2022-2023 Youth Conservation Leadership Institute Applications are now closed.
The 2022-2023 Youth Conservation Leadership Institute applications are NOW OPEN. Please share how you are able in your communities. Deadline to apply is Friday, September 30th, 2022. Applications should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 7308 Hanover Green Drive Suite 100, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.
YCLI is open to any Virginia High School student in grades 9-12th committed to the entirety of the program including:
- Developing their own Project Proposal based on student interest and implementing that project with the help of a mentor.
- Completion of at least 20 community service hours to be approved by the VASWCD staff.
- Submission of one interim, final report, & presentation on the community work completed.
- Attendance at the final recognition program to be held Spring 2023
- Read an assigned book on environmental leadership and participate in a virtual group discussion
- Participate in scheduled virtual group meetings throughout the program.
YCLI student goals include to:
- Engage with your local community & collaborate with fellow YCLI students across the state
- Develop project management skills and professional relationships through working with your mentor, local SWCD, and YCLI program director
- Meet deadlines and maintain a progress log with documentation of your work
- Practice presentation skills at the final program presentation
- Learn more about a topic of your interest and be a self-starter in developing your own project!
Click here to access the 2022-2023 YCLI application and flyer:
Specifics for the program will be announced along with the acceptance letter that will be sent via email in October 2022. Questions? Contact Maura Christian at email@example.com or (804) 559-0324.
Blue Ridge SWCD Meeting
The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District’s Budget/Finance Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. at the USDA Service Center 1297 State Street Rocky Mount, VA.
VA SOL Based Environmental Education
Do you need help planning your classroom activities? Check out the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District’s SOL Based Environmental Education flyer by cutting and pasting the following link: https://brswcd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/EE-Activity-Flyer-Spring-2022-3-2.pdf
Youth Conservation Leadership Institute:
What is it and how does it work?
What is Youth Conservation Leadership Institute and how does it work?
Youth Conservation Leadership Institute (YCLI) is a recognition program for students in 9th- 12th grade 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 in 9th-12th grade may apply. Program participants are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service with a conservation focus. The hours may be done as part of a single project or a series of projects but all projects must be approved by the YCLI Program Coordinator. YCLI participants work with the YCLI Program Coordinator to come up with a project that the YCLI Participant wants to focus on. The YCLI Participants are paired with a mentor to help them with their project. Mentors can be Soil & Water Conservation Staff, Natural Resource Professional, 4-H Agent, etc.
There will be a zoom meeting at the beginning of the program to allow all participants a chance to meet and brainstorm for their projects.
The program will conclude with an awards and recognition ceremony to be held in Spring of 2022. The recognition program agenda will include time for participants to speak about their work and hear from key speakers in the conservation field.
YCLI is a unique opportunity for 9th-12th graders to receive experience and engage in networking opportunities to prepare them for future education and career paths.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Students in 9th-12th grade with a strong interest in natural resources conservation and related fields are encouraged to apply. YCLI is open to homeschool, private and public school students. Click here for the the 2021-2022 YCLI application. Deadline to apply is Friday Oct. 1st, 2021. Please contact Bonnie.firstname.lastname@example.org if you or your student has interest and would like to discuss.
