Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Link to Guernsey Soil Survey in .pdf format

Click this link for an online version of the Guernsey soil survey in .pdf format.


If you would like your own copy of the soil survey, complete with soils maps of the entire county, come to the office and pick one up free of charge. We also have a few copies available on CD for a $10 charge.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun Conservation Day Camp Offered for Ages 8-11!

Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District has been offering a day camp for area youth for more than 20 years! This year at the Conservation Camp, area youth will learn about “Pollinator Partnerships”, with fun and educational activities.

The two day camp is scheduled for July 27 & 28th from 9:00a.m. to 2:00p.m., and it is open to all youth, ages 8-11. It will be held at Moore Memorial Woods, a land lab owned by the district, which is located 3 miles east of Old Washington.
Camp fee is still only $5.00 for both days. For this fee, the camper will receive a lunch both days, a binder full of information, and will design their own camp T-shirt. There will be 2 locations (one in Cambridge and one in Byesville) for bus pick-up and drop-off.

On the first day, students will learn about how and why flowers are designed to attract pollinators. They will learn about honey bees and why they are important to humans, and also about hummingbirds and butterflies. They will play games and go on hikes and make crafts. They will come home with some great ideas to help make their own backyards better homes for pollinators.
On the second day, there is a field trip to the The Wilds, where they will take a guided bus trip and see all sorts of wild animals like giraffe, rhinos, zebras, and other African animals.

For a registration form or if you have questions, please call Guernsey Soil and Water at (740) 432-5624, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00am and 4:30pm. Registration deadline is July 12, 2011. Only the 1st 40 applications will be taken.

What you can do to help pollinators

Pollinator-Friendly Activities
Here are some simple steps you can take in your yard to create habitat and help pollinators survive and thrive!

Plant a pollinator garden. Pollinator gardening is fun. Check out: http://www.kidsgardening.com/growingideas/projects/jan03/pg1.html. This website offers gardening instructions along with educational and curriculum resources.

Reduce chemical misuse. Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce damage to your plants and to protect pollinators by using less chemicals. You could intersperse food plants, like tomatoes, with inedible plants like marigolds. Marigolds are known to attract pest insects away from food plants. Learn more about IPM and gardening at: http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/homegarden/garden.html

Reduce your area of lawn grass. Grass lawns offer little food or shelter for most wildlife, including pollinators. You can replace grass with a wild meadow or prairie plants. For a neater look, make a perennial border with native plants. Plants native to your area are adapted to your soil type, climate, precipitation, and local pollinators! You can get a list of plants native to your area at: http://www.nwf.org/backyardwildlifehabitat/nativeplants.cfm

Provide water. All wildlife, including pollinators, need water. Some butterfly species sip water from muddy puddles to quench their thirst and get important minerals. You can provide water in a birdbath or even a shallow dish placed on the ground.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pollinator Flower Preferences

Bees -- Yellow, blue, purple flowers; there are hundreds of types of bees that come in a variety of sizes and have a range of flower preferences;

Butterflies -- Red, orange, yellow, pink, blue; they need to land before feeding, so like flat-topped clusters (e.g., zinnias, calendulas, butterfly weeds) in a sunny location;

Moths -- Light-colored flowers that open at dusk (e.g., evening primroses);

Beetles -- White or dull-colored, fragrant flowers since they can't see colors (e.g., potatoes, roses);

Bats -- Large, light-colored, night-blooming flowers with strong fruity odor (e.g., many cactus flowers); bats don't see well, but have a keen sense of smell;

Flies -- Green, white, cream flowers; many like simple bowl-shaped flowers or clusters;

Carrion-eating flies -- Maroon, brown flowers with foul odors (e.g., wild ginger);

Hummingbirds -- Red, orange, purple/red tubular flowers with lots of nectar, since they live exclusively on flowers (e.g., sages, fuschias, honeysuckles, nasturtiums, columbines, jewelweeds, bee balms); no landing areas needed since they hover while feeding;

Ants -- Although ants like pollen and nectar, they aren't good pollinators, so many flowers have sticky hairs or other mechanisms to keep them out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Don't forget our native bees

Did you know? There are about 4,000 species of native bees in the U.S. ranging in length from less than one eighth of an inch to more than one inch. Most of these bees are "solitary" nesting and, having no hive to defend (as do nonnative honeybees), they are unlikely to sting!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Honey Bee Trivia

How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey? - Two million.

How many flowers does a honey bee have to visit to gather a load of pollen? - 1500 flowers.

How far does a hive of bees fly to bring you one pound of honey? - Over 55,000 miles

How large an area does a honey bee have to cover to collect a load of pollen? - Approximately 12 square miles.

How much honey does the average worker honey bee make in her lifetime? -
1/12 teaspoon.

How heavy is a load of pollen? - Approximately 10 mg.

How fast does a honey bee fly? - About 15 miles per hour / 24 kilometres per hour.

How much honey would it take to fuel a bee's flight around the world? - About one ounce.

How long does a worker honey bee live? - Approximately 42-45 days in peek season.

Bee pollen is high in DNA & RNA

What is mead? - Honey wine.

How long have bees been producing honey from flowering plants? - 10-20 million years.

You have to go through approximately one tonne of honey to gather approximately 20 lb. of bees wax. Approximately 9 kg.

Why are honey bees sometimes called "white man's flies?" - North American natives called honey bees this because they were brought to North America by European colonists.

