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.

 

 

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

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

2017 Youth Conservation Camp – Applications Being Accepted

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 (540) 483-5341 ext. 117.

Click on these two icons to view this year’s camp highlights and 2017 YCC application: 2017 Camper Application  & VASWCD 2017 Camp HighlightsYCC Group Picture

The 20176 Youth Conservation Camp applications are to be received by the Blue Ridge District office no later than by Monday, April 14, 2017.

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.

 

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?

Jessica Kaknevicius (Ontario Envirothon) will be hosting an “ENVIROTHON WEBINAR” through Green Teacher http://greenteacher.com/webinars/  on THURSDAY, January 22nd at 7:30-8:30 EST.  It will be generic, and not focused on Ontario, Jessica will be using the Ontario Envirothon pEnvirothon picturerogram as an example. Details at:  http://greenteacher.com/webinars/ You will have to set-up an account with Green Teacher if you do not already have on. I would encourage you to pass the word and to join in on this webinar, or any of the others that the “Green Teacher” may offer.

If you have questions, please contact Jessica directly Jessica Kaknevicius Education Programs Manager FORESTS ONTARIO 144 Front Street West, Suite 700 Toronto, ON, M5J 2L7 P:  416-4934565 x. 226 E:  jkaknevicius@forestsontario.ca

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.envirothon.org.

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