Happy Earth Day-April 22nd

Happy Earth Day 2021

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection . First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries. Here are a list of resources you can visit to give you some ideas to share and celebrate Earth Day:

https://www.dcr.virginia.gov

https://www.epa.gov/earthday

http://www.pollinator.org

https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/nativeplants

https://www.usda.gov/topics/forestry

https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water

Blue Ridge SWCD Meeting

The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District Board will meet on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 5 p.m. at Ippy’s Restaurant, (next to the Rocky Mount Service Center) North Main Street, Rocky Mount, Va.   Please wear face mask; also, social distancing is encouraged.

VDOF & VCE MAKE LAND LEGACY PLANNING MORE ACCESSIBLE

VDOF & VCE MAKE LAND LEGACY PLANNING MORE ACCESSIBLE

Contact:

Karen Snape, Virginia Cooperative Extension 540-231-6494 ksnape@vt.edu
Andrew Fotinos, Virginia Department of Forestry 434.270.4090 andrew.fotinos@dof.virginia.gov

VDOF & VCE MAKE LAND LEGACY PLANNING MORE ACCESSIBLE

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) encourage landowners to make plans for passing on their land to the next generation – right now. The Generation NEXT program is a collaboration between VDOF and VCE that helps Virginia landowners keep forests intact, in forest, and in family.

Generation NEXT is hosting two low-cost virtual legacy planning series this year – in April and September – to help landowners take the first steps and clarify some of the misconceptions about the legacy planning process that might prevent people from getting started.
Many landowners are overwhelmed by the legacy planning process and assume that it primarily involves complicated work with attorneys and accountants. This assumption might cause landowners to delay thinking about what they want to happen to their land when they’re no longer around to manage it. The Generation NEXT program demonstrates how estate planning (working with lawyers and accountants) is just one part of the legacy planning process.

“One of the most important steps in legacy planning includes conversations between you and the people who will steward your land after you’re gone. Do they understand your stewardship goals for the property? Do they feel a connection to the land? Are there key pieces of information you need to share about the property? Having these conversations is critical,” says Adam Downing, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent.

If a landowner passes away without clearly established plans for their estate (including their land), things can quickly become complicated for the surviving family members. The Generation NEXT program provides families with resources and tools that make the process more manageable and accessible.

With the Generation NEXT workshops, families pay a single fee to participate, even if they are geographically separated. The workshops serve as designated opportunities for family members to ask difficult questions, receive useful information, and get on the same page about plans for the future. Typically, these sessions are in-person, so dispersed families are taking advantage of the virtual offerings.

As a companion to the workshop series, the Generation NEXT team created a publication, Legacy Planning: A Guide for Virginia Landowners that provides an overview of the nine major steps involved in developing a robust land legacy plan. It includes case studies from landowners throughout Virginia and guides landowners to tools and resources. The free publication is available online or in-print (by request). https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/CNRE/cnre-121/CNRE-121.pdf

Landowners should approach legacy planning as an on-going process. “Much like a forest changes over time, your legacy plans will evolve. As priorities change or family dynamics shift, so should plans for your land,” says Andrew Fotinos, Conservation Specialist with VDOF. “Having the Legacy Planning publication on-hand will help landowners as they periodically revisit the nine steps over time.”
With spring and summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to engage with Step Eight: “Provide opportunities for your family to learn about and enjoy your woodlands.” Explore your property with future generations to instill in them the importance of good land stewardship.

Spring dates for the Generation NEXT workshops are April 7, 8, 14 & 15. Those interested in attending the spring workshop should register by March 31 to guarantee their spot and receive a print copy of the Legacy Planning publication before courses begin. Fall workshops will take place on September 8, 9, 15 & 16. Families or individuals can register for either the spring or fall dates, or they may elect to attend both series for a comprehensive experience. Content may overlap in the two series, but they are not identical.

