2019 Dominion Envirothon: “Agriculture and the Environment: Knowledge & Technology to Feed the World”

Envirothon is a hand-on environmental problem-solving competition for high school students.  Teams are tested in five areas.  #1 Environmental Issues:  Students are tested on a current environmental issue with an in-field test and oral presentation.  Students present their solutions , to be judged, to a panel of professionals.  #2 Aquatics: Students work along marine and freshwater biologists to assess the quality of delicate aquatic ecosystems.  Students learn to identify aquatic organisms, manage watershed and determine non-point source pollution.  #3 Soils:  Professional soil scientists help sutdetns learn about soil structure, interpret maps, evaluate land forms, and understand soil characteristics that affect both agriculture and urban development.

How to form a team:

Teams consist of at least 5 members and must be in grades 9-12.  FFA, 4-H, home school and scout groups are also eligible. Coaches may be a teacher, coach, or enthusiastic adult willing to help.

Win Scholarships & Prizes

Winners compete at local, regional, and state competitions.  First place state winners go on to the national level to compete for scholarship money and prizes.

Why Should You Participate?

Learn about important environmental issues*Gain hands-on experience in solving real-world problems*Great for college and job applications*Spend time with teammates and friends*Possibly travel across the country to the North American Envirothon for a chance to win scholarships and prizes!

For More Information

on forming an Envirothon Team within the Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and City of Roanoke areas contact Kathy Smith at (540) 483-5341 ext. 117 * Ksmith@brswcd.org or Bonnie Mahl at Bonnie.mahl@vaswcd.org (804) 559-0324 at the VASWCD office.  Click below to download the upcoming 2019 Area V Envirothon Workshop and this year’s Envirothon Oral Presentation Question:

2019 Environmental Education Scholarship Opportunity-Apply Now

2019 Environmental Education Scholarship Opportunity-Apply Now

The Blue Ridge SWCD is offering high school seniors and college freshmen (residing in Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke) who are planning a career in natural resource conservation or a related field the opportunity to apply for the Leo Painter College Scholarship up to $1,000.00. The award winning application of this local scholarship (Leo Painter Scholarship) will be submitted to the 2019 VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc. Scholarship Awards Program for an opportunity to be awarded an additional $1,000 scholarship out of the a total of four $1,000 scholarships available state wide (through the VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc.). To apply for this college scholarship opportunity, promoting the education of Virginia citizens in technical fields with natural resource conservation and environmental protection, contact Kathy B. Smith (Program Manager/Education Coordinator) at (540) 483-5341 ext. 117 or at KSmith@brswcd.org for a copy of the 2019 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application form. Each qualified student is asked to complete 2019 Scholarship application and submit it to the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA 24151 no later than Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at the close of business. 2019 Prospective scholarship candidates – Individual applicants must be full-time college freshmen or students 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 high school transcript must accompany the application. A copy of a school transcript will not be accepted. Applicants shall demonstrate active interest in conservation. Applicants who were high school seniors in 2018 to apply again in 2019 as scholarship guidelines allow those “enrolled in a freshman college curriculum or applying to a college freshmen level curriculum” to be considered. Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee. 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. All submitted paperwork is confidential and becomes the property of the VASWCDEF Inc.   Download 2019 VASWCD Education Scholarship application and guidelines below:

2018 Stream Side Trees In the Classroom

Streamside Trees in the Classroom (STIC) is an environmental education program that allows students to learn about water quality and the importance of streamside vegetation.  The program was created in 2012 as a partnership between Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at Philpott Lake.  The program serves Martinsville City, Franklin county, Henry County (Magna Vista High School), and Patrick County Public Schools, specifically targeting 4th grade students.  This aligns with the Every Kid in a Park Initiative that USACE also works with.

The program has been funded through grants, but most recently supported through donations. The Army Corps of Engineers covers the cost of the trees.  Therefore, no cost to the schools aside from mileage/bus costs to get to the planting location.

