With a buffer zone in place, water quality has improved.
At the English farm in York County, Pennsylvania, you’ll find a comfortable streamside setting that includes a babbling brook, clear water, singing birds, and a thriving young stand of trees — all nestled in a productive cropland setting. However, this wasn’t always the case. Don English, the son of the owner of the farm, recalls, “Until we planted these four acres into a buffer by enrolling in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), this creek ran brown with sediment after every rain. Within a year the water cleared up and now we’re seeing the aquatic life return.” This creek runs into the Deer Creek, which in turn runs into the Chesapeake Bay. The buffer is a part of a larger USDA effort to improve water quality and help restore the Bay. Read more »
Local boy scout troop members and their families pose with bundles of shrubs and planting bars at the edge of a wetland where they are planting shrubs for New England cottontail habitat. Photo by Phillip Brown, Audubon.
A New Hampshire community came together to help restore habitat for the New England cottontail, a native rabbit of the region. For this rabbit, habitat restoration is pretty simple, planting the shrubs that are the cornerstones of its ideal habitat.
Nearly 40 volunteers gathered in April to plant more than 5,000 shrubs at Smith Sisters Wildlife Sanctuary, a 115-acre sanctuary managed by Audubon. Volunteers planted 10 different shrub species, including elderberry, dogwoods, Virginia rose, American hazelnut, fragrant sumac, eastern red-cedar, nannyberry and arrowwood viburnum. Read more »
Morgan Boggs, NRCS Earth Team volunteer in Browning, Montana. Photo credit: NRCS Montana.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance (INCA) have partnered in a pilot project to provide new opportunities for Native American high school students across the west.
Morgan Boggs, a high school senior in Browning, Montana, was one of three Montana high school seniors selected by INCA. Through this pilot program, students sign up as NRCS Earth Team volunteers to work side-by-side with NRCS professionals. This on-the-job training increases the students’ qualifications for the USDA Pathways Internship Program, which employs college students working toward a degree in natural resources. Read more »
NRCS District Conservationist Larette Kolbe helps Storm Lake student volunteers plant rows of vegetables.
Tucked away behind a hardware store and in between several Storm Lake, Iowa, housing developments, sits a freshly planted 4.5-acre garden project organized by “The Bridge of Storm Lake,” a non-profit organization that serves growing immigrant communities.
Supported in part through a $2,500 outreach grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), The Bridge Garden Training Project brings together many community businesses, organizations and individuals. The land is on loan to the project from a local church and the hardware store. Read more »
A hoop house on Tamarack Farm in Spring Mills, PA.
Perhaps there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Many farmers in central Pennsylvania would aptly agree to this notion after experiencing above average amounts of rainfall this summer. In fact, rainfall during June and July in central Pennsylvania was more than four inches above average. The high summer temperatures coupled with these increased wet conditions quickly produced ideal habitats for many plant borne diseases. One disease in particular that inflicted dramatic damage upon many local farmers this past summer was late blight. One may recall that this was the plant disease responsible for the Irish Potato Famine back in the mid-nineteenth century. In memory of this historical event, late blight is nothing to take lightly. Read more »
Greg and Karon Nettekoven manage an 800-acre vegetable farm in the Fox River watershed in Wisconsin where they use a variety of conservation practices. Photo: Tivoli Gough.
Some people are born to farm. Others grow to love it. Greg Nettekoven was born into a farm family, and he and his wife, Karon, have grown to love farming.
Greg is a second-generation farmer, and when he took the reins of the family farm in 1988, he changed the livestock operation into a vegetable farm – growing peas, sweet corn and beans. Read more »