Lead Contamination in Urban Soils – Free Webinar Virtual Panel

Hosted by Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District

 
What’s in Your Soil? Let’s Talk About Lead in Maine’s Soils
Free Webinar Tuesday, September 22nd 4:00 to 5:30 PM   Join us for a virtual panel to learn about healthy soils and lead contamination in Maine’s urban soils. The panel will cover soil health, testing for contaminants, exposure pathways, and safety on soils.   Register Here          
    VISIT OUR WEBSITE!

In addition to the webinar, we are organizing the Portland SoilSHOP at the Portland Farmer’s Market on Saturday, September 26th. A SoilSHOP is a free soil testing event where anyone can drop off soil samples to be screened for lead contamination for free.

Have You Seen Me? Invasive Forest Pest Community Detectors – Free Webinars

The Maine Association of Conservation Districts is offering free regional webinars to highlight how to protect Maine forests from invasive forest pests. Webinars will be presented by local soil and water conservation district (SWCD) staff and will focus on statewide and regional pest problems. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry staff will be on-hand with information on current local forest pest management issues.   Presentations are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020; Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020; Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020; and Tuesday, Oct, 13, 2020. Webinars are free and sponsored by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).   Click here to register for the webinar series.

Oxford County SWCD Photo Contest

The Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District would like to announce the 2020 Conservation Photo Contest. We are looking for your best conservation photo in the field of Agriculture, Forestry, Soil & Water or Wildlife to grace the cover of our 2020 Annual Report.

A prize package provided by Aubuchon Hardware, Tractor Supply and Young’s Greenhouse will be awarded to the First Place Winner. Three Honorable Mention winners will also be selected. All of the winning photos will be framed and on display at the 2020 District Annual Meeting.

For more information and entry forms please call 744-3119, or email oxfordcountyswcd@gmail.com.

Aroostook County Farmers are ‘Soil-ing’ their Underwear… for Science

From The County website

HOULTON, Maine (July 17, 2019) — Aroostook County’s three soil and water conservation district organizations are trying out an unusual experiment with area farmers this summer using “soiled underwear” to highlight soil health.

About a dozen farmers and gardeners around Aroostook County are participating in the project by burying all-cotton pairs of underwear in their gardens and crop fields, and planning to dig up what’s left of them in two months.

“The idea is that the more alive your soil, the more the undies will decompose,” said Angela Wotton, district manager at Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District. “It’s sort of a fun experiment. It’s a good visual for soil health.”

The more biologically active soil is, with a diversity of bacteria, fungi, earthworms and microorganisms, the quicker the cotton or other natural materials will break down. Agricultural fields with more soil life can better support crops and retain organic matter and nutrients over the long term.

In the last decade, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has helped more farmers adopt soil-building strategies such as cover crops planted over multi-year rotations of cash crops like potatoes and grains.

The demonstration in Aroostook County is a collaboration with the local offices of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Southern Aroostook, Central Aroostook and the St. John Valley.

Wotton credits the start of the initiative to Kelsey Ramerth, soil conservationist. The St. John Valley team will be digging up the underwear to display during the annual Ploye Festival Aug. 9-11 in Fort Kent.

“Our ultimate goal and our focus has been on building soil health. I feel like a lot of farmers in Southern Aroostook plant a fall or winter cover and try different combinations of cover crops. A picture is worth 1,000 words. It shows how alive the soil is,” said Wotton. “The farmers in our district have made a lot of gains. They’re doing a lot of work on their farms to focus on soil health.”

 

Soil and Water Stewardship Week is April 27 to May 3, 2014

In 1955, the National Association of Conservation Districts began a national program to encourage Americans to focus on stewardship. Stewardship Week is officially celebrated from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in May. It is one of the world’s largest conservation-related observances.

The program relies on locally-led conservation districts sharing and promoting stewardship and conservation activities. Districts provide conservation and stewardship field days, programs, workshops and additional outreach efforts throughout their community to educate citizens about the need to care for our resources. Many district activities extend beyond the one week observance to include an entire year of outreach.

The Stewardship concept involves personal and social responsibility, including a duty to learn about and improve natural resources as we use them wisely, leaving a rich legacy for future generations.

One definition of Stewardship is “the individual’s responsibility to manage his life and property with proper regard to the rights of others.” E. William Anderson suggests stewardship “is essentially a synonym for conservation.”

Stewardship Week helps to remind us all of the power each person has to conserve natural resources and improve the world. When everyone works together with their local conservation district, that power continuously grows. We have seen these good deeds multiply across the nation’s network of conservation districts and the results are spectacular!

When the land does well for its owner, and the owner does well by his land—when both end up better by reason of their partnership—then we have conservation. – Aldo Leopold

Stewardship week each year is always the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in May.