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Enhancing the Environment by Preserving Soil, Water & Our Resources

About Us

Office Staff | Affiliate Members | Associate Supervisors | Who We Are

Across Indiana, 92 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) - one in every county - help Indiana residents to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related natural resources that encompass our state's 23 million acres.

The LaPorte County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) was organized by seven gentlemen July 1, 1964 and is a legal subdivision of the State of Indiana, established by the Indiana Soil Conservation Act of 1937.

Current Board of Supervisors:

  • Don Lode, Chairman
  • Nate Mrozinski, Vice Chairman
  • Sacha Gee-Burns, Treasurer
  • Gene Schmidt, Secretary
  • Peter Lindborg, Member

The official governing body of each district consists of five supervisors. These five supervisors are LaPorte county residents familiar with the conservation needs and opportunities in the county.

  • Three supervisors are elected (one each year for a three-year term) at an annual meeting of land occupiers held in February.
  • Two supervisors are appointed (for staggered three-year terms) by the State Soil Conservation Board.

Selection of all five supervisors is based on input from the local people they serve.

LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District - Nicole and Sheila for Annual Report

LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District - Theresa Wojkovich

As public officials, supervisors are required to take a standard public oath of office committing to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Indiana, and faithfully discharge the duties of the office of supervisor.

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Office Staff

Sheila Batchelor, Office Manager
sbatchelor@laportecounty.org

Before becoming the District’s Office Manager in 2006, Sheila worked part time for SWCD as Office Assistant and for the Farm Service Agency as a Temporary Program Assistant. A LaPorte County native, she attended Purdue University North Central and has experience in business and administration. Her primary areas of focus include leading daily office operations and the planning, organizing, and supervising of District events and programs. She has gained a greater knowledge and deeper appreciation for LaPorte County and natural resources in general since joining the staff!

LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District - Beautiful Wetland

Nicole Messacar, Education Coordinator             
nmessacar@laportecounty.org

Nicole has been the Education Coordinator for the LaPorte County SWCD since January of 2007. She has a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University with a major in Environmental Management and minor in Geography. She lives in LaPorte with her husband and three children. She was named IWF 2012 Conservation Education of the Year (for more information click here).  Currently, Nicole is coordinating the District’s watershed planning efforts in the Trail Creek watershed. She is also working in schools throughout the county on various conservation programs.

Ethel Turkowski – Office Assistant
eturkowski@laportecounty.org

Before becoming District office assistant, Ethel spent 16 years at the Highland Branch of the Lake County Public Library System. She is excited about learning about and being part of conservation in La Porte and looks forward to working with Nicole Messacar in her youth educational outreach in addition to routine office support duties. Ethel lives in LaPorte with her husband.

Partner Staff

Theresa Wojkovich
NRCS District Conservationist
theresa.wojkovich@in.usda.gov
Rick Brown
MS4 Coordinator
rbrown@laportecounty.org

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Affiliate Members

Each year, SWCD programs reach many thousands of children and adults. All of the SWCD Education Programs, in the classroom and community, are provided at no charge. However, they are supported by affiliate memberships. Affiliate Memberships are an integral part of the District. Without them, we would not be able to fulfill our purpose, which is to provide information about soil, water, and related natural resource conservation; identify and prioritize local soil and water resource concerns; and connect land users to sources of educational, technical, and financial assistance to implement conservation practices and technologies.

LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District - Nicole Messacar, Education Coordinator and Sheila Batchelor, Office Manager

Please consider purchasing an affiliate membership for your business, classroom, school or as an individual. Regular membership is $30.00, Supporting Membership is $50.00, and a corporate membership is $100.00 Our Affiliate members are very important to us and we recognize them at all of our public events, in all of our publications, and on our website. We also welcome their assistance and partnership in our events.

Please call our office at 219-326-6808, ext. 2116 or contact Sheila Batchelor at sbatchelor@laportecounty.org to become a member today!

Click here to download the affiliate application form; then print it, complete it and send it in.

2017 Affiliate Members

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Associate Supervisors

Associate Supervisors sign up for a year and are required to help with one of our events during that year. They are also recognized in every publication produced. Since we have a small staff, Associate Supervisors are a huge asset to us.

  • Bernie Baltes
  • Larry Cadwell
  • Noelle Conklin
  • Myrna Harder
  • Pete Lestinsky
  • Gene Matzat
  • Jim Simon
  • Greg Thoman

Please call our office at 219-326-6808, ext. 2116 or contact Sheila Batchelor at sbatchelor@laportecounty.org to become an Associate Supervisor today!

Click here to download the associate supervisor application form; then print it, complete it and send it in.

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Who We Are

Statutory Authority Indiana Code IC 14-32-5-1 (District Law): A district constitutes a governmental subdivision of the state and public body exercising public powers.

Function/Purpose

To provide information about soil, water, and related natural resource conservation; identify and prioritize local soil and water resource concerns; and connect land users to sources of educational, technical, and financial assistance to implement conservation practices and technologies.

Who We Serve

The residents and/or land users of LaPorte County and others who come to the District with natural resource concerns.

Why

LaPorte County Soil and Water Conservation District exists because of the need for the education and awareness of wise use and proper management of natural resources.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program.  (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).  To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC  20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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