Past YCLI Projects Include:
- Building birdhouses for Warblers
- Teaching elementary students about watersheds
- Developing and Installing Trail Signage
- Litter Clean Ups
- Clothing Drive
- Education Outreach about being an Intern with the Elizabeth River Project
- Conservation Education Outreach to Elementary Students
- Stormwater Education Outreach
- Pollinator Gardens
- Soil Compaction Education & Outreach to Homeowners
What past participants have said about YCLI:
- “My favorite part was teaching others and sharing my message.”- 2019-2020 YCLI Participant
- “Being able to help my community while having support.”-2019-2020 YCLI Participant
- “My favorite part was feeling like I was helping my community.”- 2019-2020 YCLI Participant
- “Being able to present about my project to my peers from across the state and compare similarities and differences.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
- “I liked being able to come up with my own project about something that was important to me, as well as the sense of accomplishment at the end.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
- “My favorite part of the program was implementing the project I helped plan and organize. I loved being able to see my ideas become a reality and I loved seeing how my project beneficially impacted students and adults in my community.”- 2016-2017 YCLI Participant
- “Getting to make a change in the community for the better.”-2017-2018 YCLI Participant
- “This is one of the only programs in our area that allows students a one-on-one experience with people working in conservation.”- 2016-2017 YCLI Participant
- “My favorite part of the program was meeting a mentor from the SWCD. This gave me insight into the filed of conservation and a way to stay involved. ” – 2016-2017 YCLI Participant
2023 Happy Earth Day-April 22nd
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:
Blue Ridge SWCD Meeting
The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District’s Budget/Finance Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. at the USDA Service Center 1297 State Street Rocky Mount, VA.The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District Board will meet on Monday, June 26, 2023 at 5 p.m. at Ippy’s Restaurant, (next to the Rocky Mount Service Center) North Main Street, Rocky Mount, Va.
2022 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 2022 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 2021-2022 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application form. Each qualified student is asked to complete VASWCD Educational Foundation 2021-2022 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 Wednesday, April 13, 2022 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 2021-2022 Scholarship Guidelines and application below:
What is the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District?
The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District (Blue Ridge SWCD) is one of 47 Districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia whose Boards are tasked with implementing Virginia’s Best Management Practice Cost Share Programs to farmers and agriculture producers. Urban property owners in our are can benefit through the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) (https://vaswcd.org/vcap).
The Blue Ridge SWCD was organized under authority of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District Law (Senate Bill NO. 38 passed by the 1938 session of the General Assembly) and was formed on September 28, 1939. The Blue Ridge SWCD represents the counties of Franklin, Henry, City of Roanoke and Roanoke County.
The Blue Ridge SWCD has full-time employees who work with area agriculture producers and manage cost share applications and programs. The District also has an elected Board of Directors.
What do Directors do on the Board?
The Blue Ridge SWCD’s Board is elected, voluntary and non-regulatory. Directors promote the voluntary adoption of conservation management practices such as fencing cattle out of the streams, installing animal waste storage facilities, installing riparian buffers and planting cover crops. Land owners who want to receive funding apply, and funding is allocated based on a ranking system.
The District Board also supports a strong education outreach program. In addition to offering education outreach programs in the schools and working with Envirothon. Every year high school Seniors or College Freshmen who are planning careers in natural resources are selected through an application process to receive up to a $1,000 scholarship. the District Board also awards two all-expense paid scholarships for high school students to attend the Youth Conservation Camp at Virginia Tech.
Funding is also available for urban areas through the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP), a voluntary stormwater management cost-share program that provides financial reimbursement for urban property owners installing Best Management Practices (riparian buffers, permeable pavement, rain gardens, rain water harvesting systems, green roofs, etc.).
Why are Directors elected?
In 1937, President Roosevelt asked the governors of each state to recommend legislation to form Soil and Water Conservation Districts in support of the 1935 Congressional Act of declaring soil and water conservation and smart land use a national policy (Public Law 46). The Virginia Legislature responded by passing the Virginia Soil Conservation District Law to provide local citizens the opportunity to shape conservation activities in their own communities.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts are a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia 9formed under the authority of Title 21, Code of Virginia, passed by the General Assembly in 1938).
Small Farm Spring Forum
What type of Farm Operation do you own and/or manage? A. Livestock (cattle, horse, hog, goat, sheep, lama, alpaca, etc.) B. Fruits/Vegetables C. Grains D. Forestry
What type of farmer best describes you? A. Hobby Farmer B. Part-time Farmer C. Full-time Farmer D. Not farming yet but interested.
If you can select an answer from any of the above questions, come join us at the “Small Farm Spring Forum” on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 (9:00 am – 1:30 pm) to talk with natural resource professional and local farmers on how you can be a valuable part in natural resource conservation..
