The “Conservation Educator of the Year” award will be given to AL!VE at the Eaton Conservation District Annual Meeting on January 28th, 2016 in appreciation of their dedication to conservation/environmental education.
In the creation of AL!VE’s outdoor areas named PRESERVE (a 5 acre-grassland prairie), EXPLORE (an outdoor walking path) and HARVEST (a community garden), many natural resource conservation management practices were top of mind. Creation of these areas was done in cooperation with the Conservation District, Pheasants Forever, Doty Wildflower, BEDHD, Fenner Nature Center and Eaton Federal Bank.
The primary purpose of PRESERVE is to educate the community, provide native plants, insects and animals a safe place to thrive and promote conservation and physical activity throughout the region. Currently EXPLORE is a 1/5 mile loop within PRESERVE and serves as the beginning of a regional trail system that will connect AL!VE to the greater Lansing community through a network of trails and sidewalks as defined in Step-By-Step’s non-motorized master plan. This master plan has been adopted by the City of Charlotte, Eaton and Caramel Township, Eaton County Parks and the Recreation Co-Op.
HARVEST, located within PRESERVE, has quickly become a focal point for children’s education. Four schools throughout Charlotte each manage and maintain their own themed garden within PRESERVE. Each year these children plant, weed, water and fertilize their garden while learning about agriculture, conservation and healthy nutrition. Following the harvest, their produce is used by the children in RELISH, AL!VE’s demonstration teaching kitchen, where they learn how to prepare, preserve and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
AL!VE has purposefully embarked on education of the greater Charlotte community on the conservation practices AL!VE is using in these areas. This has been done through interpretive signage along the walking path, presentations to local service clubs, hosting over 200 children from the Greater Lansing area’s child care centers for educational field trips in PRESERVE using Fenner Nature Center’s curriculum “Nature A-Bounds”, press releases on the controlled burn and xeriscaping and features on AL!VE’s in-house video walls included educational facts about PRESERVE and HARVEST.
The Eaton Conservation District would like to thank AL!VE for their commitment.
It is with both excitement and sadness that I announce that next week I will be leaving Eaton Conservation District to pursue a new position as Grants and MAEAP Training Liaison at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Through my 10 years (!) at the Eaton Conservation District I have had the pleasure of working with wonderful board members, staff, other agencies, public, and volunteers. Thank you for your support and friendship over the years, I can honestly say that I love my job at the conservation district.
The board of directors will be posting the position in the new year. In the mean time, the staff at the office will be happy to help you with any questions or concerns that arise.
Interim Part-time Executive Director - Michelle Beloskurmichelle.firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Assistant - Sue Spagnuolo email@example.com
MAEAP Technician - Jennifer Silveri Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org
Education Coordinator - Jennifer Hunnell email@example.com
The “Conservationist of the year” award will be given to Russ Hicks from Eaton Rapids at the upcoming Eaton Conservation District Annual Meeting in appreciation of his dedication to Eaton County’s Natural Resources.
The Eaton Conservation Districts annually recognizes an outstanding individual, business, organization, or agency outside the association for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our natural resources in Eaton County, Michigan. This award seeks to recognize outstanding contributions to: 1) improve the understanding of natural resource conservation by the public, 2) participate in resource management practices in cooperation with a conservation district, state or national conservation program, and 3) further the mission of the Eaton Conservation Districts as the local provider of natural resource management services that help our citizens conserve their lands and our State’s resources for a cleaner, healthier, economically stronger Michigan.
Russ has shown outstanding dedication to our local rivers and recreation. He has been a champion of the Return the Rapids to Eaton Rapids Project. He has gone door to door drumming up support and funds for the project. He has volunteered countless hours measuring rocks and working on grant applications.
Russ has been the heart, soul and eyes/vision for The Quiet Water Society's ability to attract over 2,000 visitors annually to The Quiet Water Symposium. The speakers list fills up every year with excellent internationally known speakers and has become an integral part of Michigan State University's Agriculture and Natural Resources Week every year in early March.
The Eaton Conservation District would like to applaud Russ Hicks commitment to water quality and recreation.