In the STIC program students root native Black Willow cuttings in the classroom for about three to four weeks and then take a field trip to Philpott Lake, or an approved location, and plant the trees along a creek or area that is in need of streamside restoration.  Trees along streams help keep water clean by buffering out pollution like chemicals and litter, and help keep the streams at cooler temperatures during the summer.  The trees also provide habitat for wildlife seeking food or water, and shelter.

The trees are delivered to the classrooms late August or early September and are typically planted in the fall on specific “Planting Days”.  When the trees are delivered to the schools, USACE or DRBA typically provides a 20-30 minute presentation for the students.  And, we usually have five Planting Days for the program – one for Patrick County schools, one for Martinsville City schools, and three for Franklin County schools.

Any materials needed for the program such as cost of trees, jars, and tubs to hold the trees will be covered through donations.  Jars and tubs are used to transport the trees to the designated Planting Day locations and then returned to USACE to be used for the following school year.

Planting Days usually last from 9:45 am – 1:30 pm, but some schools may need to leave early in the afternoon to return to school for dismissal.  We usually have partner organization that are natural resource focused like Reynolds Homestead, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency take part in providing activities and/or educational booths for the students during their Planting Days.  During October 2018 Planting Days, 500 students participated by planting approximately 200 trees.

Reynolds Homestead – https://photos.app.goo.gl/VHs82gNhrLRXRCno9

Booker T Washington – https://photos.app.goo.gl/PtjvRsnAU49yA9Lu6

Martinsville Dick & Willie – https://photos.app.goo.gl/CJmGg4qm4r2Wsrdw7

Salthouse Branch – https://photos.app.goo.gl/2esV2u5yXRxmERF16

 

Springtime Snow Dance

On behalf of the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Marketing Committee and the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District we would like to Congratulate Sarah Baumgardner on her photo Springtime Snow Dance”as being chosen as Honorable Mentioned in the 2018 VASWCD photo contest. Over 180 photos were submitted for the 2018 contest. “Springtime Snow Dance” was photographed by Sarah Baumgardner within the Mountain Castle SWCD area.

 

At 8:00 AM Wednesday September 26, voting will begin on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Virginia-Association-of-Soil-Water-Conservation-Districts-VASWCD-184156224952486/, to choose the People’s Choice award.  “Springtime Snow Dance” along with 9 others is in the running for this award so please ask all your friends and family to like our page and vote for your favorite photo!

 

We encourage you to submit your 2019 winning photo to the National Association of Conservation Districts Photo Contest.  More information about the contest can be found here- /http://www.nacdnet.org/general-resources/stewardship-and-education-materials/contests/  The deadline for submitting photos is Dec. 1st, 2018.

 

 

2019 NACD/VASWCD Poster Contest for Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties & City of Roanoke (Blue Ridge SWCD)

2019 NACD/VASWCD Poster Contest for Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties & City of Roanoke (Blue Ridge SWCD)

The 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. Blue Ridge SWCD (serving Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke) will need to submit these poster winners to the VASWCD for consideration by October 19, 2019. Finally, state winners advance to the National Contest. National winners are recognized each year at the NACD Annual Meeting.

The deadline to submit your 2019 NACD/VASWCD post contest entry to the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District (1297 State Street*Rocky Mount*VA*24151 –  (540) 483-5341 ext. 117)  no later than Monday, September 9, 2019 at the close of business (4:30 pm)

Any Girl Scout  or Boy Scout who creates a poster and submits it to their local SWCD for judging can earn the VASWCD Poster Contest Patch.  When submitting a poster to earn the Poster Contest Patch, be sure to check the box on the entry form. For more information about the VASWCD Poster Contest Patch check out our click on the patch or check out our  Scout Patch Program

2019 Contest Theme

Life In The Soil: Dig Deeper

Poster Categories by Grade:

  • K-1st
  • 2nd-3rd
  • 4th-6th
  • 7th-9th
  • 10th-12th

The contest is open to public, private or home school students, girl scout/boy scout troops, etc.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT (official rules, recommended tips for a successful poster, etc. go to http://vaswcd.org/poster-contest

“Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home”

Water is a natural resource that we all need every day.  Less than 1% of the water on Earth is fresh useable water for our daily needs. So, it is important that each of us does our part to keep it clean. Join members of your community when there is a roadside, stream or river clean- up day. Each citizen can take responsibility for keeping our water bodies and our roadways clean.  We would have zero litter if people would take the extra step of disposing of trash properly. Take a look at a parking lot in your community; do you see oil and litter? Where do you think it will go when it rains?  It could be a nearby river or stream. Help educate your community to stop littering and to properly maintain their automobiles. This is just one of the many easy steps you can take to protect the James, Roanoke, Blackwater, Pigg River and Smith River watersheds in Roanoke, Franklin and Henry counties and City of Roanoke. For more tips, visit Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation at:  www.dcr.virginia.gov.

America’s network of 3,000 conservation districts across the country are working on the ground every day with local farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect our water, soil and air for future generations. Conservation districts have been involved in delivering locally-driven conservation across America for more than 70 years.

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District has worked on several local projects such as conservation planning for the installation of Grazing Land Management Systems, Long term Vegetative Cover on Cropland, Extension of CREP Watering Systems, Permanent Vegetative Cover on Critical Areas, Continuous High Residue No-Till, Sediment Retention, Havestable and Non-harvestable Cover Crops, Winter Feeding Facilities, Erosion or Water Control Structures, Sod Waterways, Animal Waste Control Facility, Dairy Loafing Lot Management System, Grass Filter Strips, Residential Septic Repair and Replacements for Smith River and Blackberry Creek watersheds, Rain Water Harvesting and Tumbler-Style Compost Workshops, Environmental Education Outreach, Meaningful Watershed Environmental Education, etc.  The Department of Conservation & Recreation and the Virginia Soil & Water Board were responsible for providing funding for the Blue Ridge SWCD to implement these best management practices.

2019 marks the 64th year of the National Association of Conservation Districts Stewardship Week. Help us celebrate National Soil and Water Stewardship Week— Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home — April 28 through May 5, 2019.

Contact Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District or visit www.nacdnet.org for more information. Brought to you by Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District 1297 State Street Rocky Mount, VA  24151 – (540) 483-5341 ext. 117.

For more information about this year’s Stewardship Week theme – Watersheds: Our Water, Our Home – go to NACD’s website: http://www.nacdnet.org/general-resources/stewardship-and-education-materials/2018-watersheds-water-home/.

Click on the links to access NACD 2018 “Watersheds:  Our Water, Our Home” resources:  2018 watershed_poster_2018 2018 Watershed_poster_30x24_HR (2) 2018 Watershed_placemat_13x9_dft1_lr (2) 2018 Watershed Bookmark-NACD 2018_Educators_Guide (2) 2018 Watershed_K-1Booklet_pgs_dft4_lr (2)

Residential Septic Grant Funding Available for Upper Smith River & Blackberry Creek Watersheds in Henry County

 

We’ll pay 50% of your septic repair bill!

Pump outs, repairs, replacements

**Grant funding available for residents of the Upper Smith River and Blackberry Creek Watersheds in Henry County. **

Financial assistance available to all income levels.

How the program works:

  • Contact us for an application and to determine if you qualify
  • Wait to perform any work on your system until your application has been approved

Funding available until June 30, 2019

Contact Michael Tabor:

(276) 632-3164 ext. 122

mtabor@brswcd.org

Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District

1297 State St, Rocky Mount, VA 24151

Located in the USDA Service Center beside the Comfort Inn.

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. EPA and the VA Dept. of Environmental Quality under a Section 319 grant agreement 16545 to Blue Ridge SWCD. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA or DEQ, nor does the EPA or DEQ endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.

