2017 Youth Conservation Camp Applications Available – Apply Now!


2017 Youth Conservation Camp-Apply Now!

The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District is offering scholarship(s) to a limited number of qualified applicant(s) within Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke to attend an expense paid, week-long conservation camp at Virginia Tech.  Camp dates are Sunday, July 9 through Saturday, July 15, 2017.  Soil and Water Conservation officials from the local, state and federal levels and Virginia Tech faculty members work together to conduct the camp.

Applicants must be in grades 9 through 12 of the 2016-2017 academic school year.  Twelfth graders who graduate from high school in May, June, July or August 2017 are eligible to attend.  Previous youth conservation campers cannot attend.  Please contact Kathy Smith, Program Manager/Education Coordinator at ksmith@brswcd.org or at (540) 483-5341 ext. 117 for a 2017 Youth Conservation Camp application along with a list of the 2017 “Camp Highlights”.  The 2017 Youth Conservation Camp applications are to be received by the Blue Ridge District office no later than by Friday, April 14, 2017 at the close of business at 4:30 p.m.

Click on this link to access the 2017 Camper Application_VASWCD and 2017 Camp Highlights

The scholarship winner(s) will be notified by the district as soon as possible.

Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee. Upon notification, the winner(s) will be required to send $75.00 to the Blue Ridge SWCD.  This $75 will be fully refunded upon completion of the camp and a brief report to the directors about their camp adventures.  Travel to and from the camp is the responsibility of the student.

All applications and information contained therein shall remain confidential. All programs and services of the Blue Ridge SWCD and the Virginia Association of Soil & Water conservation District’s Educational Foundation, Inc. are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, or disability.

Pictured above, Ciera Mulcahy from the City of Roanoke was the 2015 Youth Conservation Camp scholarship recipient. 2016 Youth Conservation Camp recipients (not pictured) included:  Logan Smith and Jacob Hodges both from Franklin County High School and Josh Pritchett from Magna Vista High School.

 

 

2017 Leo Painter Scholarship Applications Available-Apply NOW!

The Leo Painter Scholarship was a great financial blessing toward earning my degree in Urban & Environmental Planning with a minor in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia in 2002. ~Lindsay Quinn Finnegan, 1998 Leo Painter Scholarship Award recipient

Christa Lynn Madison from Roanoke County submitted her VASWCD Educational Foundation application.  Through this application process, she was awarded the $1,000 Leo Painter Scholarship from the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District.  Ms. Madison earned her Advanced Studies Diploma with a 4.09 GPA from Cave Spring High School.  She was active in the following school endeavors:  Key Club, Prevention Club, Green Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Spanish Club, National Honors Beta Club & Distributive Education Clubs of America.  She is currently a freshman at George Mason University working on a major in Environmental Science.

Click on this link to access the 2017 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application

Purpose: To promote the education of Virginia citizens in technical fields with natural resource conservation and environmental protection.To give financial support to students majoring in or showing a strong desire to major in a course curriculum related to natural resource conservation and/or environmental studies.

 Qualifications: Individual applicants must be full-time students enrolled in or who have applied to a college freshman level curriculum.  Applicants shall document a class ranking in the top 20% of his or her graduating class or a 3.0 or greater Grade Point Average or appropriate equivalent of individual scholastic achievement.  The applicant’s most recent official school transcript must accompany the application. A copy of a school transcript will not be accepted. Applicants shall demonstrate active interest in conservation.

Applications should be made from the county the student resides or attends school. Eligible applicants must reside or attend school within a local Soil and Water Conservation District.

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District serves the following locations:  Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke.

Amount Awarded: Four $1,000 scholarships will be given to statewide winners. Two scholarships are awarded on behalf of the VASWCD Education Foundation and two scholarships are awarded on behalf of the Virginia Chapter of the Soil & Water Conservation Society. A check will be issued directly to the selected institution of higher education on behalf of the student. 

