Properly planted trees can provide a variety of ecological and economic benefits including retaining and filtering stormwater, improving air quality, reducing soil erosion, reducing energy costs, and increasing real estate values. To continue to bring these benefits to Michigan communities, the Eaton Conservation District and the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance are announcing their Go Green Youth Challenge Tree Planting Grants.
The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance’s Go Green Youth Challenge (GGYC) engages Michigan youth in environmental stewardship, community development, and service-learning through a statewide effort to plant trees in Michigan. Children, pre-K through 12th grade, are challenged to collect coins as an individual, classroom, or club each spring. The coins collected fund community tree plantings and program outreach efforts. In the spirit of the GGYC, the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance offers local units of government, public educational institutions, public libraries, non-profit organizations, neighborhood associations, churches, and tribal governments the opportunity to apply for a grant for up to $2,000 to plant trees.
Grant applications are available online at www.miarbordayalliance.com. Applications are due by mail no later than August 15th, 2014. Funded tree planting projects must be completed by December 31st, 2014.
The 2014 GGYC exceeded previous monetary goals and had over 1,100 students from across the state participate! Planting projects in Potterville and Dimondale were funded by this grant in 2012 and we would love to see more applications from Eaton County.
The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance would like to thank everyone who participated, including the sponsors: ITC, Lansing Board of Water and Light, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Eaton Conservation District, WKAR, and Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.
The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance is a coalition of organizations and agencies dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Arbor Day throughout Michigan. Our dedication comes from our belief in the importance of trees and their role in community health and well-being. Since 1993, MADA has provided educational programs and services to Michigan communities.
The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance is a program of the Eaton Conservation District.
The recent oil spill mystery in Lansing on the Grand River reminds us that everything we do, affects our local waterways. The fluids that leak or drip from your automobile eventually end up in our rivers, lakes, and streams. Did you know that even though your home may be miles away from a lake or a river, the chemicals that spill on your driveway or parking lot find their way to our local waterways? Eaton County is home to three separate watersheds: the Grand River, Thornapple River, and Battle Creek River Watersheds. The rainwater, soiled water from washing your car, and any toxic chemicals which are allowed to enter drainage ditches and storm sewers end up flowing into these watersheds. Keeping hazardous chemicals from entering the watershed is an important task for everyone to keep in mind. Here are suggestions how the proper maintenance of your automobile plays a key role in
keeping our surface water clean.
Repair any leaks and drips from your automobile. This includes: motor oil, transmission fluid, anti-freeze/coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, gasoline and other lubricants. Remember, these chemicals are also dangerous to your pets.
If you choose to change your own oil, do not dump the used oil in the yard, on your driveway, or in a storm drain. Find a local firm that will recycle the used oil.
Do not use used motor oil to control dust on gravel drives.
Wash your car on the grass to filter out impurities or take it to a commercial car wash where the water is reclaimed (check local ordinances first).
Basic automobile maintenance such as tune-ups, proper tire inflation, and efficient driving practices saves on fuel, as well as water and air pollution.
Abandoned automobiles should be taken to a scrap yard or donated to a local charity. Old cars sitting out in a field will leak oil and fuel.
Having a clean environment is of primary importance for our health and economy. Clean waterways provide recreation, commercial opportunities, fish habitat, and add beauty to our landscape. All of us benefit
from clean water - and all of us have a role in getting and keeping our lakes, rivers, wetlands, and groundwater clean. For more easy steps on protecting our lakes and streams, visit www.pollutionisntpretty.org or contact the Eaton Conservation District at 517/543-5848 x 5.
by USDA NRCS | April 1,2014
For generations, children have been singing about the farmer, his wife and
kids, and even the mouse and the cheese. But today, a modern farmer is more
likely to be using the mouse on his computer (or more realistically, a
smartphone or tablet) than dancing around a small wooded valley with his family
and farm animals.
