State and county officials to recognize award winners

BATAVIA, OH (Sept. 5, 2019) — Prior to its 76th Annual Meeting and Banquet on Thursday, Sept. 12, the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will hold a press conference to honor its 2019 Cooperator and Educator of the Year award recipients.

During the press conference, which starts at 5 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Building on the Clermont County Fairgrounds, 1000 Locust Street, Owensville, Ohio, various state and local elected officials will present certificates of recognition to the award recipients. Confirmed presenters include State representatives John Becker and Doug Green, Gov. Mike DeWine’s Southwest Ohio Liaison Jason Gloyd, and a member of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners. Clermont SWCD will present its awards during the Annual Meeting, which will begin at about 6 p.m.

For more information, please contact John McManus, Clermont SWCD District Administrator, at (513) 732-7075 ext. 3, or at

Information on Clermont SWCD Award Recipients:

Cooperator of the Year – Louise Gartner

Louise Gartner operates a five-acre organic farm in Monroe Township. In two short years, she went from a small vegetable garden to raising organic crops under four high tunnels.  She plans to construct two more large high tunnels in the near future to further expand her beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peppers, potatoes and zucchini production.  Louise has worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to construct the high tunnels and other conservation practices, including cover crops, integrated pest management, nutrient management, and a drainage system around the high tunnels.  She now has a very productive operation, selling to a local food Co-op based out of Cincinnati, as well as an upper-end grocery store chain.  Louise devotes much of her time to educating and training others.  She has hosted various educational tours for groups, such as National Farm to Table conference and the Turner Farm, which has a Veteran to Farmer Training Program.

Educator of the Year – Meri Johnson

Meri Johnson is an educational consultant whose services have been invaluable to Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District and local schools. She has trained hundreds of teachers in Ohio and has been actively involved as a science education advisor for several local universities, the Ohio Department of Education and the National Science Teachers Association. Prior to this, Meri worked as Clermont County’s Science Curriculum Specialist for the Educational Service Center. She also taught at Clermont Northeastern High School for 13 years and Batavia High School for nine years. During that time she taught biology, environmental science, outdoor science, anatomy and physiology, AP biology and physical science. She was also the sponsor for the Envirothon, Clermont Science Challenge and Academic Quiz Teams. Meri also served on the Clermont SWCD Board of Supervisors for 12 years. She considers herself to be very fortunate to have a career that allows her to share her passion of science and outdoors with her adolescent and adult students in an interesting, valuable and encouraging way.