To determine your local Soil & Water Conservation District visit http://vaswcd.org/districts-by-countycity

Deadlines:

 

Early 2017 Application and guidelines distributed to SWCD Offices
February 16, 2017 Deadline to submit application to the Blue Ridge SWCD Office (1297 State Street Rocky Mount, VA  24151) at close of business (4:30 p.m.) for those attending school in Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties or City of Roanoke.
March 24, 2017 District’s selected applicant with all supporting documentation must be received at the VASWCD Office
Early May, 2017 Scholarship award winners will be announced

 

Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s MWEE Gets Face Lift

Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s MWEE “face lift” along Powder Mill Creek is credited to the Pathfinders for Greenways under the direction of Greenways Coordinator Liz Belcher and Mid-Week Crew Director, Bill Gordge.  Since August 2016 the Mid-Week Crew has been diligently working to install best management practices designed to reduce erosion and sediment build-up along Powder Mill Creek located next to Benjamin Franklin Middle School. The strategic design includes a switch back reinforced with crusher run and stone, board walk, wooden bridge access, and relocating certain sections of the newly incorporated circular path.  Additional necessities of this MWEE project include an outdoor classroom complete with instructor podium and observation tables along the section of creek where the approximately 600 6th graders eagerly test the water quality and enjoy the natural beauty of Powder Mill Creek.

To read more about the Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s MWEE Program click on this link:2016-bfms-creek-week-franklin-news-post-review-oct-7th

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Nonpoint Source Success Story: Blackwater River

blackwater-riverAgricultural Best management Practices Improve Aquatic Life in the Blackwater River

 

High sediment loadings led to violations of the general standard for aquatic life use in Franklin County’s Blackwater River.  As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added two segments of the Lower Blackwater River to the 2008 Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters. Landowners installed agricultural best management practices (BMPs); these decreased edge-of-field sediment loading and helped improve water quality.  Because of this improvement, DEQ removed two segments of the Blackwater River from Virginia’s 2014 list of impaired waters for biological impairment.  To read more click on this link 2014-delisted-blackwater

Nonpoint Source Success Story: Big Chestnut Creek

big-chestnut-creekInstalling Residential and Agricultural Best Management Practices Reduces Bacteria in Big Chestnut Creek

High bacteria loadings led to violations of Virginia’s Water Quality Standard (WQS) for designated recreation (swimming) use in Big Chestnut Creek.  As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added the creek to its 2004 Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters.  From 2007 through 2012, stakeholders installed various agricultural and residential practices in the Big Chestnut Creek watershed that decreased nonpoint source runoff.  As a result, Virginia DEQ removed Big Chestnut Creek from its 2014 list of impaired waters based on attainment of the bacteria WQS. To read more click on this link 2014-delisted-bigchestnut

USDA Service Center Welcomes Research Scientists from China

2016 Chinese Engineer Visit at USDA Service CenterOn Tuesday, August 9, 2016 the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District and Farm Service Agency welcomed three research scientists from China with their area guide Dr.Dave Johnson. The Institute of Hydroecology is under the Ministry of Water Resources (central government), but is also a graduate degree-granting institute of the Chinese Academy of Science. The Institute focuses on both basic and applied research related to ecological and environmental issues resulting from water construction projects with the aim of supporting a sustainable development strategy in China. Since its founding in 1987, the institute has assessed the environmental effects of large hydro-projects such as the Three Gorges Project and the South-to-North Water Diversion project and carried out research on fishery resources in Chinese reservoirs and restoration of the water environment in reservoirs and lakes. Address: 578 Xiongchu Avenue, Wuhan, Hubei, China

  • Photo from left to right: Dr. Dave Johnson (Retired Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science at Ferrum College), Ms. Xiaojie Pan, Associate Professor and Research Scientist, Applied Ecology Department, Institute of Hydroecology (IHE, MWR & CAS) and she is an environmental biologist with a focus on ecological effects, distribution characteristics, occurrence mechanism, and control measurese for harmful algae,Tony Goff (Farm Service Agency Program Technician), Michael Tabor (Conservation Technician for Blue Ridge SWCD), Mr. Chengyan Wan; Professor, Research Scientist and Director of the Applied Ecology Department, Institute of Hydroecology (IHE, MWR & CAS) and is also Deputy Chief Engineer at IHE,  and Mr. Zhiwei Zheng, Senior Engineer at IHE,  Assistant Professor and Research Scientist, Applied Ecology Department, Institute of Hydroecology (IHE, MWR & CAS).