Registration can be completed online: https://ext.vt.edu/natural-resources/legacy-planning/training.html

About the Virginia Department of Forestry

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians.  With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 108,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $21 Billion annually.

Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth, which it’s been doing now for more than 100 years. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.

About the Virginia Cooperative Extension

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. We are a dynamic organization that stimulates positive personal and societal change, leading to more productive lives, families, farms, and forests as well as a better environment.

Understanding that knowledge is power, we place that power in the hands of Virginians and help them learn how to use it to improve the quality of their lives. Our Extension agents and specialists form a network of educators whose classrooms are the communities, homes, and businesses of Virginia, where they bring research-based solutions to the problems facing Virginians today. Extension programs are delivered through a network of faculty at two universities, 108 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers. 

VCE and VDOF programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

2021 Environmental Education Scholarship Opportunity-Apply Now

2021 Environmental Education Scholarship Opportunity-Apply Now

The Blue Ridge SWCD is offering high school seniors and college freshmen (attending school in the areas of 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 up to $1,000 Leo Painter College Scholarship. The award winning application of this scholarship (Leo Painter Scholarship) will be submitted to the 2021 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 or related field, contact Kathy B. Smith (Program Manager/Education Coordinator) at (540) 342-3314 or at KSmith@brswcd.org for a copy of the 2020-2021 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application form. Each qualified student is asked to complete VASWCD Educational Foundation 2020-2021 Scholarship application (http://vaswcd.org/student-scholarships) and submit it to the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA 24151 no later than Friday, April 2, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. (close of business). Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee. All applications and information contained therein shall remain confidential. Nominations from the Committee will be submitted to the VASWCD Educational Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors for final approval. 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 the 2020-2021 Scholarship Guidelines and application below:

Virginia Academy of Natural Resources Camp

Join the Virtual Camp Experience Today!

Virginia Academy of Natural Resources: a Virtual Camp Experience

Who: Any current 8th-12th grader When: July 12-16, 2021

What: Daily themes of wildlife,forestry, soils, and aquatics, presented by natural resource professionals; small group project; self-directed field work; mini-Envirothon competition and more!

How: Apply by April 30th at https://forms.gle/9mRUtyoaPRvFQY2N9 Cost: $25 for field study materials (will be mailed before camp)

Info: For questions about the camp or financial assistance, email ellen.powell@dof.virginia.gov. Mornings online, afternoons in your own backyard, local park, or woods! Sponsored by Virginia Department of Forestry and Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts

National Invasive Species Awareness Week: February 22-26, 2021

February 22-26, 2021 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW)

Blue Ridge PRISM is pleased to participate in the largest invasive species awareness effort in North America. We aim to focus our outreach encouraging you to choose plants native to Virginia, and not invasive plants for your landscaping this spring.


There are also a number of webinars hosted by NISAW which are free and open to all:

Monday, February 22nd: Invasive Species Management Priorities
Tuesday, February 23rd: Federal Agency Updates
Wednesday, February 24th: Aquatic Nuisance Species
Thursday, February 25th: Plant Health

Friday, February 26th: Show Me the Money

2021 VASWCD Photo Contest

2021 VASWCD Photo Contest Submissions is OPEN! 
The VASWCD is committed to conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs and we want to see it through your eyes. the theme this year is “Conservation through the local lens”.  Capture those vibrant moments and express what conservation looks like through your lens! The contest is open from February 1 – July 30, 2021. To learn more about the contest please click here Rules & Judging.  You can submit up to 10 photos and to do so you click on the submit your photos button below. All photographs must be taken within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Photographs taken outside the state of Virginia will be disqualified.
Congratulations to Bob Diller for his 2020 photo named “Behold!” taken in the Tidewater Shore Soil & Water Conservation District that was chosen as overall winner for the 2020 Photo Contest.

2020 VASWCD Photo Contest Winners 

Congratulations to Bob Diller for his 2020 photo named “Behold!” taken in the Tidewater Shore Soil & Water Conservation District that was chosen as overall winner for the 2020 Photo Contest.

