A weekly blog for all things conservation
Reprinted from Forest Fridays- a DCNR publication.
by Ryan Reed, Natural Resource Program Specialist, Bureau of Forestry.
Just a few years ago the topic of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) was at the forefront of natural science and media inquiry in Pennsylvania. CCD is the term applied to the sudden deaths of entire honeybee colonies, many of which are domesticated hives. The phenomenon of CCD portended the potential for massive losses of food production capability, as domesticated bees (through pollination) are responsible for a reported one-third of all the food we eat. CCD has no doubt affected food supplies and cost.
Research points to multiple reasons for CCD, suggesting a synergistic effect between these factors, which include chemicals like insecticides and herbicides, parasitic mites and other pathogens, and loss of habitat.
Reprint from Forest Fridays, DCNR newsletter.
By: Ryan Reed, Natural Resource Program Specialist, Bureau of Forestry.
The term “weed” has a very negative connotation in the eyes of most gardeners and horticulture professionals. Merriam-Webster defines a weed as “a plant that is not valued where it is growing.”
I’ve spent countless hours, with many a subsequent back ache, pulling weeds in my gardens. They grow relentlessly it seems, and every spring I know the task begins anew.
By: Miranda Neville, Agricultural Resource Specialist
Looking at the farmers in my life, some were born in to a seventh generation legacy while others chose to be first generation farmers but they all have one specific thing in common. No matter how long they have been farming they will spend their lives building their operation to create a legacy all their own. If (emphasis on ‘IF’) the day comes that they decide to retire or step back from farming, they want to be sure whoever takes the reigns will love and appreciate it just as they do. Finding someone who will take pride in what they do and who shares a passion for agriculture and their land is a rarity. So how does someone who spent their life cultivating their hopes and dreams (not to mention their life savings) ensure their legacy will live on?
By: Kevin Brown, BCCD, Ag Team Leader
We had a meeting at the Fire Hall a couple weeks ago where we talked about no till gardening, stormwater control, rain barrels, rain gardens, pollinators, and the like. At the end of the meeting, one of the attendees came up to me and had a story about a neighbor spraying their “weeds”. It reminded me of a couple stories that I had that were very similar. His story went like this: He is a farmer and he uses herbicides. He has neighbors that have various opinions on sprays. We all do. He tries to be as conscientious as he can be with what he is using. He needs a license to use them, he has to go through training, and he knows any herbicide he is using as well as anyone can. He has a neighbor that is anti-Roundup to the max. Some people are. Is it media or facts? I don’t know, and it is not the reason for the article. For this person, sprays in general can be used, but Roundup is (insert your worst verb or pronoun here). As he was working his field one day, he witnesses his neighbor come out with their sprayer, fill it, go spray “weeds”, and come back to refill. They do this maybe 3-4 times before he decides he needs to go talk to this person. As he is asking about what they are doing, they tell him that “at least it is not Roundup!!!”. He asks to see what they are using, and how much. He informs them that the amount that they had already used probably could have done an entire field, not the little, tiny area that they had covered. The response was, “But I want it DEAD (GONE)!!!”. So, Roundup is bad, but putting 10x the amount of herbicide needed on an area is ok??? (And not the right spray for the job either) I have had the exact same conversation with other people, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share at least a couple of comments on this topic.
By: Joe Quatrini; Technical Team Leader; BCCD
Have you ever seen something that was different than what you’re used to and thought “Hmm, that’s different it must be BAD!” Maybe you’re not even sure what you’re looking at but you decide you should hate it, just because it’s a change or you don’t understand it. Unfortunately, it’s almost what our brains are trained to do these days, especially in today’s society. We see something and judge it before we even try to figure out what it is. We often see this when it comes to projects we’re part of.
Take for example one initiative we are working on to help our municipalities and private landowners reduce flooding and prevent costly damage when storms hit. This initiative has to do with making stream crossings bigger. “What’s a stream crossing?” you ask. Great question and thanks for asking! A stream crossing is where a road (or a driveway) and a stream (creek, brook, run, river, etc.) intersect or cross one another. If you drive on a road and look out the window and see a stream coming right at the road and you don’t get wet, that probably means that stream is flowing through some type of pipe or bridge under the road. Obvious, right?
By: Tim Robson; DGLVR Specialist.
In this week’s column we are bring you the second of what will be 4 articles this year, all of which will focus on the different seasons of Municipal maintenance. We will explain what you may see going on in your township and why. After all, in know many of us have wondered why are the doing what they are doing? This of course is a general overview and may very depending on municipality. Everyone does things a little different. I will simply explain the process from my view as a former Road Forman and current Dirt and Gravel Road Specialist here at the Bradford County Conservation District. For this first article we will focus on the upcoming spring maintenance season.
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.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District