Blue Ridge SWCD Meetings

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District Board is scheduled to meet on Monday, June 22, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. at Ippy’s Restaurant & Lounge and the Budget/Finance Committee will meet at 4:30 p.m. at the Rocky Mount USDA Service Center. Please contact Kathy Smith in advance at 352-3314 if you plan to attend a district meeting.

Blue Ridge SWCD Welcomes New Director

In November 2019, Freeda Cathcart was elected as the Blue Ridge SWCD’s newest director, representing the City of Roanoke. In the early 1990’s, Cathcart was the President of the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op. She was one of the Founders of the Left Bank Land Co. in Floyd, Virginia working with the shareholders to create the “Artesia” Land Trust on their property in 1995. Artesia protects the watershed and the old growth forest from being developed for future generations. The property associated with the Left Bank Land Co. supports several successful farm market growers and independent cottage industries. 

Cathcart currently serves on the “League of Women Voters of the Roanoke Valley” and “Points of Diversity” boards. She and her husband of 32 years have four children. She enjoys hiking, kayaking and singing in her church’s choir.

Septic Grant Extended through June 2020

            Funding through the Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District to reimburse homeowners for 50% of the costs of septic system pump-outs, public sewer hook-ups (where available), repairs, and replacements has been extended through June 30th, 2020. Residents of Henry County, Virginia. Applicants must live in the portion of the Smith River watershed northwest of Martinsville and the Blackberry Creek watershed in Henry County. Residents who live in this area and are experiencing issues with their septic system are encouraged to apply for assistance. Funding rates may be eligible to be increased in lower income situations.

To learn more about our septic program, determine if you live in an eligible watershed, or request an application, please contact Michael Tabor or Allen Jackson at 540-352-3312. Inquiries can also be submitted via email at or and during regular office hours (8-4:30 p.m M-F) at 1297 State Street, Rocky Mount, VA 24151.

Virginia Dominion Energy State Competition T-shirt Contest Criteria

The Virginia Dominion Energy Envirothon is an annual competition where high school students work together as a team of five students to answer questions about natural resources. To showcase the current issue theme of the Envirothon; 9th-12th graders from around Virginia are invited to compete to design the T-shirt that will be worn at the 2020 Virginia Dominion Energy Envirothon State Competition. Students are encouraged to submit a design showcasing the current issue theme- Water Resources Management: Local Control and Local Solutions. The winning entry will be used for the 2020 T-Shirt that teams will wear at the Virginia Dominion Energy Envirothon State Competition. Student entries will be judged by Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts staff. The student with the winning design will receive $50.00 and two of the printed T-Shirts. This contest is open to public, private, or homeschooled students in grades 9-12. Submissions will be judged based on the following criteria:

*Design (cohesiveness of composition), expression (communicative quality), and originality (novel or unique solution).

Design criteria:

* Each design must illustrate either in pictures, words or both the 2020 current issue theme Water Resource Management: Local Control and Local Solutions

*Design is for the front of the T-shirt. The back will be designed by VASWCDEF staff to include the Dominion Energy Logo and Location of the event information.

*Entries should be submitted as a medium resolution JPEG or hard copy no larger than 8.5 x 11. Black and white design, NOT in pencil. The artist might be able to specify an appropriate background (shirt color), however it will depend on colors that are available.

*Only one entry per student. No entries will be returned Remember the winning design will be placed on the front of a T-Shirt. Try to keep this in mind when coming up with your design so it’s not too small or too large. Deadline for Submissions – March 27th, 2020.

Questions-Contact Bonnie Mahl, Education & Training Coordinator at Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation 804-559-0324