Backyard conservation can really reduce storm water problems. When rain falls on roadways and rooftops, it can’t soak gently into the ground as it once did. Instead, it flows down gutters and into storm sewers, picking up pollutants as it goes. Besides affecting the quality of water in streams and rivers, this runoff can cause flooding more quickly. Here are some examples of easy conservation practices that you can incorporate at home.

Rain Gardens

Wildlife Habitat

Landscape Garden

Soil Testing


Tree Planting



The District is grateful for our dedicated volunteers who share their time and talent with us. We strive to attract and retain quality, committed individuals who want an interesting and unique volunteer experience, while having fun and supporting conservation.

Congratulations Leonard N. Fox, 2023 Volunteer of the Year!

Leonard began volunteering with Richland SWCD in 2016. He serves the district as a precipitation monitor and reports daily rain and snow amounts in real-time on the Richland SWCD website. He said, “Being a farmer, you are always interested in the weather. Rainfall is important for so many reasons including crop growth.” Leonard enjoys volunteering with the district because he

said the precipitation monitor program is easy to use and he is pleased the data helps the county and can be used nationally.

Leonard also volunteers with the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce and participates in the Knights of Columbus. Leonard enjoys beekeeping, hunting, fishing, spending time with family at their farm and at the lake in the summer months. He planted butterfly-friendly plants and milkweed plots to help Monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Each fall he collects the milkweed pods and donates them to Richland SWCD for distribution. He is semi-retired from Schumacher Farms, Inc. where he is part owner. He and his wife, Kathy, have two daughters, Theresa and Michele, sons-in-law Jeremy and Michael, and four grandsons Xavier, Calvin, Sam, and Jack.

Richland SWCD plants a tree in honor of the volunteer of the year because Leonard and other volunteers are committed to soil and water health and a tree provides long-lasting benefits.

In addition to providing shade and adding beauty to an area, trees reduce the amount of stormwater runoff which helps reduce erosion and pollution in our waterways. Native trees are adapted to our climate, require less watering, and their strong roots help hold soil in place.

Each volunteer of the year picks a public location for the tree planting and Leonard chose Seltzer Park in Shelby, near the gazebo and playscape, because his grandchildren enjoy playing on the playscape.

A Black Gum tree was planted in Leonard’s honor in August. Black Gum trees are native to the Eastern United States including Ohio, other than in the drier counties in the northwestern part of the state. A Black Gum tree also goes by the name Tupelo. Each fall the tree will be bathed in beautiful scarlet and orange hues. Although hardly noticed by humans, the flowers and fruit are a good source of nectar for bees and food for birds. As it grows, it will contribute to the beauty of the park to be enjoyed by Leonard and Kathy, their family, our community, and future generations. 

The Shelby Park staff, Mayor Schag, and others assisted in the tree planting. Jerry Marshall, Shelby Park Supervisor (and Richland SWCD volunteer), and his staff will care for the Black Gum tree in coming years.

Leonard received the Richland SWCD Forestry Award in 2014. Between 2012 and 2014 he developed a forestry management plan to help meet his goals for his woodland. He improved forty acres of woodlands with grapevine removal and culling of mediocre trees. By following his Forest Stand Improvement Plan, Leonard allowed the profitable trees room to grow which improved the woodlands value. 

Watch this video of Leonard’s contributions and the tree planting. Thank you, Leonard, for all you do for the district and community!

The 52-member volunteer team has contributed more than 1,800 hours since September 1,2023, which has saved the General Fund approximately $52,200. Volunteers contribute high quality data that is used to track soil and water health in Richland County’s eight watersheds.

Volunteers Receive 2018 Awards

Congratulations to volunteers for receiving the 2018 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National and Northeast Regional Earth Team Chief’s Office Awards! Through the partnership between NRCS and Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (Richland SWCD), Richland SWCD volunteers also serve as Earth team volunteers. Both organizations collaborate on local projects while utilizing a passionate group of volunteers to stretch valuable resources. Each volunteer task helps paint a picture of how land use affect Richland County’s eight watersheds. In 2018, volunteers donated service hours valued at $45,270.00. Thank you, Volunteers!

Volunteer of the Year Recipients

  • 2015: Frank Shipley: Redbud at Gorman Nature Center
  • 2016: Candy Brenner
  • 2017: Ginnie Baker: near blue bridge in Bellville by B&O Bike Trail
  • 2018: Linda Collins
  • 2019: Mark Meinzer
  • 2020: Denise Tenison: 2 Paw Paw at Clear Fork Stoller Road Trail
  • 2021: Ella Hafenstein: Red Maple at Bicentennial Park in Lexington
  • 2022: Marilyn Roe: Red Maple at Marshall Park in Ontario
  • 2023: Leonard N. Fox: Black Gum Tree at Seltzer Park in Shelby

Now Recruiting Watershed Investigators!

