Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trees Please!

Have you thought about a tree today?  Is the soil along your local stream banks staying in place because of the roots of trees?  Did the pine windbreak protect your home from the winds? Every day, forests and trees play an important role in our lives. Conservation practices utilizing trees and forests are an important key. Forest landowners have a commitment to protect wildlife habitat and watersheds as well as to conserve soil.

According to the National Association of State Foresters, private forestlands make up 59 percent of the total US forestland; state and local governments, 10 percent; and federal forestlands, 31 percent. 

Support forestry projects and landowners in your community.  Volunteer to plant trees in your community or help remove invasive species from forested areas. Be sure to take some time to explore the great outdoors!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

40% of food is wasted in U.S., says new report -Solid Waste - Waste & Recycling News

The amount of unconsumed perishables is worth $165 billion per year and is estimated to equal more than 20 pounds of food per person every month....  Follow this link to the complete article.

40% of food is wasted in U.S., says new report -Solid Waste - Waste & Recycling News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Conservation is Life!

Conservation is not just about the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees!  It’s about LIFE!  Every living creature depends on food, water and shelter.  So in truth, every creature big and small 
needs abundant soils, clean water, and natural resources to help us thrive.  

Conservation is about the wise use of our natural resources.  So become familiar with reduce, reuse and recycle….conserve water during your shower or while brushing your teeth, grow a garden, plant a tree, turn off lights and power sources when not in use, don’t destroy habitat and keep pollution in its place! 

We ALL need to learn about conservation and how stewardship is critical for our future success.  And,  we need "conservation champions" who will give time, effort, and support to help make a difference for our state, our planet and our future!    

Conservation equals LIFE!  So live it!  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In support of trees!

Tree conservation is an important part of maintaining a healthy natural environment. Trees
create habitats for birds, insects and wildlife; replenish oxygen in the atmosphere; save energy by shading homes and workplaces; and remove pollutants from air and water – besides
providing climbing areas and fun places to hide!
Trees are experiencing great challenges these days greatly due to storms, development
activities, diseases, and pests such as the Emerald Ash Borer and Gypsy Moth, that are
causing many trees to die.
Be strong for our trees and help us with our conservation efforts!  Encourage your parents
to plant a native tree or two in your backyard!  More and more landowners are being encouraged to plant native tree species to help those lost to storms and disease. Backyard
conservation efforts such as tree plantings also help birds and other wildlife species too,
while potentially helping cool down your house!  Community education is also important.  So
don’t be afraid to share the importance of trees to your family and friends!   We can also
help through by promoting the purchase of wood and wood products from sustainable resources only, recycling or reusing all paper and wood, and planting trees.
Trees equal Strength!  Can you raise your limbs in support for tree

Monday, August 13, 2012

Moth Mania Flyer

This Saturday, August 18th starting at 7:30.  Fun for the whole family!  Click to enlarge and/or print.

The Leopard Slug

Look at those nasty things was my first reaction. But, then like staring at a train wreck, I found myself in awe of this slimy creature. As my curiosity for the natural world has always been leading me forward to see new things, slugs, although not as striking as others species that inhabit this planet are still cool. What true testament that every living thing feels the need to expand and explore the world, not just us humans. This Slug considered to be native to Europe, was introduced on the east coast of America in 1867. It only took this speedster 30 years to make it to the west coast and is now found in many areas of the world.

As I watched these two slugs start to dance instinct told me something I had never seen before was going to happen. I quickly ran for my camera and returned to see the two slugs’s twisted together dangling from a thread of mucus. I was struggling to watch and take pictures at the same time. I watched them twist around each other, a translucent yet fluorescent object protruded from each of their heads. I was trying to deduce what they were doing and this act gave it away. The slugs were mating. What an amazing thing. Slugs are hermaphrodites so either partner has the ability to produce young. What I was watching was the exchange of DNA. After forty five minutes of being suspended together the sperm is exchanged. The slug that is not attached with the mucus tether simply falls off leaving the other to climb its way back up.