Eligibility

The Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) Photo Contest is open only to legal residents of the United States. Panel Judges (of the VASWCD Photo Contest), as well as immediate family (spouse partners, siblings, and children) and household members of those judges, are not eligible to enter.

Entry Period

The VASWCD Photo Contest begins February 1, 2021 and ends on July 30, 2021. Entries submitted before or after the entry period will not be eligible. Winners will be announced September 2021.

What to Enter

The VASWCD is committed to conservation of natural resources through stewardship and education programs and we want to see it through your eyes. For our 2021 Photo Contest, we’d like you to take photos that showcase” Conservation Through the Local Lens”. Capture those vibrant moments and express what conservation looks like to you!

All photographs must be taken within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Photographs taken outside the state of Virginia will be disqualified.

Entries should include the following information.

  • Name
  • Age (as of July 30, 2021)
  • Address
  • Email
  • Telephone
  • Photo Title
  • City or County where photo was taken
  • Caption that describes photo and answers “Conservation Through the Local Lens” (Limit to one paragraph)

By submitting your entry, you (parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence) agree that the photograph(s) conforms to the guidelines and content restrictions.

By entering, entrants (parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence) represent and warrant that the photograph(s) that they submit: are their own original creations; do not infringe any other person’s or entity’s rights; including trespassing on private land.

Entries must be submitted by the original creator. Photograph(s) created by someone other than you but submitted by you will be disqualified. You must be the sole owner of the copyright of any photograph(s) submitted. Incomplete entries will not be accepted and will be automatically rejected.

To ensure eligibility for the contest, please submit files at least 3 MB at the time of entry. Higher resolution files of at least 300 dpi/ppi will be requested should an entry be preselected to be awarded a prize or an honorable mention. All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (red eye removal, removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified, which is left to the Panel’s discretion.

Entries may originate in any format — including, but not limited to digital files, digital prints, color transparencies, color prints, or black and white prints — so long as they are submitted electronically in a .JPEG .jpg, or.png form. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single “High Dynamic Range” image are acceptable.

Previously published material for which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you still maintain the right to grant us a license (see “Your Rights” below). You must be able to disclose when and where the photo appeared previously to VASWCD upon request.

If you choose to include people in your submission, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary releases from the individuals depicted, and must be able to provide copies of those releases to VASWCD upon request.

The following submissions are ineligible:

  • Images of captive animals photographed in zoos and commercial game farms.
  • Photos that violate or infringe upon another person’s rights, including but not limited to copyright.
  • Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent, or other objectionable or inappropriate content.
  • Images that involve the willful harassment of wildlife, or damage to the environment by the photographer or photo subjects.
  • Images that involve putting any individual or animal in danger.
  • Images taken more than three years prior to the beginning date of the Contest (February 1, 2021).

The VASWCD shall determine entry eligibility in its sole and absolute discretion.

How to Enter

You may enter up to ten (10) images during the entry period, however only one winning photo per person. The VASWCD reserves the right to reject any additional entries or entries that do not comply with these Official Rules. By entering, you indicate your unconditional agreement to, and acceptance of, these Official Rules and VASWCD’s decisions, which are final and binding. You cannot win a prize unless you comply with all requirements in these Official Rules.

Entrants may be asked to supplement their submission (such as with a paragraph about their photo or the highest resolution version of their photo).

Judging

Photos will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, artistic merit and subject matter relevance to conservation, except that the People’s Choice award will be determined based on which of the honorable mentions receives the most votes. Judging will be conducted by a panel of VASWCD and or SWCD employees/officials (the “Panel”). The Panel will evaluate all valid entries and pick winners in the following categories:

Categories:

  1. Overall Winner (1 winner): Illustrates how people interact with their environment and care for the natural resources around them.
  2. People’s Choice (1 winner): Overall winner selected from among the 10 honorable mentions based on the highest number of votes received during public voting to be held on the VASWCD Facebook page in August 2020.
  3. Young Photographer (1 winner): Best vibrant moment of conservation, taken by a photographer under 18 years of age.

