Bill Swern has been a champion of the conservation of soil and water not only in his life's work, but also in his lifestyle as he has actively promoted the conservation con-cepts in which he believes. His leadership in conservation activities and community service continues 20 years after his retirement through his prolific volunteer activities.
Swern received his B. S. in Agriculture from Purdue University in 1949. From 1950 to 1980 he served with the USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS). For 25 years he was a soil conservationist, and for the final five years he was the coordinator of the Arrow Head Country Resource Conservation and Development (RC & D) Area, Inc. Swern was an innovator in conservation practices; the Pulaski
County Recycling Operation that he helped organize in 1974 is the oldest such program in t) state and has been used as a guide by other communities. Recognizing the need for multi-coun efforts to protect the water quality and other natural resources of the Tippecanoe River Basi Swern took the initiative to organize citizens in the affected counties (initially four, although t] area now includes ten counties), and in 1975 USDA approved establishment of the Arrow He. RC & D area and appointed Swern coordinator. According to Indiana State Conservation:
Robert Eddleman, "Many of the county urban development and conservation programs acro the state are modeled after Bill's early work. ... The impact of his farsightedness is tremendous
In 1980 Swern retired from' SCS and returned to his family farm in Rockville where he h had tremendous impact as a volunteer, particularly in the areas of conservation and youth dev( opment. He has served the Parke County SWCD as an associate supervisor and in promoting i youth education programs. He serves on the forestry committee of the Sycamore Trails RC & where he has developed outdoor laboratory and classroom activities. His service to Parke Coun 4-H is extensive, having served for 10 years as photography project leader, as an instructor photography camp, as a chaperone for week-long exchange programs and as a volunte producer of slide shows and video programs that promote 4-H activities.
Swern is a former board member of the Rockville Rotary Club and has co-chaired the club's annual pancake breakfast at the annual Covered Bridge Festival. He is an active mem¬ber and has twice served as a trustee of the Rockville United Methodist Church. His other active member¬ships-Swern doesn't know any other kind-include: International and Hoosier Chapters of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (trea- surer, historian and administrative secretary of the Hoosier Chapter); Parke County Ag Day Committee (treasurer); Rockville School Improvement Committee; Parke County Camera Club; Parke County Woodworkers (hosted International Woodworkers Conference, 1987); Parke County Historical Society (board member); Parke County Park Board; and the Neysville Community Reunion committee.
In 1984 Parke County SWCD honored Swern as its Conservation Farmer of the Year. He received the Soil and Water Conservation Society's Hoosier Chapter Service Award in 1988, and in 1991 he was named Parke County 4- H Leader of the Year. The Indianapolis Star selected Swern as a recipient of its prestigious George Award for outstanding volunteer service in his community.