Watershed investigators volunteer their time to help manage our eight Richland County watersheds. Each tasks helps paint a picture of how land use affects our watersheds. Quality data is collected through testing and making observations. This valuable data is vital for mapping and reporting and will be used to gauge long-terms trends in watershed health. This data will also help identify threatened environmental areas in the county when planning future land use. Training is provided to ensure quality reporting. Access to the internet is needed for precipitation, stream and lake monitoring watershed investigator opportunities for data to be posted on our website.

  • Lake Monitors
  • Photographers
  • Precipitation Monitors
  • Stream Monitors
  • Data Management

Additional opportunities include:

  • Office Assistance
  • Special Events

If you are interested in volunteering with the District, please call the District at 419-747-8685, fill out our application online, or download the application and return it to:

Richland Soil and Water Conservation District
C/O Community Relations Coordinator
1495 W. Longview Ave., Suite 205B
Mansfield, OH  44906

We hope you’ll consider joining our valued team of volunteers and appreciate your interest.

Volunteer Training

Precipitation Monitor Volunteer Training

Please join us for Precipitation Monitor Volunteer Orientation and Training February 27 at 2:00 p.m. If you enjoy keeping track of when it rains or snows, you’ll enjoy this volunteer opportunity. As a Precipitation Monitor you will measure and record rain and snowfall at your home or business. The data is used to gauge long-term trends in watershed health and land use practices. We’ll train you and provide the equipment; you just need access to the internet. Your data is shared with the public on the Water Data Map. This is a great citizen-science opportunity that doesn’t require a lot of time and provides valuable data. If you can attend the training, please register here or contact Theresa at

Lake Monitors

Take an active role in water quality. Record water quality data on Clear Fork, Charles Mill and Pleasant Hill Lakes. The data is used to document changes in lake conditions and the information will be used to assist with watershed management efforts.

Precipitation Monitors

Precipitation Monitors collect and record rain and snow fall at home or work. The data that you collect is vital to identifying geographic locations of rain fall and snow fall in respect to the watershed you are recording precipitation from. Our network of volunteer data shows the amount of surface water your watershed collects annually. This information is used to assist communities by estimating the amount of precipitation during an event that may cause flooding reactions to your receiving streams and rivers.

Stream Monitors

Stream Monitors collect data from designated streams from the stream banks in Richland County’s eight watersheds. We provide the equipment and training. Volunteers need access to the internet to post the data on our website. Quality data will be used to gauge long-terms trends in stream health. Download the Stream Monitor Volunteer Training.

Data Management

Data that is collected is entered into computer spreadsheets and software (Microsoft Excel, primarily) that is easily managed and shared.

Workshops and Events

The District hosts workshops, participates in community events and hosts special events such as a pond fish sale, high school land judging competition, and the annual celebration.


Take photos at Richland SWCD events and natural resource, conservation and agriculture photos throughout Richland County.

Donate or Sponsor

There are many ways that residents, businesses and local government support the mission of Richland Soil and Water Conservation District

  • Use conservation practices on residential, agricultural, commercial, or public property
  • Donate money, services, products, and time to support workshops, intern and volunteer programs, special events, community events, and the Annual Celebration
  • Volunteer with Richland Soil and Water Conservation District

All donations are tax-deductible and any donation, regardless of size, is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your support!

If you prefer to mail in your donation, checks should be made out to Richland SWCD and sent to:

Richland SWCD
1495 Longview Avenue, Suite 205B
Mansfield, OH 44906


Thank you for your interest in Richland Soil and Water Conservation District.

We are looking for someone to fill the role of District Director. Applications are requested by April 19. Please click here for details.


Internship opportunities vary based on the needs of the office. The Richland Soil and Water Conservation District offers internships for college students who have an interest in agriculture, natural resources, conservation and the environment. However, opportunities may exist not only for students who are studying a natural resources-related field, but students who are marketing, digital media, English, education majors and other majors, as well.

Current Internships Available

We’re hiring interns! Join us to gain real-life experience!

Learn more and apply for the Summer Communication Internship.

Backyard Conservation

Learn about some easy conservation practices you can incorporate at home.

Careers and Internships

Find out about job and internship opportunities.

Donate or Sponsor

Support local conservation efforts.

Volunteer Opportunities

Do you have a passion for conservation? Consider joining our valued team of volunteers!

Volunteer Portal

Already a volunteer? Log in here.