2020 Dominion Envirothon: “Water Resources Management: Local Control-Local Solutions”

Envirothon is a hand-on environmental problem-solving competition for high school students.  Teams are tested in five areas.  #1 Environmental Issues:  Students are tested on a current environmental issue with an in-field test and oral presentation.  Students present their solutions , to be judged, to a panel of professionals.  #2 Aquatics: Students work along marine and freshwater biologists to assess the quality of delicate aquatic ecosystems.  Students learn to identify aquatic organisms, manage watershed and determine non-point source pollution.  #3 Soils:  Professional soil scientists help students learn about soil structure, interpret maps, evaluate land forms, and understand soil characteristics that affect both agriculture and urban development. #4 Wildlife: Students learn first hand from wildlife experts about animal populations, identification and the importance of habitat conservation. # 5 Forestry: With the help of professional foresters, students learn the basics of tree identification, forest structure and how to maintain healthy forest ecosystems.

A $50,000 Dominion Foundation grant has made Dominion the primary state sponsor for the program. The Dominion Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dominion Energy (NYSE:D). Envirothon is run by the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) and Virginia’s 47 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. 

Fueled by Dominion’s generous sponsorship, Virginia’s 2019 Dominion Envirothon was bigger and more competitive than ever. Individuals interested in volunteering or learning more about starting an Envirothon team at their high school, 4-H, FFA, Ecology club or home school group, should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District or the VASWCD at (804) 559-0324.

How to form a team:

Teams consist of at least 5 members and must be in grades 9-12.  FFA, 4-H, home school and scout groups are also eligible. Coaches may be a teacher, coach, or enthusiastic adult willing to help.

Henry County Envirothon Team (orange t-shirts) placed first overall and Franklin County Envirothon Team placed second overall at the April 2019 Area V Envirothon competition at Gentry Farm in Ringold, VA
Henry County’s Envirothon Team placed 8th overall and Franklin County’s Envirothon Team placed 9th overall at the Dominion Envirothon state competition at Mary Washington University in May 2019.

Win Scholarships & Prizes

Winners compete at local, regional, and state competitions.  First place state winners go on to the national level to compete for scholarship money and prizes.

Why Should You Participate?

Learn about important environmental issues*Gain hands-on experience in solving real-world problems*Great for college and job applications*Spend time with teammates and friends*Possibly travel across the country to the North American Envirothon for a chance to win scholarships and prizes!

For More Information

on forming an Envirothon Team within the Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and City of Roanoke areas contact Kathy Smith at (540) 352-3314 * Ksmith@brswcd.org or Bonnie Mahl at Bonnie.mahl@vaswcd.org (804) 559-0324 at the VASWCD office.  Click below to download the upcoming 2020 Area V Envirothon Workshop and this year’s Envirothon Oral Presentation Question:

2020 Environmental Education Scholarship Opportunity-Apply Now

2020 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 2020 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 Scholarship-Guidelines-Application form. Each qualified student is asked to complete VASWCD Educational Foundation 2020 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 Thursday, March 9, 2020 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 Scholarship Guidelines and application below:

2019 Stream Side Trees In the Classroom

Streamside Trees in the Classroom (STIC) is an environmental education program that allows students to learn about water quality and the importance of streamside vegetation.  The program was created in 2012 as a partnership between Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at Philpott Lake.  The program serves Martinsville City, Franklin County, Henry County (Magna Vista High School), and Patrick County Public Schools, specifically targeting 4th grade students.  This aligns with the Every Kid in a Park Initiative that USACE also works with.

The program has been funded through grants, but most recently supported through donations. The Army Corps of Engineers covers the cost of the trees.  Therefore, no cost to the schools aside from mileage/bus costs to get to the planting location.

In the STIC program students root native Black Willow cuttings in the classroom for about three to four weeks and then take a field trip to Philpott Lake, or an approved location, and plant the trees along a creek or area that is in need of streamside restoration.  Trees along streams help keep water clean by buffering out pollution like chemicals and litter, and help keep the streams at cooler temperatures during the summer.  The trees also provide habitat for wildlife seeking food or water, and shelter.

The trees are delivered to the classrooms late August or early September and are typically planted in the fall on specific “Planting Days”.  When the trees are delivered to the schools, USACE or DRBA typically provides a 20-30 minute presentation for the students.  And, we usually have five Planting Days for the program – one for Patrick County schools, one for Martinsville City schools, and three for Franklin County schools.

