Hull appointed director of Branch County Conservation District

Cortni Hull is the new branch county conservation district superintendent after temporary managers took over the position in 2021. There has been a turnover at work in recent years.

Shell. 26, a Jonesville native, said: “This is a dream job. I’m here. I’ll be here for a very long time. I used to work at GreenStone Farm Credit Services. I was there for about four years and I was able to come to the conservation district.”

Heavily involved in FFA growing up, “I’ve always had a passion for making a positive impact on agriculture in the environment. This job came along, and it was just a perfect fit. I can’t wait to build the district more and to be really able to help the community.”

Michigan has 75 conservation districts that are local providers of natural resource management services. The goal is to conserve lands and waterways so that the environment can be a cleaner, healthier and economically stronger place in which to live, work and grow for our community.

Hull is one of four state employees and one federal employee in the Willowbrook office north of Gander RV. The goals and objectives are to provide environmental education, wildlife habitat development, and surface and ground water protection for Branch County.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development awarded a series of grants totaling $185,000 to operate the office for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

These fund the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Conservation Technical Assistance Initiative, Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, and Watershed Management .

The office also operates an agricultural biologist and hunting access program, which leases private land to open it up to public hunting.

The office was closed under the federal COVID-19 restriction, but is now reopened.

“We help farmers with their soil health, to make sure they’re treating the soil properly, creating a good crop for themselves. It creates that good balance,” Hull said.

In addition to working with farmers, the district is working with landowners to provide pollinator habitat and introduce more grasslands to the state.

“Michigan actually needs a lot more grassland because so much of our land has been turned over to agriculture,” Hull said. “We’re looking to help promote the environment and create beautiful habitat, a great thing for conservation.”

Prior to COVID-19, there was an annual tree sale in the Conservation District to promote the addition of trees to the landscape. Hull said it was impossible to order trees for 2022, but the program will return next spring.

“We are trying to seek out new grant opportunities, that way we can give back to the community and improve the environment throughout Branch County,” she said.

Daniel E. Murphy