Schenck Takes Home Leopold Award

Schenck Takes Home Leopold Award
Journal Review
9-21-2009
by Jay Heater

For Shad Schenck, it came down to the realization that the 200 acres he farms about six miles west of Crawfordsville could benefit something other than himself.

So over the last 10 years, Schenck has tried to follow Conservation Reserve Program strategies aimed at benefiting the environment and those who live around him.

Schenck’s efforts toward that end earned him the Aldo Leopold Conservation Award, which was presented by The Coal Creek Chapter of Pheasants Forever on Saturday night at the Beef House in Covington.

In 1948, Leopold was quoted, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Coal Creek Chapter President Tim Fuesting said Schenck was deserving of the award. “We see few people who really step up and put an example on for all of society,” Fuesting said. “He is one.

“People should take a look at what he does. If they could act halfway like he does, the world would be a different place.”

With many of the former Aldo Leopold Conservation Award winners in attendance, Schenck accepted his award from 1998 recipient Don Bickel.

“This one is especially special for me,” Bickel said. “Shad understands that wildlife and agriculture habitat go hand-in-hand.”

Schenck, who with his wife, Sara, farms about 400 acres total in the county, said he was honored.

“Anytime you can get on a list with these type of guys, it makes you feel good.”

Besides adding wildlife such as deer and turkey to his farm, Schenck has planted natural grasses and followed other practices which are intended to protect soil, streams and wildlife habitat. He hosts a field day on his farm to demonstrate some of those practices to other farmers.

“He has done a lot of work on the property he owns,” Fuesting said. “You can see examples of how to do conservation right.”

Doing conservation right is an important goal of the Coal Creek Chapter of Pheasants Forever, and Saturday’s banquet was key to that effort in terms of raising funds.

“This is a tremendous organization,” Schenck said. “The Coal Creek Chapter is special. There are a lot of doers... a lot of people who want to give back.”

Besides honoring Schenck, live and silent auctions were held and many items were raffled. This year, Pheasants Forever has helped to plant more than 400 acres of natural grasses that help prevent erosion and which serve as a home to wildlife. The money raised on Saturday night also goes toward educational programs in schools so future generations might make conservation practices standard policy.