The honorable mentions will be notified and will appear on the VASWCD website. At that time, the public can vote for one People’s Choice winner from the honorable mentions. All potential winners will be revealed online by September 30, 2021.

All judging decisions are final. Please do not contact us about the status of entries or judging. The VASWCD will notify the winner via the contact information provided at the time of entry.

Disqualification

No alteration or manipulation of photographs is permitted except for standard optimization (red eye removal, removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.). However, photographic techniques such as HDR, light-painting and long exposures are allowed. Photographs with watermarks, writing or symbols of any kind will be rejected.

Photograph(s) depicting anything that does not adhere to the rules of the VASWCD Photo Contest, contain unsafe acts, present resource or public use management concerns or photographs that are inappropriate, indecent or obscene, as determined by VASWCD in their sole discretion, shall be disqualified.

Potential Winner Requirements

Except where prohibited, a potential winner may be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility, including proof of age, and liability/publicity release within 14 days. If a potential winner is a minor, his/her parent or legal guardian will be required to sign the documents on his/her behalf. If a potential winner fails to return these documents on time, an alternate potential winner may be selected in his/her place.

Prizes

Prizes will be determined by the VASWCD. A prize may not be transferred and must be accepted as awarded. A winner may not request cash or a substitute prize.

Your Rights

You will retain all rights to any photograph you submit — including joint ownership with the VASWCD and participating districts.

If you submit a photograph to enter the Photo Contest, you grant the VASWCD a royalty-free, nonexclusive right during the Photo Contest and in perpetuity to:

  • Display the photograph on the Photo Contest submission website
  • Allow third-parties to share the photograph on the following social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and district websites.
  • Use the photograph on the Internet and in Social Media in support of our mission.
  • Use the photograph in the VASWCD’s internal and external communications materials including but not limited to web sites and web publications, fact sheets, fund raising publications, advertising, multimedia, presentation, annual report and VASWCD District Directory.
  • Provide your photograph to other individuals and organizations for VASWCD- related use in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, videos, and the like.
  • Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city, and state of residence in promotions and other publications.

o  Retain a digital copy of your photograph that will be archived in the VASWCD photo library and accessible to VASWCD & SWCD staff. The VASWCD will endeavor to credit all photographs with the caption “Person’s Name” when the full name is available.

By entering, entrants (parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence) grant a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license to the VASWCD to edit, adapt, make derivative works from, broadcast, publish and otherwise use any or all of the descriptions and/or photograph(s) submitted, and may use them for advertising, promotional and/or any other purpose in any and all media now or hereafter devised worldwide in perpetuity without additional compensation, notification or permission, unless prohibited by law. By entering this Contest, entrants (parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence) agree to have their submitted photograph(s) used and displayed, either singularly or in combination with others and in any size, on the official VASWCD website and social media platforms and on the websites, social media, and print materials of the VASWCD as well as their SWCDs without any fee or other form of compensation due at any time for so long as desired by the VASWCD. Credits, descriptions or titles, if any, used with the photograph(s) are in the VASWCD’s sole discretion. In the event that ownership of any photograph(s) submitted is challenged in any manner by any person, the VASWCD may disqualify that photograph(s) and will discontinue use of the photograph(s).

General Conditions

In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Photo Contest is impaired in any way, VASWCD may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Photo Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Photo Contest; or (b) award the prize(s) from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment.

VASWCD reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify and seek damages from any individual who tampers with the operation of the Photo Contest, violates these Official Rules, or acts in a disruptive or unsportsmanlike manner. VASWCD’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Proof of sending any communication to VASWCD by mail shall not be deemed proof of receipt of that communication by VASWCD. In the event of a dispute as to the owner of an online entry, the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter will be deemed to be the owner. The Photo Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.

