2022-2023 Youth Conservation Leadership Institute- Apply Now

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 maura.christian@vaswcd.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 maura.christian@vaswcd.org  or (804) 559-0324.

September 8, 2022Permalink

2023 College Scholarship Opportunity Available for students pursuing a natural resource conservation or related field

The VASWCD Educational Foundation scholarship program promotes the education of Virginia citizens in technical fields with a natural resource conservation and environmental protection emphasis. The program provides financial support to students majoring in or showing a strong desire to major in a course curriculum related to natural resource conservation and/or environmental studies. Annually the Foundation provides four $1000 statewide scholarships in addition to the many local SWCD scholarship opportunities.

2023 Prospective scholarship candidates – Individual applicants must be Virginia residents and full-time college freshmen or high school senior students  who have applied to a college freshman level curriculum. Applicants shall document a class ranking in the top 20% of his or her graduating class or a 3.0 or greater Grade Point Average or appropriate equivalent of individual scholastic achievement.  The applicant’s most recent official high school transcript must accompany the application. A copy of a school transcript will not be accepted.  Applicants shall demonstrate active interest in conservation.

We encourage applicants who were high school seniors in 2022 to apply again in 2023 as scholarship guidelines allow those “enrolled in a freshman college curriculum or applying to a college freshmen level curriculum” to be considered.

April 19, 2022Permalink

2023 Youth Conservation Camp – Camper Applications are now OPEN!

Youth Conservation Camp

For over 40 years, the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts has sponsored a week long summer conservation camp for Virginia high school students (currently enrolled in grades 9th-12th) on the campus of Virginia Tech. The program brings together about 70 interested students for a week of learning about Virginia’s natural resources from conservation professionals and faculty from Virginia Tech. Most of the instruction is hands-on and outdoors.

Scholarship funding to cover the registration fee may be available from your local Soil & Water Conservation District.

Youth Conservation Camp is open to all Virginia students enrolled in High School for the current year. 

2023 Youth Conservation Camp will be held July 9-15th, 2023! Camper applications are now OPEN.

The Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District is accepting applications for 9-12 grade students within the Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and City of Roanoke. The 2023 Youth Conservation Camp application deadline is Friday, April 14, 2023 at the close of business.

March 17, 2022Permalink

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 Evaluations

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)
SCOUT PATCH LEADERS GUIDE
March 17, 2022Permalink

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute:

What is it and how does it work?

FrogletsInWater

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

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:

March 30, 2023 (Thursday)

April 27, 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:

April 6, 2023 (Thursday)

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