There’s a new sign in town

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Motorists entering Buckingham or Cumberland County from some of the most-traveled points of entry may have noticed a sign indicating they are “Entering Peter Francisco Soil & Water Conservation District.” What does this mean and why are these signs here?

James F. McDaniel Jr., who began serving on the Peter Francisco SWCD Board in 1992 and was elected its treasurer in 2001, came up with the idea of posting road signs at major points of entry for Buckingham and Cumberland to raise awareness about the District. At the Board’s direction, the District staff got busy and had 10 signs made using the new logo.

McDaniel just celebrated his 93rd birthday and is serving out his final term as a Director and Treasurer. After its March 2023 Board meeting, a group of the District Directors and staff members, including McDaniel, took time for a photo op with one of the newly installed signs.

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The Peter Francisco Soil and Water Conservation District is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is responsible under State Law for soil and water conservation work within the boundaries of Buckingham and Cumberland Counties. The District’s purpose is to encourage and initiate land use practices that help improve water quality and reduce soil erosion as well as educating the community in protecting our natural resources.

Soil conservation is not something new or recently considered. In the mid-1930’s after the Dust Bowl crisis, Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote to the governor of each state recommending legislation to establish soil and water conservation districts to prevent the loss of valuable soil resources. The President’s letter expressed this concern: “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.” Soil Conservation District laws were passed in all states to provide local leadership for soil conservation programs.

In 1999, the Peter Francisco Soil and Water Conservation District (the District) held a “design our logo” contest for students from Buckingham and Cumberland County. Joanna Baldwin, a student from Cumberland High School, designed the winning logo and was awarded $100 for her submission.

For more information on the District visit: https://www.peterfranciscoswcd. org/.