Franklin County High School’s Envirothon Team Advances to State Competition

Pictured left to right: Madison Burnette, Autumn Young, Jason Tyree, Tyler Jordan and Hunter Brown

Three Area V Dominion Envirothon (natural resources competition) teams will advance to the state competition May 20-21 at Ferrum College. The Area V Dominion Envirothon competition was held on April 24, 2018 at Waid Recreation Area & Sports Complex in Rocky Mount and hosted by Blue Ride and Patrick Soil & Water Conservation Districts.

Overall first place at the Area V Envirothon competition went to Fuqua School (sponsored by Piedmont SWCD), placing second overall was Franklin County High School (sponsored by Blue Ridge SWCD) and overall third place went to Buckingham County High School (sponsored by Peter Francisco SWCD). Cumberland County High School also participating in the Area V Envirothon (sponsored by Peter Francisco SWCD).

Envirothon features five “in-the-field” test stations – soils, wildlife, aquatics, forestry and a current environmental issue – where teams answer questions in both written and hands-on formats. During an oral presentation each team proposes a management solution related to the current environmental issue to a panel of

Judges consisting of industry and natural resource professionals. This year’s issue is “Pastureland Management”. Franklin County High School and Fuqua School’s Dominion Envirothon Teams tied for 1st place overall in Soils.  Franklin County High School placed 2nd in Oral Presentation and placed 2nd Overall in the top three teams to advance to Virginia’s Dominion Envirothon State Competition at Ferrum College. Fuqua School placed 1st overall to advance to the state competition.

 

“The intense study required for this contest helps prepare students for college entrance exams, as well as possible careers in field associated with natural resources,” said Steven Meeks, President of the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Fueled by Dominion Energy’s generous sponsorship, the Envirothon program will undoubtedly continue to grow. Cindy Balderson, Philanthropy Manager for Dominion Energy and The Dominion Foundation shared the excitement of the new partnership stating,   “We believe the students’ participation in Envirothon activities will prepare them for college and beyond, as they study environmental issues and become advocates and stewards of our natural resources.

The team that earns 1st place at the state level competition will travel to Pocatello, Idaho to battle it out at the North American competition (July 22-July 26, 2018).

Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District (serving Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke) needs help sponsoring students for next year’s Envirothon. If you can help, or would like to know more about starting an Envirothon team at your high school through 4-H, FFA, Ecology Club or home school group, contact Kathy Smith at (540) 483-5341 ext. 117 or (276) 632-3164 ext. 117 or contact the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts at (800) 727-6354.

 

 

Blue Ridge SWCD Offers Financial Assistance for Septic Repairs

Have you thought about your septic system lately? For most people septic systems are “out of sight and out of mind.” They may go years without worrying about the system until there is a problem. Although septic systems can be easy to overlook, maintaining it is an important part of being a homeowner. Routine maintenance can prevent problems before they occur, avoiding future repairs or system replacements that can be very costly. However, no septic system is designed to last forever and signs of a failing septic system can include sewage backups into a home, and lush green vegetation over areas of the drain field or other buried system components that may have a bad smell and be mushy.  In Henry County there are many older homes not connected to a public sewer that may be in need of septic repair or complete replacement.

Funding is available through the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District to reimburse homeowners for 50% of the costs of septic system pump-outs, public sewer hook-ups (where available), repairs, and replacements. In addition, the program also educates residents about proper septic system care and about the environmental and health impacts of failing septic systems. Applicants must live in the portion of the Smith River watershed northwest of Martinsville and the Blackberry Creek watershed in Henry County to be eligible. Funding rates may also be eligible to be increased in lower income situations.

To learn more about our septic program, determine if you live in an eligible watershed, or request an application, please contact Michael Tabor at (276) 632-3164 ext. 122 or Allen Jackson at ext.118. Inquiries can also be submitted via email at mtabor@brswcd.org or djackson@brswcd.org and also during regular office hours (8-4:30 p.m M-F) at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA 24151.

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. EPA and the VA Dept. of Environmental Quality under a Section 319 grant agreement 16545 to Blue Ridge SWCD.

The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA or DEQ, nor does the EPA or DEQ endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.