I was fascinated after watching. I had to find out more. Slugs are considered to be pest to gardens and agriculture. This shell less gastropod eats crops faster than they can grow. They also are known to hunt down and eat other slugs. That in its self is fascinating, considering their mock speed of 6 inches per minute. Like most slug species Leopard slugs prefer to live in moist places but can be in many different habitats. The Slugs are mostly nocturnal but can be seen on rainy days as well. Although devastating to crops and not as showy as other animals, slugs are neat. So if you ever see two of these little guys/gals by each other prepare yourself for a show.

Friday, August 10, 2012

About the Birds and the Bees - part 2

Bees = Food!

Bees may sting — OUCH!  But they are truly crucial to our life!  Bees are pollinators, therefore,
they are needed to pollinate the flowers that produce one third of all of our food!  There are
130,000 plants for which bees are essential to pollination, from melons to pumpkins, raspberries
and all kind of fruit trees, as well as cover crops like clover.

But honeybees, the primary species that fertilizes food-producing plants, have suffered dramatic
declines in population.  Some of the issues that are impacting these pollinators include: habitat
destruction and loss of feeding grounds as a result of growing development;  pesticide use and
other environmental pollution; pests; and, the human shoe!  

We need to help the bee population rebound so that we continue to have an abundant food supply!  You can ―bee a friend and help — without getting stung!  It’s easy!  Plants help bees by providing nectar, which the bee converts into honey.  So grow a small garden in your backyard!
Make it ―bee friendly by growing native and local plants, which help attract the local bees.  Avoid
the use of pesticides and definitely don’t kill the bees!  Should you encounter any bee nests that
are causing swarms, contact your local beekeeping association to come and safely remove any
nests keeping the bees alive and keeping you safe!
Bees equal food!  So bee friendly and join our conservation "buzz" to save the bees!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

About the Birds & the Bees - part 1

Birds = Health!

Bird conservation is critical to the richness and diversity of our world. Birds are often viewed
as indicators of ecosystem health.  In fact, they help control the insect and rodent population,
distribute seeds that benefits forest conservation, and are food sources for predators.
With over 850 species in the world today, birds also highlight the diversity of different habitats. All birds cannot live in the same habitats, so we need to learn how they adapt to different regions, what they need to survive, as well as learn more how they interact with other  living things.  

Unfortunately, bird populations are significantly declining.  Today, more than 90 
species of birds are listed as endangered species with more than 200 more at risk.  Some of
the reasons for the decline are due to habitat loss from development, loss of wetlands and
forests, the growing number of invasive tree and plant species, pollution and pesticide use,
and predator populations.

Every person needs food, water and shelter to survive — just like birds!  So you can help the
bird population by providing bird feeders, bird baths, and bird houses!  It is also important to
keep your household cat indoors.  Outdoor cats kill more than one million songbirds each
year.  Other ways you can help is to encourage your parents to avoid the use of pesticides,
herbicides, and other chemicals outdoors that may harm bird species and instead choose
some of the environmentally safe products that are out on the market.  And if you live in a
house with a backyard, plant native plants because these attract native insects, which attract
insect-eating birds. The more vegetation you have that they can use as cover, homes, food
and as attraction for their source of food, the more chance they have to thrive!
Birds equal health!  Will you help bird conservation "soar" in your backyard and in your
The district has free plans for different types of birdhouses as well as quality cedar birdhouses for sale.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Set aside Thursday evening, August 18th at 7:30pm.  We are putting together a program, which will be announced here soon.  Join us as we light up the night and attract all different types of moths.  The evening will start off with fun activities on nocturnal animals such as mammals, bats and owls while there is still light but when darkness sets in, the REAL fun begins as we take a look at the different types of moths and other night flying insects here in Guernsey county.

About Moore Memorial Woods

The land was donated to the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District in 1955 by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Wallace as a living tribute to her father Major James W. Moore, a Civil War Veteran. It is located near Old Washington in Wills Twp approximately 12 miles east of Cambridge.

