NEWBERRY — The Newberry Soil and Water Conservation District has a new district coordinator, and his name is Joseph Berry. Many may already know Berry, as he has lived in the City of Newberry since he was two years old.
Berry heard about the position, and after doing some research decided it would be right up his alley. The position involves providing education and outreach programs to public and private schools about conservation related subjects, as well as providing daily assistance to local residents through receiving requests at the Conservation District Office, amongst other responsibilities.
“Right now I wanna learn what programs Danielle does monthly. I know the big ones, like Camp Conservation. I went to that as a kid, I loved it,” he said.
Berry said he is looking forward to doing educational programs for the District. He said that being a product of some of those programs and learning about the history of Newberry agriculture was interesting to him, and he learned a lot of that history from programs put on by the NSWCD.
“Kinda pass that forward and educate, not only future kids, but adults as they come, something I’m really looking forward to,” Berry said.
Berry would also like to raise awareness about who is affected by the District.
“As it was put to me, anyone who owns land or uses water should be a part of this group, and a lot of times it gets pushed to the farmers because they have a vested interest. Overall, it affects everyone’s life. So bringing awareness to everyone, and let them know we are doing some really good work here,” he said.
Berry is also looking forward to doing programs in schools, going into the classrooms.
“That is what I picture when I think of this job out in the field, showing what agriculture looks like in this county,” he said.
The 24 year old Berry is a product of Newberry, he graduated from Newberry High School in 2011, and went on to attend Anderson University for a year.
“I was looking for a small college, growing up in Newberry I didn’t want to get too much out of my element. At the time I thought I wanted to do math education, and they (Anderson) had a pretty good program,” he said. “I then decided it wasn’t for me, so I transferred to the University of South Carolina Aiken.”
While attending USC Aiken, Berry majored in communications and got his secondary study in educational leadership. During his time at Aiken, Berry joined Lambda Chi Alpha, where he took on multiple leadership roles, including being the Chapter’s president.
“We had a pretty small chapter, so I had my hands in all the pots,” he said.
During his time at USC Aiken, Berry worked as a student coordinator for Community Service, which he says was a lot of fun.
“I put on community service programming in the Aiken community for students to learn how to impact their community,” he said.
Right after he graduated in December 2015 Berry went right back to work for USC Aiken, helping with event planing in the Donor and Advancement Office.
“I was kinda buying my time, I knew I was applying for a job that I really wanted, so I bought my time for a while. In June (2016) I began working for the headquarters for the fraternity as an educational leadership consultant,” Berry said. “The big part of the job was travel from chapter to chapter and do operational audits, check ins to make sure things are still going well, and how we can make them better. Part of my goal was to elevate my chapters, pushing them a little bit forward.”
Berry stayed in that position for about a year, and then he decided to come back to Newberry. Once he returned home, he began working with a couple of programs in Newberry, like the Ag Expo.
“My mom has been on the board for a few years, I took over the marketing and PR side and all the social media posts, a lot of the logistics as well,” he said. “Overall we had a good event.”
Berry also joined the Newberry Jaycees, an organization he grew up around as his parents, Denise and Russell Berry, were members.
“I started helping them out and going to a few meetings, and then after a few meetings they were like, ‘hey we have to do elections, do you want to be president?’ and I decided to do it,” he said. “We are looking to rebuild that and it is really fun, I’m excited for the future of the Jaycees.”
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.