Locals honored at SWCD annual meeting

Published 12:14 am Saturday, August 13, 2016

Three Covington County residents were recognized for their service at Thursday’s Alabama Association of Conservation Districts Area V annual meeting.

Representing the Covington County at the Area V annual meeting were: Bill and Judy Godwin, Ron Weidler, Patricia Gunter, Josh Elliott, Bobby Jackson, Kendra Majors, Steve Yelverton, Suzi Mersmann, Patrick Rohling, Dr. Roger Boyington and Daniel Collins Courtesy photo

Representing the Covington County at the Area V annual meeting were: Bill and Judy Godwin, Ron Weidler, Patricia Gunter, Josh Elliott, Bobby Jackson, Kendra Majors, Steve Yelverton, Suzi Mersmann, Patrick Rohling, Dr. Roger Boyington and Daniel Collins
Courtesy photo

Dr. Roger Boyington was recognized for wildlife conservation; County Commission Chairman Bill Godwin was recognized as the district’s outstanding public official; and Kendra Majors of The Star-News was recognized for conservation communication efforts.

Outstanding Wildlife Conservation

Boyington owns and manages 1,030 acres in north Covington County along the west side of the Conecuh River in the Rose Hill community. Since acquiring the property in 2000 he has worked tirelessly to improve the land for wildlife. He participates in programs offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the reforestation of the native Longleaf Pine for improvement of the Gopher Tortoise habitat. He follows a strict prescribed burning regimen to improve the understory of the land and in doing so has provided and improved habitat for not only the gopher tortoise but also, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, and the whitetail deer populations.

An avid sportsman and conservationist, Dr. Boyington not only wants to improve the habitat of upland wildlife but also that of the native waterfowl populations. He has created small water impoundments and built wood duck boxes along the river on his property for waterfowl. These impoundments have provided habitat for waterfowl to feed and roost.

On top of all the work Dr. Boyington has put in for wildlife habitat improvement on his land, he has also joined the fight against feral hogs. In late 2015, he began using trapping systems designed by Jager Pro. Since setting up the hog trapping system, he has trapped and dispatched 43 mature hogs and 16 young pigs. Thirty of the hogs trapped were pregnant sows that had an average of seven unborn piglets, resulting in the prevention of around 210 pigs from being born. The population of wild hogs in this area is overwhelming, but with persistence and a technical edge, Dr. Boyington continues to do what he can to control the population.

Dr. Boyington is doing his part to improve the wildlife habitat on his land and serves as an example to other land owners for his efforts improving and conserving his property for all wildlife. Because of this, the Covington County Conservation District proudly nominated him for the 2016 Outstanding Wildlife Conservation Award.


Outstanding Conservation Communication

Majors is the principal designer, special sections and South Alabama Living editor for The Star-News. In addition, she is responsible for news content, lifestyles content and page design.

She served a term on the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce, participates in the Covington County Children’s Policy Council and Covington Regional Honor Flight boards.

Majors is supportive of the soil and water conservation resources in the county. She has given the district programs positive press coverage and continues to publish current news releases given to her. She always tries to make a personal connection with the releases that come down from headquarters. This relationship greatly helps the district get current conservation issues to the public on a timely basis at no cost. For all of these reasons we are proud to have nominated Ms. Majors for Outstanding Conservation Communication Award, officials said.


Outstanding Elected Official

Godwin currently serves as chairman of the Covington County Commission. He was originally appointed to the Covington County Board of Supervisors by Gov. George C. Wallace in 1977. March of 2016 marked 39 years of continuous service as a local supervisor. Over the years, he has served in various positions on the district board, including chairman. He is currently the treasurer. He served two terms as vice-president if the Southeast Alabama Association of Conservation Districts (SEAACD). He has had the privilege of serving two three-year terms on the Alabama Soil & Water Conservation Committee (SWCC).

Godwin was born and reared in Covington County, and has lived here continuously except for his college years and his military service. In 1968 he began his farming career with his father, the late W.M. Godwin. This family farm partnership continues today with his own son, Steve. They operate a diversified farm that includes corn, peanuts, oats, beef cattle, and commercial hay. The haying operation focuses on producing quality hay in small square bales for recreational horse owners.

Godwin has been recognized for his life’s work in various ways. In 1985 he was selected as Farmer of the Year by the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce. In 1996 he received the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award as Soil Conservationist of the Year. He is also a 1991 graduate of the Alabama Agricultural and Forestry Leadership Program sponsored by Auburn University. He has served a six-year term on the Covington County School Board, a term as moderator of the Covington Baptist Association, and a term on the Board of Directors of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce. He also served three terms on the Covington County Board of Equalization.

He and his wife, Judy, have been married for nearly 51 years and have four children, all of whom live in Covington County. Steve Godwin farms in partnership with his dad. Leigh Powell teaches at Straughn Elementary School. Kristi Powell teaches at Pleasant Home School. Dr. Gabrielle Baldwin is a pediatrician at Covington Pediatrics. The Godwins are also very proud of their 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The Godwins are active members of Pleasant Home Baptist Church. He has been a member of Gideons International for 31 years and has served his local camp in nearly every office over the years.