Blue Ridge SWCD Board Meeting

The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District Board will meet on Monday, October 25, 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.

October 18, 2021Permalink

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute: What is it and How Does It Work?

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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.mahl@vaswcd.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

SIGN-UP for FY 2022 State BMP Cost Share

Rotational Grazing and Stream Exclusion

When:     Thursday, July 1 – Friday, September 3, 2021

APPOINTMENT ONLY to schedule an appointment contact:

  Michael Tabor,  Sr. Conservation Specialist, (540) 352-3323 or       

Allen Jackson, Conservation Technician, (540) 352-3329

NEW Planting Dates: Cover Crop planting dates extended by two weeks – Details provided during signup appointment.

 NEW Participant Cap: Raised to $150,000 per participant for FY22.

SIGN-UP PERIOD: Sign-up for BMP Cost Share or VA Tax Credits

 SIGN-UP PERIOD: Sign-up for BMP Cost Share or VA Tax Credits prior to September 3rd for the first round of ranking. Many programs offered.

REMINDER: Current Nutrient Management Plan is required for all cover crop participants in the VACS (Virginia Cost Share) programs or to receive specified VA State Tax Credits. Sign-up for cost share by September 3rd.

VA State Tax Credits: VA State Tax Credits available. Details provided

during signup appointment. Increased credits for FY22.

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District sets priorities and objectives that are defined in a strategic plan.  An annual plan of work is completed by forming committees such as Budget, Soil Stewardship, Youth, Annual Report, Conservation Awards, Annual Tour, Newsletter, Scholarship, Personnel, and other committees as needed. The Board of Directors encourages land users to adopt Best Management Practices such as conservation tillage in their farm plans.   This District works from a budget to effectively manage funds, facilities and equipment.  The Blue Ridge SWCD supports the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, and the National Association of Conservation Districts.  The directors attend area, state, and national meetings. The Commonwealth of Virginia supports the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District through financial and administrative assistance provided by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Funding for the programs outlined in this report comes from a variety of sources, namely: DCR, local county governments, corporate sponsorship and donations.  Other funding comes from a variety of sources, mainly federal and state grants. All programs and services of the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis, without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or handicap.

Blue Ridge SWCD Meeting

The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District Board will meet on Monday, July 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:

Tumbler-style Compost Workshop

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.

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District will be conducting Tumbler-style Compost Workshop on the following dates:

September 30, 2021, October 28, 2021 and November 18, 2021 at the Essig Center on Technology Drive, Rocky Mount, VA.

For additional information, register on line (one week prior to the scheduled class) at https://www.playfranklincounty.com

Cost: $100/Composter

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:

September 16, 2021, October 7, 2021 and November 4, 2021 at the Essig Center on Technology Drive, Rocky Mount, VA.

For additional information, register on line (one week prior to the scheduled class) at https://www.playfranklincounty.com

Cost: $60/Rain Barrel

September 2021 Events

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  • September 16, 2021: Rain Barrel Workshop- Registration through https://www.playfranklincounty.com
  • September 27, 2021: Blue Ridge SWCD Monthly Board Meeting (refer to home page for location and time)
  • September 30, 2021: Tumbler-style Compost Workshop – Registration through https://www.playfranklincounty.com

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

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.