POMEROY — There has been a changing of the guard at the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District with the retirement of long-time district administrator Steve Jenkins.
Jenkins, of Rutland, retired after 18 years with the district with his last day being Oct. 30, and was replaced by former education coordinator Jenny Ridenour, of Long Bottom, who comes back on board as district administrator/wildlife specialist.
Jenkins was recognized by the Meigs SWCD Board of Supervisors at its Oct. 22 meeting and presented a plaque by board President Tony Carnahan. In addition, Meigs County Commissioners Tim Ihle and Jimmy Will presented him with a knife.
Jenkins was hired as a district technician in 2002 and assumed the position of district administrator in 2004 upon the retirement of Opal Dyer. During that time the district has seen many changes including an office move and the purchase of two pieces of property, one of which became the Meigs SWCD Conservation Area in Rutland Township, and the other earlier this year in Chester Township which will eventually house a storage building for district equipment. Work is currently going on at the Chester Township site which is located on Pine Grove Road near U.S. 33.
In addition, during Jenkins’ term as district administrator the Ohio Division of Soil and Water Conservation in 2016 made a move from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Ridenour had previously served 14 years with the district as the education coordinator and is widely known by most educators (and school children) in the county. She left to work at her alma mater Ohio University in Athens in November 2018, as an administrative specialist before her position was eliminated.
“I am very happy to be back at the Meigs SWCD,” Ridenour said. “The hardest decision I have ever made was leaving to take a position at Ohio University. At that time, I needed to support my children who were attending Ohio University.
“The easiest decision I have ever made was coming back to Meigs SWCD as the administrator/wildlife specialist,” she added. “This is where my passion for conservation and education are best served.”
This year’s Meigs SWCD supervisor election was held via absentee ballot instead of at the annual meeting and banquet, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. Supervisors Keith Bentz and Tonja Hunter, both of Racine, were re-elected and will be seated at the district’s organization meeting in January. The annual meeting and banquet is generally held in late September or early October.
The Meigs SWCD, established in 1943 is a legal subdivision of state government that provides natural resource management assistance to county landowners and other units of local government. The mission of the Meigs SWCD is to provide assistance for the wise use of our natural resources for present and future generations.
The district also shares office space and has a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service. The office is located at 113 E. Memorial Drive, Suite D, Pomeroy, and remains open but with limited public access.
The district is funded by the Meigs County Board of Commissioners, and county funds are supplemented by funding from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The district is governed by a five-member board of supervisors, all county residents. Board members serve staggered three-year terms. In addition to Bentz and Hunter, supervisors include Bill Baer of Racine, Joe Bolin of Rutland, and Tony Carnahan of Racine.