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:

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)

Become a Project Learning Tree Certified Educator

Be engaged in a hands-on workshop for both formal and non-formal educators

 Investigate environmental topics with indoor and outdoor activities

 Receive PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide, correlated to national and state   academic standards . Click here to find out more: VMNH workshop flyer 11-3-2017 (003)

“The most amazing and helpful book in the universe! The students love the activities. It helps make learning more engaging for students, and in turn less stressful for me.”

– Rachel Hill, 7th Grade Science Teacher, Salem Church Middle School, Richmond, Virginia

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute Accepting Applications!

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute(YCLI) is a recognition program for students that focuses on volunteer service and environmental stewardship.

 YCLI began as an expansion of Youth Conservation Camp in an effort to keep students engaged in the environmental topics introduced at camp.

YCLI offers high school students interested in environmental conservation and stewardship an opportunity to build leadership skills and connect with local mentors involved with environmental issues.

Students choose projects that they are interested in to carryout in their community.

As a participant in the Youth Conservation Leadership Institute, students will be required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service with a focus in the natural resources conservation field.  Students are encouraged to focus work with the local Soil & Water Conservation District but any work that contributes to pollution prevention, natural resources conservation, and promotion of environmental literacy will be accepted.  All projects must have a confirmed mentor which may be a local SWCD, government agency, community leader, or similar local organization.

YCLI is open to any Virginia high school student committed to the entirety of the program including:

  • Completion of at least 20 community service hours to be approved by the VASWCD staff.
  • Submission of one interim and final report/presentation on the community work completed.
  • Attendance at the final recognition program to be held March 2018.
  • Read an assigned book on environmental leadership for a group discussion

 

Click to access the 2017 -2018 YCLI Application and applications are due to me by Aug 18th, 2017.  For additional information visit http://vaswcd.org/ycli

 

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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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

9 Things Producers Should Know: A New Conservation Option for Va’s Ag Producers

Michael-2013Resource management plans are a new way for agricultural producers and landowners to preserve soil and water quality while improving their bottom line.  Plus, there’s this bonus: Farms operating under an RMP plan are deemed to be in compliance with state nutrient and sediment standards for nine years. The program was launched in 2014 and has been endorsed by both agricultural and environmental leaders. Participation in an RMP plan is completely voluntary, and there’s funding available to help landowners initiate the program.

The program encourages farmers to have a private-sector developer create an RMP plan for their farm or a portion of it. The plan will take into account the property’s existing stream buffer, soil conservation, nutrient management and stream-exclusion practices. The developer will inform the landowner of any additional practices that need to be implemented to qualify for the RMP certificate.

Once the plan is approved and implemented, the property owner is granted certainty from state nutrient and sediment water quality standards for the next nine years.

While the program is new, it’s based on conservation practices that have been used successfully for years. The mix of practices not only helps prevent water pollution, but they keep farms efficient and profitable. Nutrient management plans and soil conservation practices can help maintain nutrients and reduce soil loss. Stream exclusion often leads to healthy herds, fewer veterinary costs and more marketable livestock.

Another positive for the agricultural community is that the program enables better tracking of practices that are in place. This ensures that farmers receive the credit they deserve for helping to protect soil and water resources across Virginia.

Funding is available through the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share program to fund both development of RMPs and the practices needed to complete one.

For more information, including contact information for certified resource management plan developers, visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/rmp.shtml. Or, contact your local soil and water conservation district.  For those living in Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke, contact Michael Tabor (Conservation Technician) at the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District by calling (540) 483-5341 ext. 122. For Henry County residents call us at (276) 632-3164 ext. 3.  Click here to discover the 9 things producers should know: RMP_9Things-brochure

 

 

 

 

 

 

Envirothon – What’s It All About?

Envirothon – What’s It All About?

About Us:

The Envirothon is a program of the National Conservation Foundation (NCF), a 501(c)3 not-for profit organization.  The Envirothon is established to provide a naturl resource encounter and environmental education program for high school students throughout North America.  Contact Envirothon at www.vaswcd.org/envirothon.

Maintaining Your Septic System

Septic System Diagram 3What is a septic system and what does it do?

A septic system is a wastewater treatment system connected to your home that consists of a septic tank, a distribution box and a drain field.  All are underground.  Septic systems are used widely in areas not served by public sewer.  The purpose of a septic system is to carry wastes and wastewater away from your home and to treat it so that it is safe when it reaches the ground water supply, which is used for drinking water supplies and recreation.  Each part of the system plays an important role and must be properly maintained to function properly.

*     Do you know where your septic system is located?

*     Can you recall the last time our septic system was pumped?

*     How can you tell if your septic system has failed?

*     Does it help to add yeast to your septic system?

*     How do household cleaners affect your septic system?

*     How often should you have your septic system inspected?

*      How familiar are you with the septic system “DO’s and DON’Ts”?

For answers to these questions and more contact your local health department and visit- http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/pdf/ww/septic/pl_fall04.pdf