PARIS – Ernest and Alberta Angevine of Bethel and the Bear Pond Improvement Association received Cooperator of the Year awards at the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual meeting in April. Terri Marin, an Oxford resident, of the Kid’s Consortium, was presented the Educator of the Year Award.

The cooperator’s award recognizes landowners who have made an outstanding commitment to conservation on their land. The educator’s award recognizes an outstanding commitment to educating people about the importance of conservation issues.

The Angevines have owned their forest and farmland since 1946. They have displayed a commitment to responsible land management in all phases of their operation, said district staff.

They are members of the tree farm program in which they received the Oxford County Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Award in 1992 and again in 2003. The Angevines were the first landowners in Oxford County to participate in the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program through the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

They have been longtime promoters of environmental education, using their property as a learning area for local students, guided by their daughter and elementary school teacher Judy Coolidge. The children learn about tree and wild flower identification, animal signs and pond life.

The Angevines also recently donated a five-acre parcel to the town of Bethel to be used as a swimming pond site and day use recreational area.

Bear Pond Improvement Association was founded in 1958 and has been in charge of maintaining and operating the dam at Bear Pond, testing and monitoring the water quality, educating residents about lake ecology and threats to water quality, along with safeguarding the pond’s wildlife and environment.

The association consists of nearly 200 member families whose purpose is to oversee the well-being of Big Bear and Little Bear Ponds and the surrounding watershed in Turner and Hartford.

Their goals are to maintain the health and beauty of Bear Pond for the benefit of all human and wildlife residents. In 2004, the association continued participation in the implementation phase of a project in the Bear Pond watershed, sponsored by the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District.

They have given of their time and energy, not only serving as members of the project steering committee, but also in developing on-the-ground fixes, including a buffer planting at the Turner Town Beach and the placement of culverts and ditching on Bear Mountain Road.

Terri Marin has always had an interest in conservation. In 1996 she initiated a newsletter and educational awareness sessions to help form the Green and Mirror Ponds Association.

She organized a water quality base line testing that same year for both ponds. It became the first data to be documented and recorded at the state level on these ponds. In 1997 she was trained to become the first volunteer lake monitor on both ponds, a job that she still continues to perform.

She has accomplished much in the Green/Mirror Pond watershed, including installing hay bale barriers on erosion sites, implementing a watershed survey and receiving a grant to complete an erosion control project on Mirror Pond.

In 2004, she organized students from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School to implement a service-learning erosion control project on the Old County Road in Oxford.

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