A weekly blog for all things conservation
By Ryan Reed: A reprint from Forest Fridays- A DCNR publication.
My first memories of woolly bears come from childhood, when a friend and I began capturing as many furry caterpillars as we could find one fall. Some of them were tan, some white; others were completely black, or brown and black. We caught a lot of flak from my friend’s dad when we released them all into his sunporch.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the black and brown ones were woolly bears (Pyrrharctia isabella), which I gradually came to view as symbols of fall and harbingers of winter. I’m fairly certain it was my grandmother who first told me that the blacker the woolly bear, the harder the winter will be. She and my grandfather seemed to always have a wives tale for any occasion, one that typically started with, “they say…” .
Helping Preserve Bradford County’s Heritage:
Become a Member of the Farmland Preservation Board
By: Megan Rought, Farmland Preservation
ATTENTION ALL FARMERS!! I have a few questions for you. How important is being rural and having beautiful wide-open spaces around you? How important is your farmland to you? How important is it that the next generation carries on your legacy and continues to farm the same piece of ground that you have farmed for the last however many years? Maybe it was even handed down through multiple generations to you, and you want to continue the tradition. How much do you despise to seeing the next piece of pristine farmland be turned into a parking lot, shopping center, or some other sort of development? If you answered that you land is very important to you, that you hope one day someone will continue farming your land and that you hate when you see a prime piece of farmland developed, then I have a great opportunity for you!
By: Tess Flynn-Belles, Natural Resource Specialist
During the growing season, the Conservation District can anticipate receiving several calls from landowners who own ponds asking how to control and treat aquatic plants. There are many options to consider, but the first question that needs to be addressed is, “What plant species are you trying to treat?”. The method of treatment will vary on what plant species you are targeting. In this article, we will briefly discuss the three basic methods of treatment (biological, chemical and physical) and some pros and cons of each.
Kevin Brown, Ag Resource Specialist, BCCD
So you have animals, or you want to get some. You may have 1-2 acres that you can put them on, or you may have 10 acres. To most people, when they look at that much land, they think “That is a lot of land and it will support however many animals I want to have”. Let’s be honest, 3-5 horses on one full acre of ground doesn’t look like much. Neither does 15 cows on a full 10 acres of land. So, you get the number of animals you want and start a farm. All is well. The animals have plenty enough land to roam on. They are comfortable and happy. And when you start supplementing them with hay, you don’t think anything about it. That is how it is supposed to be. Right? Well, no, not really. Not for you or the environment.
Jonathan VanNoy, Natural Resource Specialist, BCCD
Recently I was working out in one of our local streams, and I was observing some of the vegetation that was growing on the stream banks and even in the stream channel itself. Several plants stood out; raspberries hung heavy on their prickly stems, and the bank I stood beside was woven with broad, three-pointed green leaves and large, five petaled purple flowers. These were identified through a cell phone app as flowering raspberries- a surprise to me! However, the main plants that drew my attention (maybe because we practically had to wade through them) were the masses of Jewelweed, which sprawled from water’s edge all the way across beds of gravel to the foot of the stream banks.
(With something conservation related, of course)
Kevin Brown, BCCD, Ag Resource Specialist
You always have to read the fine print. LOL. We are the Conservation District. We do conservation work. What is that? In a nutshell, I would say that we want to specialize in helping people conserve their natural resources. We have written other articles on it so I will not go too much further with a definition. We are not pure protectionist, but we would like to conserve what we have in hopes to give the next generation the same, or better. I have not seen the study, but supposedly there is a study out there that finds that the happiest people are people that spend a lot of time outdoors. Their fondest memories are of them playing outside as children. I can attest to that. I love the outdoors. Taking walks in nature, listening to the sounds (birds, bees, water running, etc.), looking at all the different plants out there, what the animals are doing, etc. Immerse yourself in it. Don’t just be outside, BE outside. Be one with nature. (Did you know there are apps that will tell you what kind of bird is making that noise? Or what plant that is? I don’t want to put myself out of a job, but how cool is that? I walk around my property now, with my phone in hand, identifying all the different bird sounds and plants out there.) Now those are the things that I would like to conserve as much as possible. Is that anything that excites you? If so, maybe we can help.
Tim Robson, Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Specialist
Maybe that has been your complaint or your gripe this summer or in summers past, it seems like they are always on your road. But, chances are that your local maintenance crew is just trying to get the many things done that they need to do before the next weather season comes along. We often underestimate or fail to understand just how much these crews are asked to do in a year’s time with a small crew, limited equipment and in some cases, limited training. For instance, an un-named township in our county has nearly 80 miles of road system to maintain, 20 of which is hard surfaced road (Tar and chip or asphalt). So, you can see how this presents a significant challenge for any size road crew.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag Team Leader
So, my first comment is “nothing can compete with well managed grass in the northeast”. If you manage and feed your grasses correctly, they will outcompete everything else. If you have weeds, it is because the grasses are not being managed as well as they can be. They are lacking a good cutting schedule or nutrients. Depending on the weed, cutting them on a timely basis will help a lot. Most weeds we deal with are annuals. They live one year. You cut hem before they go to seed then you have that many less weed seeds next year. Do that a few years in a row and there are “no” seeds left to germinate. Now, that does not work on perennials. They will be harder to deal with. Call me and we can discuss how to handle them. It will depend on the weed.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag Team Leader
I was struggling for a good topic this week when I guy walked in and started asking me about reseeding a field. How to do it, what he should use, etc. I think there are still enough people out there making hay on a lot of Bradford County fields so I will hit that topic this week. First off, we need rain! For non-farmers, how could you ask for a better year? Warm, dry, just beautiful weather. For farmers and gardeners, not so much.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag Team leader
Enough said, right. The Troy Fair. The biggest event to hit Bradford County since (I don’t know, dinosaurs?? LOL). We have rides and animals and attractions and (oh yea) FOOD. It is not an official count, but I think we have been going at this for just shy of 150 years. That is a long time. The fair is an enjoyable time for whatever reason you go. There will be cattle and sheep and chickens and whatever animals you can think of. We will have the normal- fish, snakes (I hope. I have to catch them yet and NO these ones in the picture are not the ones that I will have at the fair!), critters, and educational stuff. I hope to see you there. If you are a regular reader, you can feel free to stop in and tell me what a wonderful job I am doing, or that I have lost my mind and don’t have a clue what is going on out there in the real world. Either way, I will enjoy the conversation.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District