The Dubois County Soil & Water Conservation District was officially established on September 19th, 1945 with the first year of official duties being completed in 1946.
Aubree Pond started as the Executive Director in April 2023. As Executive Director, Pond oversees the operations of the Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District and is responsible for all projects and programs. She serves as the County Department head, supports the SWCD Supervisors in carrying out the program in accordance with state regulations and supervises the SWCD staff. Pond is excited about the opportunity to serve the Dubois County Community as the Executive Director of the Dubois County SWCD.
Justin Bary has been the Resource Specialist at the Dubois County Soil & Water Conservation District since January 2017. He provides technical assistance to landowners in the county, taking into account their resource concerns while discussing best management practices. Bary oversees the implementation of grants providing cost share for cover crops and livestock production. He is in charge of completing plan reviews and monitoring construction sites in the county under the Construction Stormwater general permit. Through a contribution agreement with NRCS, Bary completes all CRP re-enrolls and status reviews (site visit and paperwork) and also assist NRCS with various site visits as well as some survey work.
Bary graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in General Agriculture with a concentration in Agronomy Soil Science from Western Kentucky University in 2016. He lives in Milltown with his wife and is currently in the process of taking over the diversified family farm he grew up on. They raise corn, hay, cattle and various produce to sell at their roadside farm market. He is a big proponent of cover crop usage and reduced/no-till systems.
Melissa Ruschau began as a part time project technician with the district in August of 2016. She now serves as a resource specialist focusing on soil health. Ruschau coordinates the operations of the Land Stewardship Initiative (a 50 acre farm located on Vincennes University Jasper Campus). She coordinates technical tours, workshops and programs for individuals interested in improving soil, water and other natural resources. Ruschau coordinates much of the demonstration and educational outreach for the district both in local schools and for local landowners. Area teachers can request presentations on a variety of topics and landowners can request soil testing and on site soil health evaluations.
Growing up on the shores of Lake Erie, Ruschau developed a passion about water quality issues and is involved with the Indiana State Envirothon.
Ruschau received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Biology from Wittenberg University. She is the current President of the Patoka Valley Quilters Guild, a Girl Scout leader and a band mom. In her free time, she enjoys quilting, hiking and camping with her family.
Invasive Species Specialist
Emily Finch has served as the Invasive Species Specialist for the Dubois, Daviess, and Martin County Soil and Water Conservation Districts though funding from a Clean Water Indiana Grant since February 2019. Her main office is in Jasper, but she works throughout the three counties providing invasive species education/outreach and technical assistance to landowners. She coordinates two local invasive species partnerships, the Invasive Species Awareness Coalition of Dubois County, and the Daviess-Martin CISMA (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area), and also sits on the board of the Midwest Invasive Plant Network.
Finch is a recent Indiana resident, moving here in 2016 from Wisconsin, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science from Northland College. She lives near Patoka Lake with her husband Brian and their two dogs, Copper and Scout. When not at work, Emily enjoys baking, gardening, and taking long walks with the dogs.
While invasive species can feel overwhelming, Finch remains optimistic, and encourages landowners to plan and prioritize when it comes to invasive control. “Tackling everything at once usually isn’t an option, but whatever your resources, there is always something that landowners can do when it comes to addressing invasive plants.”
Veronica Helming has been the administrative assistant at the Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District since May 2023. As the administrative assistant, Helming reconciles financial reports, assists producers with equipment rental and ensures that files are up to date. She processes correspondence and ensures that inquiries are handled accordingly. If she doesn’t know the answer she will get you to the person that does. Helming maintains the SWCD website, prepares quarterly newsletters and assists with creating educational displays for local events. In addition to her duties with the SWCD, she also assists the NRCS District Conservationist with administrative functions in the office.
Board of Supervisors
We welcome your involvement! Work with us to develop and present programs for local landowners and elected officials. Help us put conservation on the land, and promote urban and agricultural best management practice (BMPs) Join us as we plan field days, fundraisers, develop youth and adult education events, or survey conservation practices.