A weekly blog for all things conservation
From Kevin Brown, BCCD -this is a reprint from an web article I saw the other day. It hit home after I was mowing lawn the other day and was concerned of the number of honeybees that would not leave their flowers, even if I slowed way down, and went through the mower. Bees are already in huge decline without us killing even more this way. What is the answer?
Authors: Alex Schultz, Co-Chair of Pollenablers–Fox Cities, Bee City USA Appleton
Israel Del Toro, President of Appleton Pollinator Project, Bee Campus USA Lawrence University
The Appleton Bee City USA affiliate group, Pollenablers-Fox Cities, and the Bee Campus USA affiliate group, Appleton Pollinator Project, teamed up in 2020 to launch the United States’ first No Mow May initiative, an import from Great Britain’s Plantlife organization. The basic tenet of the program being the voluntary delay of early lawn mowing for the month of May increases spring pollinator habitat and foraging opportunities as early flowering grasses and sedges are allowed time to blossom and provide an essential boost of energy for pollinating insects.
Kevin Brown, BCCD, Ag Team Leader
I will call it this for lack of a better term right now. The Conservation District will hold a meeting this Saturday, the 14th, to talk about a number of outdoor, around-the-house topics. We get a lot of interest in our No-Till Garden information when we present it. This will be the first topic on the agenda. I will confess that I am no gardener. In fact, I used to hate gardening. However, I have found a new way- Mulch, Plant, Harvest, Repeat. Even I can do that little. I don’t have to till, and even better, I don’t have to weed or water it. I can enjoy my summer instead of chasing the garden chores the whole time.
By: Cathy Yeakel, BCCD District Manager
What did you do on Earth Day?
Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, as an environmental awareness day to educate people about pollution and its effects on the environment. Founded by a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day became a global movement to protect our environment. Since 1970, celebrations have changed from awareness lectures to outdoor events offering education on our natural resource issues and demonstrations.
Kevin Brown, BCCD, Ag Team Leader
So, it is that time of year again. Time to let the animals out to pasture. No more feeding them stored forages that you had to make. No more catering to their every whim. Now, they can be let out and go take care of themselves. Well, at least for a short period of time. We like to say that we are “pasturing” our animals, but are we really? Yes, there are some that are, and do a really good job of it. However, opening the gate and letting them roam free on the same pasture for the next 6-7 months is not pasturing. That is an exercise lot. Yea, there may be some grass growing there originally, but unless you have an expansive pasture, that goes away fast. And even if you have a big enough lot that you don’t have to feed them any stored forages, you really aren’t doing the best thing for any of the resources you have. I will try to give you some information on some of the things going on with this style of “pasturing” that you may not know. It could make you a lot more money.
By: Kevin Brown, BCCD
In case you missed last week’s meeting, I will give a quick overview of some of the information that was gone over at the meeting. First off, ANYONE that owns a farm animal needs to have a Manure Management Plan. Period. One chicken, one cow, one horse, etc. Now before you go getting all jacked up, it is easy as pie to do. We all know of an operation somewhere that only has a few animals and they are having a huge impact on the stream. (That’s PC for what’s really going on). This is why it applies to anyone having a farm animal. Now, if you want to write the plan yourself, go to www.paonestop.psu.edu and you have the ability to write your own plan. You do not need to send it in anywhere. No one needs to verify it. You just keep it, and keep records on where your manure goes. If you have any questions, contact me and I will help you work through it. For an operation with only a few animals, it won’t take long at all. And, if DEP or the Conservation District stops for any reason, it will be the first thing they ask for. It is law.
By Kevin Brown- BCCD, Ag team Leader
If you are a regular reader of the column, or you have read something that sparked your interest, or you just disagree with something you have read, here is your chance to talk about it. We have received a grant to hold two meetings to talk about a lot of the conservation practices that we continually talk about and promote. I am going to structure the meetings to be more informal where we can listen to each other and find out what experiences other locals have had. There are a lot of people out there that are a lot smarter than I am and they have maybe done things a certain way for a long period of time and have been very successful at it. Why wouldn’t we want to hear from them? If you would like to be one of “them”, or if you want to hear from “them”, make plans to be there. I think we have plenty of great topics to talk about.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag Team Leader, BCCD
Do you operate a chainsaw? It is probably one of the most dangerous things that one can do, especially now. Ash trees are everywhere, and they are all dead or dying. The woods are dangerous enough before we had that hazard. Now it is much worse. It is imperative that you know how to operate a saw safely. If you have ever looked into learning safe techniques to operating a chainsaw, you have probably heard of The Game of Logging. It is a world-class program designed to train people to be able to safely navigate the felling and cutting up of trees. It is a commercial logger training program taught at a “backwoods/weekender” level. It IS the standard and people that have attended it hold it in the highest regard. Do something for yourself that could potentially save your life. We all know people that have been killed in the woods. Let that statistic not be you. The course is being offered on March 12th by the Northern Tier Hardwood Association (NTHA). You must register and they are looking for participants. Please contact them at NTHA- Facebook, website, etc. Or contact us with the information below and we will steer you in the right direction. It is a top-notch program and you won’t be sorry.
By: Tim Robson, Dirt and Gravel Road Specialist, BCCD
This week’s article on maintenance will be the 1st of a four-part quarterly series on the seasonal maintenance that you see going on outside the windows of your homes and offices.
When is the “Winter Season”: As a rule, crews are prepared for Winter Weather and/or on call from October 15th through April 15th, although that is no guarantee they won’t see it outside of those dates. Most of us can remember unusually early and late snow falls. Halloween and Easter can occasionally be snow covered.
by Nate Reagle
It’s pretty safe to assume you’re familiar with groundhogs, especially considering our famous one in the limelight every February. While normal groundhogs, also known as woodchucks, lack the mystical power to predict the weather, they are still fascinating creatures. As members of the squirrel family, groundhogs have good balance and can climb and jump. It is not uncommon to see them in bushes, on stumps, or even on fences. Groundhogs are the largest Pennsylvania member of the squirrel family, but still retain some of the agility of tree-dwelling squirrels.
By: Tess Flynn-Belles, Natural Resource Specialist, Bradford County Conservation District
Psst… hey you… yeah, you. The one wrapped up on the couch in that new blanket you got for Christmas from Grandma Tilly. It’s me, the pond out back. I know it’s cold out here, believe me! Have you looked at me lately? I have a giant sheet of ice and snow covering me. I KNOW cold! That doesn’t mean that I still don’t have a lot going on underneath it all. I’ve still got plants that are photosynthesizing, and fish are still swimming around doing their thing. There are also a lot of fun activities that you can use me for in the winter as well. Maybe you could layer up and come out and visit me for a little while? You’d be helping me and my friends out big time.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District