Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District

Welcome to Polk County

Board members being sworn in 2017

Board Members Swearing in Ceremony in 2019

2018 State land judging logo in Polk County

About Polk SWCD

Our Purpose

To provide education, awareness, and services for soil and water conservation, and proper utilization of natural resources in agricultural, urban, suburban and rural areas of Polk County.

MEETINGS are held bi-monthly from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month in Polk County.  Locations are publicized one to two weeks prior to the meeting.

NEXT REGULAR MEETING is September 17th 2019  at 4:00 pm. The location is at the Polk State, Lakeland Campus – 3425 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, Florida 33803

K-1st  Amelia Pettet,  Winter Haven Christian
2nd-3rd Maddie Fountain, Winter Haven Christian
4th-5th  Bradley Giannelli, Citrus Ridge
7th-9th  Valveria Grillezeau, Citrus Ridge
10th-12th  Cassie Waters, Bartow HS
(The winners will advance to the area contest.) 

Middle School – Citrus Ridge
High School – George Jenkins

SPEECH CONTEST to be held April 29th.




Water Conservation 

The future is now and water is one of the most precious natural resources on the earth for life, health,and welfare.

Here at Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, we are trying to conserve water in each project that we are involved in. We also are involved in education of water for improving better water quality in Polk County.

PDF of Water Conservation and why? 

Soil Conservation 

Soil conservation is important because it saves the soil through harsh weather and stops erosion.   Preventing of soil loss from erosion or reduced fertility caused by over usage, acidification, salinization or other chemical soil contamination.

Here at Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, we are trying to conserve soil in projects that we are involved in. We also are involved in education of  soil BMP’s for improving better agriculture  in Polk County.



Joe Garrison– Chairman
E-mail : jgarrison.pcswcb@gmail.com 

Drew Pitts – BMP Technician
E-mail : Drew.Pitts@FreshFromFlorida.com

Polk Soil and Water Conservation District
1700 US Highway 17 South, Suite #2
Bartow, FL 33830-6654

Mobile # 850-901-4644

Board Members

Joe Garrison – Chairman
Kyle Carlton – Vice Chair
Daniel Lanier – Secretary/Treasurer
Brett Upthagrove – Supervisor
Dr. Sharon Kay Masters – Supervisor

What We Do

Established by the Florida Legislature, the Polk Soil & Water Conservation District, a governmental subdivision of the State of Florida, was established October 9, 1950 under Florida Statutes 582 by local residents for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the wise use, management and general conservation of the County’s soil, water and related natural resources.

The District is committed to preserving and enhancing the quality of life in Polk County through conservation of its natural resources.

The Polk Soil & Water Conservation District works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) creating ways to conserve water, prevent soil erosion, convert irrigation systems and inform the public about conservation problems.

A Code of Ethics has been adopted by the district.  For Code of Ethics Information. View Code of Ethics Here.

The Polk SWCD operates under Florida Statutes 582 under the Florida Legislature.


No creation document is on file. The first meeting was held on October 25, 1944, in which it is referred to Polk Soil Conservation District in the meeting notes. No records were found indicating a name change, however, the Florida Department of State currently refers to it as Polk Soil and Water Conservation District. 

A vote of landowners to establish the District was scheduled for December 5, 1944 (November 6, 1944 Meeting Notes). There are no recorded results in the Meeting Notes.

Service Area

The Polk Soil and Water Conservation District serves all of Polk County in the area of the conservation and stewardship of our natural resources.

Services Provided

  • Assist land owners in their efforts to secure financial assistance through Farm Bill Programs to implement conservation practices
  • Conservation education, programs and information
  • Assist growers with development of low volume irrigation systems
  • Develop and update irrigation water management plans
  • Soil surveys and historical maps
  • Local government advice and assistance
  • Youth education
  • Invasive plant control
  • Upcoming application deadline for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) FY2019 funding.
  • Assistance Helps Ag Producers Conserve Natural Resources

Educational Programs

The Polk Soil and Water Conservation District sponsors a number of programs that serve the Polk County communities. Through community support and fundraising efforts, the district is working to build the number of services we are able to offer.

The annual Envirothon, Poster & Speech Contest and Land Judging are some of the educational programs with which we are currently involved.