To register by the Friday, April 24, 2023 deadline contact Kathy Smith, Program Manager/Education Coordinator at (540) 352-3314 or at email@example.com.
2023 NACD/VASWCD POSTER CONTEST and SCOUT PATCH PROGRAM
Blue Ridge SWCD Poster Contest Rules
- The Conservation Poster Contest is open to kindergarten through twelfth grade students and entered into one of the grade divisions (K-1; 2-3; 4-6; 7-9; 10-12).
- Poster size must be within 8.5”x11” (letter-size) to 22”x28” (full-size poster board)
- Posters must be hand-drawn. Any media may be used to create a flat poster including: paint, crayon, colored pencil, charcoal, stickers, paper, and/or other materials.
- All posters must be created by an individual student, rather than a team of students. Entries must be a contestant’s original creation and may not be traced from photographs or other artist’s published works.
- The 2023 Stewardship theme “One Water” must be included on the front side of each poster submission to be eligible for the national poster contest.
- Each entry must be submitted with a completed entry form attached to the back of the poster. This entry form must be signed by a parent or guardian to be eligible for the contest.
- Posters are due to the Blue Ridge SWCD office by Friday, September 15, 2023 by the close of business. Posters may be mailed or dropped off at the district office.
- Although younger students will most likely receive help in planning from parents and/or teachers, Blue Ridge SWCD encourages each student to do their own work. Note: Entries with student handwriting and coloring will score higher than those designed, drawn and colored by adult assistance.
- Posters entered into the national competition must have been judged by the Blue Ridge SWCD sponsored poster contest and the VASWCD sponsored poster contest.
- The 1st place poster in each category will be submitted to the VASWCD. The winners of the state contest will receive a prize and move on to the NACD Poster Contest. The top three posters (in each category) of the national contest will receive monetary prizes. First place winners will receive $200, second place winners will receive $150 and 3rd place winners will receive $100. Monetary prizes at the national level are sponsored by the NACD Auxiliary from their quilt project and the Albert I Pierce Foundation.
- Any Scout who creates a poster and submits to Blue Ridge SWCD to earn the VASWCD Poster Contest Patch must request a patch on the completed entry form submitted with his or her poster.
- All posters will be returned to participants after the contest(s) are completed.
Poster Contest Entries are reviewed by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship/Youth Committee based on the following criteria:
- Conservation message (50 percent) (Poster uses correct theme)
- Visual effectiveness (30 percent)
- Originality (10 percent) and
- Universal appeal (10 percent)
Tumbler-style Compost Workshop Schedule
How does your garden grow? Learn how to develop compost that can be used as a soil amendment or as an amendment to grow plants by constructing your own tumbler-style composter. Please bring your own power drill, drill bits (1/4″, 1/2″ and a small drill bit to pre-drill holes for the wood screws) and a Phillips head drill bit for wood screws. Please have the proper transportation to take your completed composter(s) home as one measures 3.5′ deep x 31″ wide x 4.6′ high. It is recommended to bring a friend to assist you with your construction.
The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District will be conducting Tumbler-style Compost Workshop on the following dates at the Essig Center on Technology Drive, Rocky Mount, VA from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm:
May 25, 2023 (Thursday)
June 22, 2023 (Thursday)
For additional information, register on line (one week prior to the scheduled class) at https://www.playfranklincounty.com
Rain Barrel Workshop Schedule
If you would like to harvest rain water for your garden and landscaping needs then this is an opportunity for you to construct our very own rain barrel. This old idea is making a big splash! Please have the proper transportation to take the barrel(s) home as they are approximately 53 gallons measuring 42″ in height and 24″ in diameter.
The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District will be conducting Rain Barrel Workshops on the following dates at the Essig Center on Technology Drive Rocky Mount, VA from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm:
June 8, 2023 (Thursday)
For additional information, register on line (one week prior to the scheduled class) at https://www.playfranklincounty.com