Release and Limitations of Liability

By entering, you (parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence) agree to release and hold harmless VASWCD, Facebook, their respective parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, and SWCD agents (the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Photo Contest or receipt or use of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Photo Contest; (b) technical errors; (c) printing errors; (d) late or undelivered mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Photo Contest; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property. You waive the right to claim any attorney’s fees and any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.

Privacy and Publicity

Any information you submit as part of the Photo Contest will be used in accordance with VASWCD’s Privacy Policy. The information you provide when you enter is provided to the VASWCD. Except where prohibited, you consent to VASWCD’s use of your name in any list of winners (if applicable) and for promotional purposes in any media without further payment or consideration.

Disputes

You agree that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Photo Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in Virginia. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, your rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the VASWCD in connection with the Photo Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of Virginia, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of Virginia or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than Virginia.

Questions

Please contact the VASWCD.

Mountain Valley Pipeline

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District has cost share available to install Agricultural and Forestry best management practices and is prioritizing lands impacted by the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). these may include grazing management, tree plantings, agricultural waste management and more. If interested, please contact the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District at (540) 352-3312 to find out more and determine eligibility.

Hatcher Farm Earns State BMP Forestry Award

Hatcher Farm: 2020 BMP State Forestry Award Winner

This year the Virginia Department of Forestry chose to recognize Mr. Roger Hatcher for the 2020 BMP Forestry Award. The property that Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher own has been in his family since 1949. The Hatcher family farmed this property for many years before making the deciding to transition from farming to forest management. The property is mainly used for hunting and growing pine & hardwood timber.  This property is a Certified Stewardship property.

The first recorded timber harvest on this property took place from 1998 to 1999. A 42-acres area of mature Virginia Pine was clear-cut and then reforested with Loblolly pine. These planted Loblolly pines were commercially thinned for the first time in 2019. The overall goal for this area is to eventually have it clearcut and reforested once again, but only after the newly harvested and reforested areas have become well established.

In 2004 another 13 acre area of mature Virginia Pine was clearcut and reforested with Loblolly pine. This area was not commercially thinned during the most recent harvest because the timber still needs more time to grow. In the future when the 42 acres parcel is clearcut this parcel will likely be commercially thinned. Giving the residual trees more room to grow.

Over the course of the last 2 years the Hatcher’s have had approximately 22 additional acres clearcut directly beside their home place. This area has since been reforested and release sprayed to reduce natural hardwood regeneration competition. By harvesting this area last, they have insured that, in the future, they will not have a view of the large clearcut area that will be a result of the final harvest of the pines that were planted in the late 90s.

The Hatcher family has invested many years of blood, sweat, and tears into this beautiful Henry County property with the goal of having something to leave to their children. The children and grandchildren have and will continue to reap the benefits of the hard work that Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher have put into their land during the last 20 years and for many years to follow. 

VLWA Scholarship Apply Now

Click on the link above to find out more about the VLWA Scholarship
Applications are Due by April 1, 2021!  

The Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association (VLWA) has been awarding Leo Bourassa scholarships since 2001 to deserving college students to help fulfill our mission. The scholarship program is named after Leo Bourassa who was the founding father of VLWA. The goal of the scholarships is to support students in their education in the field of water resources to help promote good lake and watershed management within the Commonwealth of Virginia. VLWA has awarded seventy-eight student scholarships to-date for a total amount of $153,300 and the scholarship awards have ranged in value from $3,000 to $500 each. The scholarship recipients are selected based on academic performance, contribution to the field of water resources, and related extracurricular activities. The applicant must be a Virginia resident attending an accredited Virginia college or university and applications are due by April 1, 2021. More information about the VLWA Leo Bourassa Scholarship Program can be found HERE. Please see the website for details on applicant eligibility and application submittal requirements. The application form can be submitted electronically via the website. Two reference letters for each applicant will need to be mailed to the VLWA scholarship committee chair at the address listed on the website.     APPLY NOW!