2015 Winter Rain Barrel & Tumbler-Style Compost Workshop Schedule

March 2013 Rain Barrel Workshop
2014 Compost -Fox 2127 Becky-Allen

Join us for a “barrel of fun” by participating in one of our 2015 winter  Rain Barrel or Tumbler-style Compost Workshops.  Register on-line today through the Franklin County Parks and Recreation Department (2150 Sontag Road, Rocky Mount, VA  24151- 540-483-9293) at www.franklincountyva.org/parks

2015 Rain Barrel Flyer Feb-April-FCP&R 2015 Compost Flyer-Feb to April

2015 Poster Contest

2015 PollinatorsThe annual 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 NACD Stewardship theme.
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 online SWCD Directory or contact the VASWCD. District winners advance to the state level. Local SWCDs should forward their local winning poster entries to the VASWCD office for consideration at the state level. Local SWCDs need to submit these poster winners to the VASWCD for consideration by October 23, 2015. Finally, state winners advance to the National Contest. National winners are recognized each year at the NACD Annual Meeting.
2015 Contest Theme
Local Heroes-Your Hardworking Pollinators
Poster Categories by Grade:
 K-1
 2-3
 4-6
 7-9
 10-12
The contest is open to public, private or home school students, girl scout/boy scout troops, etc.
For additional information such as rules and resources, district organizers, prizes etc. visit the following sites: http://www.vaswcd.org/poster-contest and/or http://www.nacdnet.ag/eduction/contests/local-and-state2015. 2015-Pollinator_Resources_NACD1 and 2015_NACD_Poster_Contest_Rules

Blue Ridge SWCD Educates Youth at FC Ag Fair!

Blue Ridge SWCD Educates Youth at FC Ag Fair!

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District was one of many educational outreach exhibits at the 2014 Franklin County Agriculture Fair, which featured “Dig Deeper: Mysteries in the Soil”. Within a three day span (September 10-12), all of Franklin County’s first, third and fifth grades (1,600 students) along with their teachers and volunteers came out to listen, learn and laugh.

At the district booth, root boxes were displayed to show the importance of deep rooted plants such as field rye and annual rye and the role they play in cover crops and no till planting, unlocking the mystery of reducing soil erosion rates.

As the worms (“red wigglers”) passed by, students had the option of touching them.  They had to be quick at touching them before the worms rapidly headed downward into the rich soil. Severalstudents expressed their “taste” for worms as “yuk”, others said, “way cool”. Once the students were instructed on the many important ways worms enrich and benefit the soil, another soil mystery was solved.

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Digging deeper into our soil lesson, the students were taught how the soil benefits from composting such as:  Adds vigor to your lawn and garden, retains moisture, resists drought, helps loosen heavy clay soils, increases living organisms, adds nutrients and conditions, and keeps methane-producing organic materials out of landfills. They also became aware that since cows are herbivores, cow manure makes an outstanding fertilizer that can be composted as well.

For the grand finale’, students lined up in two rows facing a tumbler-style composter for a chance to toss the birdseed felt “cow pie” into the mouth of the composter.  Many students tossed a hole in one and all were eager to try their hand again at composting another “cow pie”.

During each outreach session, the teachers and volunteers with each group were invited to participate in a drawing by completing an entry ticket from the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District for a chance to win a fully constructed Rain Barrel.  The drawing took place on September 22, 2014 at the Blue Ridge SWCD’s monthly board meeting.  Out of a total of 137 entries, the district’s 2014 Youth Conservation Camper, Elizabeth Williams, drew out the winning entry ticket.  Cynthia Miller, a first grade teacher at Windy Gap Elementary School was the lucky winner of the Rain Barrel prize (worth $50).  Mrs. Miller has been teaching at this elementary school for the past five years. Over the past few years her interest in conserving natural resources has grown. According to Mrs. Miller, “I realize the importance of using what comes from the earth and utilizing it to its’ full capacity by reducing, reusing and recycling our natural resources.”  Congratulations, Mrs. Miller and a special “thank you” to all of the teachers and volunteers who participated in this special drawing! (Pictured above is Cynthia Miller, winner of the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District’s “Rain Barrel” drawing).

BMP Applications Now Being Accepted for 2014-2015

P.W.The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation district is currently accepting applications for assistance with installation of agricultural best management practices (BMP) that are designed to conserve soil and protect water quality.

The new fiscal year began July1, 2014, and agriculture producers who are considering signing up for assistance this year are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. All practices must be approved prior to implementation and are subject to prioritized ranking for approval.

Cover Crop applications must be submitted no later than Friday, August 29th.

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 2014-2015 Agriculture cost-share allocation has been revised to include 100 percent cost-share for Grazing Land Protection (SL-6); however, note below is not a comprehensive listing of available practices:

Reforestation of Erodible Crop & Pasture: (FR-1)
Grazing Land Management (SL-9)
Grazing Land Protection (SL-6): stream exclusion, water fountains, well, pipeline and fencing
Harvestable Cover Crop (SL-8H): $20/acre and requires a Nutrient Management Plan
Non-Harvestable Cover Crop (SL-8B): $15-$48/acre and requires a Nutrient Management Plan
Continuous No-Till: (SL-15A, SL-15B & CCI-CNT)
Nutrient Management (certain practices): NM-3C, NM-4 & NM-1A
Riparian Vegetative Buffers: (FR-3, WQ-1 & SL-7)

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.