Any materials needed for the program such as cost of trees, jars, and tubs to hold the trees will be covered through donations.  Jars and tubs are used to transport the trees to the designated Planting Day locations and then returned to USACE to be used for the following school year.

Planting Days usually last from 9:45 am – 1:30 pm, but some schools may need to leave early in the afternoon to return to school for dismissal.  We usually have partner organization that are natural resource focused like Reynolds Homestead, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency take part in providing activities and/or educational booths for the students during their Planting Days.  During October 2019 Planting Days, 500 students participated by planting approximately 200 trees.

Reynolds Homestead – https://photos.app.goo.gl/VHs82gNhrLRXRCno9

Booker T Washington – https://photos.app.goo.gl/PtjvRsnAU49yA9Lu6

Martinsville Dick & Willie – https://photos.app.goo.gl/CJmGg4qm4r2Wsrdw7

Salthouse Branch – https://photos.app.goo.gl/2esV2u5yXRxmERF16

Springtime Snow Dance

On behalf of the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts Marketing Committee and the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District we would like to Congratulate Sarah Baumgardner on her photo Springtime Snow Dance”as being chosen as Honorable Mentioned in the 2018 VASWCD photo contest. Over 180 photos were submitted for the 2018 contest. “Springtime Snow Dance” was photographed by Sarah Baumgardner within the Mountain Castle SWCD area.

 

At 8:00 AM Wednesday September 26, voting will begin on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Virginia-Association-of-Soil-Water-Conservation-Districts-VASWCD-184156224952486/, to choose the People’s Choice award.  “Springtime Snow Dance” along with 9 others is in the running for this award so please ask all your friends and family to like our page and vote for your favorite photo!

 

We encourage you to submit your 2019 winning photo to the National Association of Conservation Districts Photo Contest.  More information about the contest can be found here- /http://www.nacdnet.org/general-resources/stewardship-and-education-materials/contests/  The deadline for submitting photos is Dec. 1st, 2018.

 

 

2020 NACD/VASWCD Poster Contest for Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties & City of Roanoke (Blue Ridge SWCD)

The annual Conservation Poster Contest provides kindergarten through twelfth grade students an opportunity to convey their thoughts about soil, water and related natural resource issues through art. It also highlights the educational outreach efforts of conservation districts and their state conservation associations, auxiliaries and agencies. The poster contest theme follows the annual NACD Stewardship theme.

Each year, the poster contest starts at the district level. Individuals and teachers with questions regarding district contests should contact their local district. To locate your local district search our online SWCD Directory or contact the VASWCD. District winners advance to the state level. Local SWCDs should forward their local winning poster entries to the VASWCD office for consideration at the state level. Blue Ridge SWCD (serving Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke) will need to submit these poster winners to the VASWCD for consideration by October 16, 2020. Finally, state winners advance to the National Contest. National winners are recognized each year at the NACD Annual Meeting.

The deadline to submit your 2020 NACD/VASWCD post contest entry to the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District (1297 State Street*Rocky Mount*VA*24151 –  (540) 352-3314)  no later than Monday, September 7, 2020 at the close of business (4:30 pm)

Any Girl Scout  or Boy Scout who creates a poster and submits it to their local SWCD for judging can earn the VASWCD Poster Contest Patch.  When submitting a poster to earn the Poster Contest Patch, be sure to check the box on the entry form. For more information about the VASWCD Poster Contest Patch check out our click on the patch or check out our  Scout Patch Program

2020 Contest Theme

“Were Would We Bee Without Pollinators”

Poster Categories by Grade:

  • K-1st
  • 2nd-3rd
  • 4th-6th
  • 7th-9th
  • 10th-12th

The contest is open to public, private or home school students, girl scout/boy scout troops, etc.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT (official rules, recommended tips for a successful poster, etc. go to http://vaswcd.org/poster-contest

Residential Septic Grant Funding Available for Upper Smith River & Blackberry Creek Watersheds in Henry County

 

We’ll pay 50% of your septic repair bill!

Pump outs, repairs, replacements

**Grant funding available for residents of the Upper Smith River and Blackberry Creek Watersheds in Henry County. **

Financial assistance available to all income levels.

How the program works:

  • Contact us for an application and to determine if you qualify
  • Wait to perform any work on your system until your application has been approved

Funding available until June 30, 2019

Contact Michael Tabor:

(276) 632-3164 ext. 122

mtabor@brswcd.org

Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District

1297 State St, Rocky Mount, VA 24151

Located in the USDA Service Center beside the Comfort Inn.