Goals of visit:

Support and enhance an on-going project in the Three Gorges region, Ecological restoration of Xiaojiang River, which includes:

  1. Evolution of the water environment and ecological mechanisms of algal blooms;
  2.  Construction technology for ecological protection zones;
  3.  Technology for improving riparian habitat;
  4. Pilot demonstration and key technology for fish enhancement and release to prevent and control algal blooms (bio-manipulation);
  5. Key technology research and demonstration for ecological restoration of the Hanfeng Lake wetland.
  • American researchers have always paid attention to the study and application of algal bloom control and ecological restoration, and achieved good results.
  • The objective of this visit is to exchange experiences and achievements on pollution control, eutrophication and algal bloom treatment, riparian zone and river corridor restoration, wetland protection and restoration, monitoring and evaluation of aquatic ecosystems with experts in order to learn additional techniques to support the project and lay the foundation for future research collaborations.
  • To view abstract click on this link:  Journal of Hydroecology abstract-Chinese visitors August 2016

Abbott Farms Hosts Educational Field Day

2016 July Carol David Rain Barrel Winner

2016 Abbott Farms EDU Field Day-Kabobs 2016 Abbott Farms EDU Field Day-networkinOn Saturday, July 23, 2016 at Abbott Farms, the community was invited to learn more about the farm’s community garden with the help of Virginia Cooperative Extension agents, Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach and the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District.

Blue Ridge SWCD’s  Program Manager/Education Coordinator, Kathy Smith demonstrated how to convert a 53 gallon food grade container into a functional rain water harvesting barrel.  For those interested in participating in the Blue Ridge SWCD Rain Barrel Drawing, names were collected in a bucket and the winning name was drawn out.  The recipient of the constructed Rain Barrel was Mrs. Carol David from Glade Hill, VA.  Congratulations!!!

Garden tips, demonstrations on how to cook fresh produce and sampling the finished prepared products were a mouth watering treat.

“When you have to go out and plant plants and weed a garden and pick produce in 90 something degree weather you really appreciate what you get on your plate and how much work goes into it and I think that’s important for people to see,” Clinton Carty from Virginia State University said.

The community garden on Abbot Farms is open to the public. Volunteers pick produce every Monday and Thursday morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. with all of the produce going to local food banks.

To view the day’s events on Ytube of the Abbott Farms Educational Field Day visit:   http://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Abbott-Farms-in-Rocky-Mount-hosts-educational-field-day-388035682.html

Best Management Practice Applications Now Being Accepted for 2016-2017

DSC02091.jpg             The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District located at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA is currently accepting applications for assistance with installation of agricultural best management practices that are designed to conserve soil and protect water quality.

July 1, 2016 began our new fiscal year and agriculture producers who are considering signing up for assistance this year are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.  Since funding is limited, all practices must be signed-up prior to implementation and are subject to prioritized ranking for approval. 2016-2017 Cost-Share applications will be accepted through close of business on Friday, September 2, 2016.  Many of the eligible conservation practices can be combined with other conservation programs offered by USDA. If cost-share is still available after this first sign-up round, a second sign-up round of cost-share may be offered at a later date.  The following is a list of some of the practices available for cost share, however, it is not an exhaustive list.

 

  • Reforestation of Erodible Crop Land & Pasture Land
  • Grazing Land Protection (stream exclusion, water fountains, well, pipeline and fencing)
  • Harvestable Cover Crop
  • Non-Harvestable Cover Crop
  • Continuous No-Till
  • Animal Waste Control Facility
  • Nutrient management Plan Writing
  • Split Application of Nitrogen on Corn using Pre-Sidedress Nitrate Test
  • Late Winter Split Application of Nitrogen on Small Grains
  • Riparian Vegetative or Forested Buffers

 

For more information regarding water quality and erosion control best management practices, please contact P.W. Morgan (Senior Conservation Specialist) at (540) 483-5341 ext. 115 or Michael Tabor (Conservation Technician) at (540) 483-5341 ext. 122.