Moore Woods is typical of the second growth mixed oak forests in SE Ohio. Red, white and chestnut oaks are the primary species found along ridgetops and sideslopes. Walnut, poplar, hickory and other hardwood species can be found in the lower areas. Many varieties of shrubs, ferns and wildflowers grow throughout the tract. The topography ranges from flat along ridgetops and narrow valleys to very steep on sideslopes. Two small streams dissect the woods, and several vernal pools form in the spring. Species of wildlife include deer, grouse, squirrels, rabbits, turkeys, songbirds, and other small mammals.

The 78-acre tract of land, which is almost entirely forested, is being maintained as a laboratory for environmental education. This is an excellent place to study forestry, soil conservation, biology, and wildlife management. There is no fee for use of the facility, and the SWCD office has staff members with expertise in these subjects. There are workshops on various subjects offered throughout the year to adults and school aged children.

It is the belief of the District that to study nature the setting should be as close to the natural conditions as possible. Development at Moore Woods has been done with this basic theme in mind. An old township road divides the area, and there are over a mile of hiking trails. A parking area large enough for buses is available at the entrance. There is a pavilion and pit type restroom on site.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

4R Tomorrow FAQ—Farmers

Q1: What is 4R Tomorrow?
4R Tomorrow is a program created by the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD), with the support of the Ohio Soybean Council, to educate and promote wise nutrient management to conserve water quality and soil health using the 4R Nutrient Stewardship principles, along with other conservation practices.

While the 4R philosophy was originally developed for the agricultural sector, OFSWCD’s 4R Tomorrow program expands these concepts even further—beyond the farm and into every Ohioan’s backyard, workplace, and community. The 4R Tomorrow program is about more than just fertilizer or agriculture; it’s about improving the quality of life for all Ohioans, now and in the future.

Whether we are farmers, teachers, parents, children, construction workers, wastewater plant operators, business owners, or government officials—we all play a part in the water quality and natural resource protection, and we all have the ability and the responsibility to conserve and improve Ohio’s natural resources for generations to come.

Through the 4R Tomorrow program, we hope to bring together all stakeholders of natural resource issues and illustrate how we all can be a part of the solution and contribute to a better tomorrow for Ohio’s citizens.

Q2: What are the 4R Principles?
The 4R principles are a comprehensive, innovative and science-based nutrient management approach that enhances environmental protection, expands production, increases farmer profitability, and improves sustainability. The 4R concept is to implement the four “rights”: 1) right fertilizer source, at the 2) right rate, at the 3) right time, with the 4) right placement.

Q3: What does it mean to apply the “right source, at the right rate, right time, and right place”?
The phrase “right source, at the right rate, right time, and right place” implies that each fertilizer management practice or group of practices is right (i.e., effective) in terms of the goals of sustainable production. It also implies that there are four interconnected aspects to every fertilizer application and provides a simple checklist to assess whether a given crop has been fertilized properly. Asking, “Am I using every tool available to choose the right product, to predict its’ right rate, to apply it at the right time, and to the place where its’ most effective for my crop, soil conditions, and weather” helps farmers and advisers to identify opportunities for improvement in fertilizing each specific crop in each specific field.

Q4: Who decides what’s “right”?
Traditionally a team of farmers, researchers, natural resource managers, extension staff, and agribusiness professionals, has decided what qualifies as a best management practice. Today there is still no doubt that the expertise of all these people is important to determining the right management on a practical basis.

However, nutrient stewardship issues today involve additional stakeholders — more than just those involved in cropping systems and other forms of nutrient management (i.e. wastewater management and landscaping/lawn fertilizing). Stakeholders also include the people living in the environment that nutrient management decisions impact.

The perspectives of all these stakeholders must be reflected in the economic, social, and environmental goals that are set for the cropping system. Nutrient management, to be considered “right” must support those goals. However, the farmer—the manager and steward of the land—is the final decision maker in selecting the practices—suited to local site-specific soil, weather, and crop production conditions—that have the highest probability of meeting those goals.