Southern Aroostook SWCD Winter & Spring Ag School March-May 2021

Southern Aroostook SWCD’s eagerly anticipated and popular Ag School 2021 classes are online and in-person this year. All classes require pre-registration. Please be respectful of others and follow mask guidelines as needed.

Topics covered for the Winter & Spring Ag School this year will be: Beekeeping, Small Woodlot Owners Walk & Talk, Updates on Soil Health, Intro to Permaculture, Raised Bed Gardening, Vernal Pools, and Beginning Women’s Chainsaw Safety. In some instances, credits will be available.

For updates, details, and contact/registration information, visit the Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District website:

http://www.saswcd.org/index.php/education/winter-ag-school

2021 Winter & Spring Ag School is presented by SASWCD with assistance from Maine Forest Service and Workshop Speakers. Funding for Soil Health Class made possible through US-EPA under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

You are Going to LOVE Real Maine!

Looking for the REAL MAINE ? Experience local food, recipes, activities, shopping, and more by visiting the Real Maine website. Maine made items from maple syrup to lavender sachets are featured, as are farmer’s markets and CSAs – Community Supported Agriculture. Check out the REAL MAINE website when you’re planning that next in-state road trip and discover new-to-you destinations that will take you off the beaten path.

Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses Found in Maine -No Live Spotted Lanternflies Found

September 29, 2020 News Release: The Maine Department of Agricultural, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) today announced finding egg masses of the invasive spotted lanternfly (SLF) on trees in Maine communities and is urging residents to report any sign of the invasive pest. The egg masses were found on trees from Pennsylvania, where SLF is established and planted in Boothbay, Freeport, Northeast Harbor, and Yarmouth.

Read the full news release by clicking the link below.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEDACF/bulletins/2a34f4b

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.

 Click here to register for the webinar series.

 

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.

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.”