Over 35 years ago, The NEED Project began as a one-day celebration of energy education when National Energy Education Day was recognized by a Joint Congressional Resolution. In the same year, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation stressing the need for comprehensive energy education in our schools, a reduction of our dependence of fossil fuels, and increasing use of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency. Since its founding, NEED has kept its Kids Teaching Kids philosophy as a fundamental principle of NEED programming – encouraging students to explore, experiment, and engage, and encouraging teachers to embrace student leadership in the classroom. NEED trains and assists teachers in harnessing the energy of the classroom – the energy of students. NEED is expanding and evolving to best meet the needs of teachers and students – in the classroom and beyond… NEED students are the future of the energy workforce. Students interested in engineering, science, economics, environmental sciences, law, geology and a host of other disciplines have a role in the energy industry. We work hard to help teachers meet the requirements of state standards, Common Core, and the Next Generation Science Standards. As states adopt their new standards, NEED will continue working to provide state alignments to our entire curriculum portfolio. To learn more about NEED visit https://need.org.
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.
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.email@example.com (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:
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
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.
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 “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
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
High bacteria loadings led to violations of Virginia’s Water Quality Standard (WQS) for designated recreation (swimming) use in Big Chestnut Creek. As a result, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) added the creek to its 2004 Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list of impaired waters. From 2007 through 2012, stakeholders installed various agricultural and residential practices in the Big Chestnut Creek watershed that decreased nonpoint source runoff. As a result, Virginia DEQ removed Big Chestnut Creek from its 2014 list of impaired waters based on attainment of the bacteria WQS. To read more click on this link 2014-delisted-bigchestnut
Resource management plans are a new way for agricultural producers and landowners to preserve soil and water quality while improving their bottom line. Plus, there’s this bonus: Farms operating under an RMP plan are deemed to be in compliance with state nutrient and sediment standards for nine years. The program was launched in 2014 and has been endorsed by both agricultural and environmental leaders. Participation in an RMP plan is completely voluntary, and there’s funding available to help landowners initiate the program.
The program encourages farmers to have a private-sector developer create an RMP plan for their farm or a portion of it. The plan will take into account the property’s existing stream buffer, soil conservation, nutrient management and stream-exclusion practices. The developer will inform the landowner of any additional practices that need to be implemented to qualify for the RMP certificate.
Once the plan is approved and implemented, the property owner is granted certainty from state nutrient and sediment water quality standards for the next nine years.
While the program is new, it’s based on conservation practices that have been used successfully for years. The mix of practices not only helps prevent water pollution, but they keep farms efficient and profitable. Nutrient management plans and soil conservation practices can help maintain nutrients and reduce soil loss. Stream exclusion often leads to healthy herds, fewer veterinary costs and more marketable livestock.
Another positive for the agricultural community is that the program enables better tracking of practices that are in place. This ensures that farmers receive the credit they deserve for helping to protect soil and water resources across Virginia.
Funding is available through the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share program to fund both development of RMPs and the practices needed to complete one.
For more information, including contact information for certified resource management plan developers, visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil_and_water/rmp.shtml. Or, contact your local soil and water conservation district. For those living in Franklin, Henry, Roanoke Counties and the City of Roanoke, contact Michael Tabor (Conservation Technician) at the Blue Ridge Soil & Water Conservation District by calling (540) 483-5341 ext. 122. For Henry County residents call us at (276) 632-3164 ext. 3. Click here to discover the 9 things producers should know: RMP_9Things-brochure
A septic system is a wastewater treatment system connected to your home that consists of a septic tank, a distribution box and a drain field. All are underground. Septic systems are used widely in areas not served by public sewer. The purpose of a septic system is to carry wastes and wastewater away from your home and to treat it so that it is safe when it reaches the ground water supply, which is used for drinking water supplies and recreation. Each part of the system plays an important role and must be properly maintained to function properly.
* Do you know where your septic system is located?
* Can you recall the last time our septic system was pumped?
* How can you tell if your septic system has failed?
* Does it help to add yeast to your septic system?
* How do household cleaners affect your septic system?
* How often should you have your septic system inspected?
* How familiar are you with the septic system “DO’s and DON’Ts”?
For answers to these questions and more contact your local health department and visit- http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/pdf/ww/septic/pl_fall04.pdf