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the U.S. EPA and the VA Dept. of Environmental Quality under a Section 319 grant agreement 16545 to Blue Ridge SWCD. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the EPA or DEQ, nor does the EPA or DEQ endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this document.

2020 Youth Conservation Camp Applications Available – Apply Now!

The Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District is offering scholarship(s) to a limited number of qualified applicant(s) within Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke to attend an expense paid, week-long conservation camp at Virginia Tech.  Camp dates are Sunday, July 12 through Saturday, July 18, 2020.  Soil and Water Conservation officials from the local, state and federal levels and Virginia Tech faculty members work together to conduct the camp.

Applicants must be in grades 9 through 12 of the 2019-2020 academic school year.  Twelfth graders who graduate from high school in May, June, July or August 2020 are eligible to attend.  Previous youth conservation campers cannot attend.  Please contact Kathy Smith, Program Manager/Education Coordinator at Ksmith@brswcd.org or (540) 352-3314.

YCC Group Picture

The 2020 Youth Conservation Camp applications are to be received by the Blue Ridge District office no later than by the close of business on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

The scholarship winner(s) will be notified by the district as soon as possible.

Submitted applications will be reviewed and screened by the Blue Ridge SWCD Scholarship Committee. Upon notification, the winner(s) will be required to send $75.00 to the Blue Ridge SWCD.  This $75 will be fully refunded upon completion of the camp and a brief report to the directors about their camp adventures.  Travel to and from the camp is the responsibility of the student.  Click on the link below to download the 2020 Youth Conservation Camp application:

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute Accepting Applications!

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute(YCLI) is a recognition program for students 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 choose projects that they are interested in to carryout in their community.

As a participant in the Youth Conservation Leadership Institute, students will be required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service with a focus in the natural resources conservation field.  Students are encouraged to focus work with the local Soil & Water Conservation District but any work that contributes to pollution prevention, natural resources conservation, and promotion of environmental literacy will be accepted.  All projects must have a confirmed mentor which may be a local SWCD, government agency, community leader, or similar local organization.

YCLI is open to any Virginia high school student committed to the entirety of the program including:

  • Completion of at least 20 community service hours to be approved by the VASWCD staff.
  • Submission of one interim and final report/presentation on the community work completed.
  • Attendance at the final recognition program to be held March 2018.
  • Read an assigned book on environmental leadership for a group discussion

 

Click to access the 2017 -2018 YCLI Application and applications are due to me by Aug 18th, 2017.  For additional information visit http://vaswcd.org/ycli

 

Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s MWEE Gets Face Lift

Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s MWEE “face lift” along Powder Mill Creek is credited to the Pathfinders for Greenways under the direction of Greenways Coordinator Liz Belcher and Mid-Week Crew Director, Bill Gordge.  Since August 2016 the Mid-Week Crew has been diligently working to install best management practices designed to reduce erosion and sediment build-up along Powder Mill Creek located next to Benjamin Franklin Middle School. The strategic design includes a switch back reinforced with crusher run and stone, board walk, wooden bridge access, and relocating certain sections of the newly incorporated circular path.  Additional necessities of this MWEE project include an outdoor classroom complete with instructor podium and observation tables along the section of creek where the approximately 600 6th graders eagerly test the water quality and enjoy the natural beauty of Powder Mill Creek.

To read more about the Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s MWEE Program click on this link:2016-bfms-creek-week-franklin-news-post-review-oct-7th

bfmw-mwee-oct-2016-c bfmw-mwee-oct-2016-e 2016-bmfs-amphitheater-3 bfms-mwee-oct-2016-e bfms-mwee-oct-2016-d bfms-mwee-oct-2016-f 2016-bmfs-mwee-sept-15 2016-bmfs-mwee-sept-16 2016-bmfs-mwee-sept-10 2016-bmfs-mwee-sept-7 2016-bmfs-mwee-sept-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonpoint Source Success Story: Blackwater River

blackwater-riverAgricultural Best management Practices Improve Aquatic Life in the Blackwater River

 

High sediment loadings led to violations of the general standard for aquatic life use in Franklin County’s Blackwater River.  As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added two segments of the Lower Blackwater River to the 2008 Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters. Landowners installed agricultural best management practices (BMPs); these decreased edge-of-field sediment loading and helped improve water quality.  Because of this improvement, DEQ removed two segments of the Blackwater River from Virginia’s 2014 list of impaired waters for biological impairment.  To read more click on this link 2014-delisted-blackwater