Jake Putnam will receive the “Cooperator of the year” award for 2015. The award is given to producers who support District programs; practice and promote the wise use of soil, water, and natural resources on their farms; and provide agricultural leadership throughout their community.
Jake and his wife, Elizabeth, have been working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Eaton Conservation District to obtain their MAEAP verification and USDA Organic certification. Through their business American Delicacy, they are growing healthy, sustainable vegetables and natural produce from forests.
The Putnam’s recently installed cover crops, wildflower buffers and a seasonal high tunnel on their farm. The funding was provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. They are also in the process of expanding their organic operation to include row crops such as soybeans. They are always looking for new and innovative practices to implement on their operation.
The District board of directors and office staff congratulate Jake Putnam and commend his continued efforts toward protecting and improving our natural resources.
We want to take this opportunity to celebrate and share with you our successes over the past year.
A few Highlights:
Nation's most successful voluntary conservation program celebrates 30 years
WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today reminded farmers and ranchers that the next general enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) begins today, Dec. 1, 2015, and ends on Feb. 26, 2016. December 2015 also marks the 30th anniversary of CRP, a federally funded program that assists agricultural producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.
As of September 2015, 24.2 million acres were enrolled in CRP. CRP also is protecting more than 170,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world 7 times. For an interactive tour of CRP success stories from across the U.S., visit www.fsa.usda.gov/CRPis30, or follow on Twitter at #CRPis30.
“Over the past 30 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP one of the most successful conservation programs in the history of the country,” said Vilsack. “Today, CRP continues to make major environmental improvements to water and air quality. This is another longstanding example of how agricultural production can work hand in hand with efforts to improve the environment and increase wildlife habitat.”
Participants in CRP establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. At times when commodity prices are low, enrolling sensitive lands in CRP can be especially attractive to farmers and ranchers, as it softens the economic hardship for landowners at the same time that it provides ecological benefits. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish native plant species on marginal agricultural lands for the primary purpose of preventing soil erosion and improving water quality and related benefits of reducing loss of wildlife habitat.
Contracts on 1.64 million acres of CRP are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2016. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.
Since it was established on Dec. 23, 1985, CRP has:
For more information FSA conservation programs, visit a local FSA office or www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.
The Conservation Reserve Program was re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
ECD SEEKING CONSERVATION AWARD NOMINEES
The Eaton County Conservation District is accepting nominations for their annual Conservation awards to be presented at their annual meeting in January.
The Three (3) Nomination Categories are:
Conservationist of the year Award: The Eaton County District annually recognizes an outstanding individual, business, organization, or agency outside the association for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our natural resources in Eaton County, Michigan. This award seeks to recognize outstanding contributions to (1) Improve the understanding of natural resource conservation by the public. (2) Participate in resource management practices in cooperation with a conservation district, state or national conservation program, and (3) further the mission of the Eaton Conservation Districts as the local provider of natural resource management services that help our citizens conserve their land and our State’s resources for a cleaner, healthier, economically stronger Michigan.
Cooperator of the Year Award: The Eaton County Conservation District annually recognizes a landowner that has worked with the District and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to implement conservation practices in their farm. This award is for outstanding contributions to the conservation of our natural resources in Eaton County, Michigan. Factors to be considered include how well the practices chosen and applied over the years fit the particular needs of that farm. Involvement in soil conservation activities and other agricultural groups will also be considered in determining the winners.
Educator of the Year Award: All teachers in public, private, and parochial schools, and colleges in Eaton County, Michigan who have demonstrated a strong commitment to conservation/environmental education. Criteria for consideration include: (1). Commitment to conservation/environmental education/students. (2) Type of project developed and its outreach/impact (3) Degree to which other resource people/agencies were utilized (4) Personal time and commitment – All candidates MUST be actively teaching.
If you would like to nominate an individual, business, organization or agency for the annual awards, please stop by our office located at 551 Courthouse Drive, Suite 3, Charlotte, MI 48813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The mission of the Eaton Conservation District is to promote and encourage cooperation with other individuals, groups, organizations, or agencies in an organized effort to conserve and improve the natural resources in Eaton County.