A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Jonathan VanNoy, Natural Resource Specialist
If I were to tell you to close your eyes and describe what comes to mind when you hear the word “wetland”, what would you describe? A stagnant, slimy waterbody? A grassy, soupy area with cattails? Maybe that lower field that you can only make hay on every few years? How about that special place that you love to hunt ducks, or trap muskrats? You may have an archery stand on the edge of a swamp that comes to mind. You might describe that spot in your woods that pools water each spring, and for one or two warm nights a year is just crawling with toads or salamanders as they congregate to lay masses of eggs. (Go to a local vernal pool, pond, swamp or wetland on a warm, spring evening and pull up a chair and just listen and watch. There is NOTHING that can compare to the sound you will hear if the frogs or toads have congregated!)
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader, Bradford County Conservation District
Sustainable food production and distribution is getting people’s attention today. Thankfully, we have had leaders among us who haven’t taken this for granted. Let’s remember some.
By: Guest Columnist Cheyenne Bastian-Brown, Bradford County FFA President
What do you think of when you hear FFA? When confronted with the concept of what FFA (formally known as the National Future Farmers of America Organization) is, many people focus primarily on the word farmer and look no further for any other explanation. Since the title includes the phrase “Future Farmer,” it is then believed that each member of the organization is in pursuance of one day becoming a farmer, a landowner, and someone to feed the world population… nothing else. Typically, this is the idea that most parent/guardians have in mind when their student pursues an interest in agricultural education.
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader, BCCD
Early each year the Bradford County Conservation District’s agriculture committee holds a strategy session. We consider how we are accomplishing our mission and reconnect with WHY we do what we do. Our mission (from an agricultural perspective) is to engage farmers and consumers to manage resources wisely. When we ask ourselves why, the answers sum up something like this – “because the small decisions we can impact today, turn into foundations for generations.” We use words like this and others like - planning ahead, lasting, sparking curiosity, and coming alive, to describe the process we go through in understanding the natural system. Learning to make wise use of natural resources like soil, water, air, sunlight, plants and wildlife can again shift a farmer’s perspective from work to worthy enterprise, and a consumer’s perspective from food to health.
By: Tori Welliver, Dirt Gravel & Low Volume Roads Specialist
While the best time to plant a tree is during our first seedling sale 50 years ago, the second-best time is today!
Planting trees is an investment in the future and locals have been making that investment through the conservation district’s annual sale for 50 years. Each winter when the “green papers” start showing up at local store fronts, we know that spring is drawing near.
By: Kevin Brown, Agricultural Resource Specialist
Every year the Conservation District organizes education days at all the local schools. We bring in the Game Commission, beekeepers, maple producers, farmers, and the like. We also do a station or two ourselves. Luckily, I often get to run one of the stations. It is the most fun I have all year. I love educating young people. I tweak my topic each time I do it, but the most basic stuff is always there. I try to bring it “home” for them. I would like to ask all of you the same thing I ask them, and really try to bring it “home” to you. What are the four things that we absolutely, positively must have to survive day in and day out? The younger kids usually get close to the right answers. I am sure there are some older folks that think cell phone, internet, cable TV and a car. You know the good stuff. My, how some of us have become “removed” from the important things that we absolutely MUST have. Have you guessed any of the four things yet?
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader
The Bradford County Conservation District celebrated difference makers at its annual appreciation dinner Friday night at the Troy Sale Barn. Volunteers were appreciated, land managers recognized, projects highlighted, supporters thanked and advances simply celebrated.
We all could stand to improve our habit of celebrating both big and little successes.
Conservation Districts set up within county jurisdictions across the country are boards of local residents who help promote sound use of natural resources in the community. Bradford County has excelled since its humble 1956 inception. Partnerships with land managers and community members are what make the wheels turn.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag. Resource Specialist
Yes, that is what I said, a garden that takes no work. This is a picture of our garden here at the office. I mulched it, planted it, spent maybe 15 minutes (total) weeding it at different times, and am now harvesting it. I know there are a lot of non-believers out there. My wife said it wouldn’t work. My co-workers said it wouldn’t work and wanted to know who was going to be the one spending the time needed to weed and water it. My response was, “if it works the way it is supposed to, no one”. Even my mother said that when she read the first gardening article, I put out there, “I couldn’t believe your name was associated with it. You never wanted anything to do with a garden”. And she is right, I still don’t. But Voilà ! Here we are. I can handle a garden if I don’t have to do anything to make it a garden. Doesn’t everyone like to have super fresh vegetables if all they have to do is go pick them? Well, you can.
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader
For seven decades, Pennsylvania’s county conservation districts have actively engaged residents to understand management of our natural resources. What is a conservation district anyway?
Let’s start by asking “why?” PA county conservation districts were birthed with the 1945 passage of the PA Conservation District Law. What was the issue requiring leadership? Soil conservation. Farming practices were degrading the soil resource, risking future productivity and affecting other resources like air and water. The law provided for a “grass-roots” conservation effort to build awareness and capability of local landowners to voluntarily manage the resources well. Potter County established PA’s first conservation district in 1945. 2019 marks 63 years for the Bradford County Conservation District. Strong leadership has developed significant capacity to resource Bradford County residents in the task.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District