If you are interested in volunteering for any of these programs, in having a district supervisor work with you on a project or in offering your support for our work, please contact:

The 2018 theme for youth education is Watersheds…Our Home, Our Water:

PDF of Presentation on Watersheds 

The 2019 theme for youth education is: Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper

Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper….  Soil is a dirty topic, but everyone needs to learn more about it! Soil is the foundation for many of the items we use in our daily life, such as food, clothing, clean water, homes and more. Healthy soil equals healthy food, which equals a healthy you. Don’t treat your soil like dirt!


The Regional Envirothon is a problem-solving, natural resource education program for high school students. It is a unique outdoor competition that requires teamwork and the application of knowledge in the five areas listed below:

  • Aquatics – water ecology, water chemistry, water quality, and aquatic life.
  • Current Environmental Issues – annually selected topics such as energy sources, ground water, Gulf of Mexico environmental concerns or other current issues.
  • 2016 Topic is Invasive Species
  • Forestry – tree identification, tree ecology, insects, and timber.
  • Soils – classification, formation, soil properties, profiles, and site suitability.
  • Wildlife – habitat, identification, food, disease, and management.

Each team consists of five students. Schools can enter more than one team, but no more than six teams. The five-member teams are led by an advisor in studying prepared resource materials in the five areas including a selected current environmental issue.

Schools can enter more than one team, but no more than six teams. During the competition, the students will rotate to the five testing stations.

Poster Contest

The annual National Conservation Poster Contest provides kindergarten through twelfth grade students an opportunity to convey their thoughts about soil, water and related natural resource issues through art. It also highlights the educational outreach efforts of conservation districts and their state conservation associations, auxiliaries and agencies. The poster contest theme follows the annual Stewardship theme. The contest is co-sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts and the NACD Auxiliary.

Each year, the poster contest starts at the district level. Individuals and teachers with questions regarding district contests should contact their local district. To locate your local district search our state directory. District winners advance to the state level. For questions regarding state competitions, districts should contact their state association. Finally, state winners advance to the National Contest. National winners are recognized each year at the NACD Annual Meeting.

**PLEASE NOTE: Check your state poster contest sponsoring group to determine deadline and theme topic and correct poster size. Each state coordinates their own contest. Posters must follow your state’s guidelines to be eligible for the national contest.

Go here for more information.

Speech Contest

Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District sponsors an annual speech contest, which is designed to develop leadership and stimulate interest in conserving natural resources.

Check back for more details coming soon.

Land Judging

Land Judging is an exciting 4-H and FFA contest in which Middle and High School students in observe and interpret the soil in order to make wise land use decisions.

The skills the teens use at the contest involve principles that can be valuable in career fields like environmental and agricultural management, natural resources conservation, home building, engineering, and construction. Students can compete at the local, state, and national levels.

The Polk Soil & Water Conservation Districts host local middle and high school students in FFA and 4-H to test their knowledge by judging soils from four pits that are selected by a Soil Scientist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In each class (Middle 4-H, High 4-H, Middle FFA, High FFA) the local county winner may compete at the state contest in that respective class.

Top placing teams in the state contest are eligible to compete at the National Land Judging Contest held at the end of April.

April 2018 the PCSWD successful hosted the Florida State Land judging contest in Polk County at the FFA Leadership training center.


Budget Information


The District’s fiscal year runs from October 1st through September 30th annually.

To view the District’s annual financial report visit the Department of Financial Services:

This includes the final, complete audit report for the most recent completed fiscal year ending September 30.

Meeting Minutes

The PCSWCD District’s meetings are held bi-monthly, usually on the third Tuesday of the month..

To view the District’s meeting minutes report click the links below:

           2017                                                                     2018                                              2019

January 2017 meeting                                       January 2018 meeting                 January 2019 Meeting

March 2017 meeting                                           March 2018 meeting                    March 2019 Minutes

April 2017 meeting                                               April 2018 meeting                      May 2019 Meeting 

April 2017 Workshop                                           May  2018 meeting                      July 2019 Minutes

June 2017 meeting                                              June 2018 meeting

July 2017 meeting                                               July 2018 meeting

August 2017 meeting                                         August 2018 meeting

September 2017 meeting                                 September 2018 meeting 

October 2017 meeting

November 2017 meeting

December 2017 meeting





Get in Touch!

Polk Soil and Water Conservation District
1700 US Highway 17 South, Suite #2
Bartow, FL 33830-6654
E-mail:      jgarrison.pcswcb@gmail.com 

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