What Scotch liqueur is made with honey? - Drambuie

How many sides does each honeycomb cell have? - Six

Honey bees make flakes of wax no larger than a pin head. It takes 500,000 flakes of wax to make one pound of bees wax. Less than 1/2 kg.

How many kilograms of honey do bees have to consume to make one kilogram of bees wax? - Eighteen kilograms of honey, almost 40 lbs. of honey.

What is the US per capita consumption of honey? - 1.1 pound

How much honey is produced in Canada each year? -Approximately 36 million (36,000,000) kilograms of honey is produced each year.

What state is known as the bee hive state? - Utah

How many wings does a honey bee have? - Four

How many beekeepers are there in the United States? - An estimated 211,600.

How many honey-producing colonies of bees are there in the United States? - The USDA estimates that there are approximately 3 million honey producing colonies. This estimate is based on beekeepers who manage five or more colonies.

How do honey bees communicate with one another? - "Dancing." Honey bees do a dance which alerts other bees where nectar and pollen was located. This dance explains direction and distance. Bees also communicate with pheromones.

What does "super" mean to a beekeeper? - The super is the hive box in which honey is stored.

How many bees does it take to kill a person? - 600-800 Honey Bees has enough venum to kill a 200 lb. person.

How far will a Honey Bee chase you? - Honey Bees can chase you for several miles when disturbed.

How many Honey Bees are there in a hive? - In a strong hive there are 70,000 - 100,000 Bees in a hive.

At what time of the day are all the bees in their hive? - At night or foul weather, all the Bees are in their hive.

When do Honey Bees sleep? - Honey Bees do not sleep. They take mini cat naps. They work all day long in the field collecting nectar, pollen, water, proplesses, etc. and at night they work in the hives building new combs, repairing old combs, etc.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Some photos from our pond clinic held Thursday evening

About 40 people attended the clinic, held at the EARS research station near Belle Valley north of Wolf Run State Park. The evening began with a fish shocking demonstration by the ODNR staff from Salt Fork. Attendees were able to see what type fish are living in the pond. The fish are not harmed by this procedure.
Above: Wildlife Specialist Joe Lehman addresses the issues of damage done to ponds by some species of wildlife and how to deal with the problem; and also how to make ponds more attractive to wildlife.

Above: Noble SWCD Education Specialist Jim Mizik and GSWCD Technician Van Slack speak on the nuts and bolts of pond construction and maintenance.

Later in the evening, Guernsey/Noble OSU extension educator Clif Little explained how to deal with weeds in ponds. He also talked about stocking the pond with fish, and discussed the various fish species available.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Soil Horizons?

Soil Horizons are the various layers of soil stacked on top
of each other.
Each layer varies in color, texture, structure and thickness.
Most soils have three (3) major horizons.
A is the surface, B is the subsoil, and C is the substratum.
O is the organic layer sometimes found on the surface.

Friday, June 3, 2011


SOIL is a complex mix of ingredients: minerals, air,
water, many organisms, and the decaying remains of
once-living things. Soil make our lives possible. Our
houses and/or apartments are built on it, we play on
it, drive our cars on it, our food crops is grown in or
raised on it, our medicines are made from it, our
clothes comes from it, the water we drink is cleaned
with it, and the air we breathe wouldn’t be possible
without the plants and trees growing in soils. The
entire earth—every ecosystem, every living organism is
dependent upon soils!

Did you know that soil is alive! One tablespoon of soil
has more organisms in it than people on Earth. That's a
whole lot of life in a little bit of soil! It takes 500
years to form an inch of soil on top of the ground.
Wow — that’s a long time to make such a small amount!
In one gram of soil, there are over 5,000 different
types of bacteria. That is why soil is a key component
to develop our medicines! And, there are more than
70,000 types of soils in the United States!

Soil is also fragile. It erodes and breaks down due to
wind, rain, and various uses. Without the proper
management of our soils, food production, habitat,
development, and all other activities that use soil as a
key ingredient could be harmed!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

2011 Elected Officials Tour

We invited the county commissioners and officials from the City of Cambridge and surrounding villages to come spend a morning with us, seeing some of the things the district has done in the community.
Front row: Supervisor Blaine Neilley, Cumberland council members Peggy Cunningham and Elizabeth Whited, Technician Van Slack(kneeling)
2nd row: Lisa Rodenfels, Program Administrator, Joe Lehman, Wildlife Specialist and technician, Mel Granberg, representing USDA-NRCS, Supervisor John Enos, and county commissioners Steve Allen and Steve Douglass.

Joe Lehman at the Salt Fork wetland area on Fairground Rd with Buckeye Trail FFA members, demonstrating netting of water insects to check for water quality. The district has a wide range of educational programs in area schools, working with all ages of students to teach the importance of our natural resources and how they can be used for today and conserved for tomorrow.

Van Slack demonstrating the enviroscape. This is an interesting, hands on way to teach the water cycle, and how the water we use is recycled and reused over and over. Van has done presentations for schools, civic organizations, and adult educational classes.

There were 2 tour stops on local farms, showing some of the practices that the district has assisted in installing. Exclusion fencing of streams and woodlands, a spring development, water pipelines and stock tanks to further distribute water, heavy use pads for winter feeding of livestock were included in the discussion.

The group stopped for lunch at the district's land lab, Moore Woods, and talked about its use in education and recreation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A big "Thank you!" to Dan Glasener of Nationwide Insurance

Dan's insurance company graciously donated these book bags to all the Guernsey County 3rd graders who attended Ag School Days!