The website of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, nrcs.usda.gov, has been
evolving to keep pace with the needs of today's farmer, says NRCS Webmaster
"Our mission is to provide American farmers, ranchers and other visitors with
the tools and resources they are looking for on a site that is easy to use and
The most-effective websites combine clear and readable text, usability,
functionality and simple navigation. NRCS writes the text for targeted
audiences, which includes farmers and ranchers, as well as people who use NRCS
online tools, such as Web Soil Survey, PLANTS database and COMET-FarmTM.
Recently, the agency created a new Get Started with NRCS
page. This new webpage helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners learn how
they can make improvements to their land with conservation.
This webpage features the five steps to getting assistance from NRCS, so that
farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can know about the process of applying
for assistance from the comfort of their own home, barn, tractor or wherever
else they hop online.
Also, NRCS revamped its About and Drought Resources pages
and created a Resources for Small Farms
page. About NRCS provides an overview of what NRCS offers,
including those popular tools that bring many visitors to the website.
Drought Resources houses information on assistance and resources that can
help farms and ranches be more resilient to drought. And finally, the Resources
for Small Farms page pulls together information and resources that may be of
interest to owners and managers of smaller farms, such as information on
organics and seasonal high tunnels.
NRCS uses a number of tools to help create these pages, including site
traffic and customer experience information. "We've found that more than 61
percent of people coming to our website were new visitors, many of whom were
farmers, ranchers and forest landowners looking for information on conservation
programs," O'Halloran said.
NRCS has about 13,000 visits per day on its national website. Some of the
most popular pages deal with soils, Web Soil Survey and the Farm Bill.
"We hope you enjoy these new and revamped pages, and we welcome feedback on
how we can improve our 'digital' service center," says O'Halloran. "We're
excited to have the opportunity to help you get started with
Though it doesn't feel like it - Spring is just around the corner! and with that, we are preparing for our Spring Tree Sale.
Volunteers are a critical part of our event. This year, our
tree sale has been moved to the Eaton County Fairgrounds - and we will be wrapping trees and distributing them at Kardel Hall.
We need help on the following dates (you can work a few hour shifts or an entire day):
• Wednesday April 16th 8-4pm - Tree Wrapping
• Friday April 18th from 8-6pm - Tree Distribution to customers
Lunch and snacks provided to volunteers and you can earn Gift Certificates towards trees or books. Dress to get Dirty. Wrapping Trees is fun and hard work. Sign up to work and help out by calling (517) 543-5848 x 5.
Workshops to Help Your Land
March 19, 2014
Eaton Conservation District
Basement Conference Room
551 Courthouse Dr.
Charlotte, MI 48813
Do you have questions about wildlife issues? Do you want to learn how to create or enhance wildlife habitat on your property? Then join ECD for our Wildlife Habitat Workshop. Participants will learn about conservation programs,
wildlife management, and habitat improvement methods. Adam Bump with the Michigan DNR will present on the State of Wolves in Michigan. Local sportsman's groups will also be in attendance.
There is no charge to attend, but since space is limited, RSVPs are appreciated. Call the Eaton Conservation District at (517) 543-5848 ext.5 to sign up.
Backyard Orchardist Pruning Workshop
March 20, 2014
Country Mill Farms, LLC
4648 Otto Rd.
Charlotte, MI 48813
Cost: $8 per person
Many people are interested in having their very own fruit trees. The thought of having a convenient source of fresh fruit is very appealing. However, caring for a fruit tree when just starting out can be an intimidating prospect.
This is where ECD's Pruning Workshop can help. This workshop and on-site demonstration at the Country Mill will show how to correctly care for your trees to get the most out of your investment.
For more details and to RSVP, please call the Eaton Conservation District at 517-543-5848 ext.5.
Annual Meeting 1/23/14
The 2014 annual meeting was a great success! We had a great meal, presented conservation awards, re-elected 2 board members, provided program updates, and saw the debut of the Greening Mid-Michigan Agriculture Video. Door Prizes and Silent auction made possible by many local businesses.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take an awesome picture. Entries in Eaton Conservation District’s 18th annual photo contest are proof positive! The contest was open to anyone who does not take pictures for profit as long as the picture was taken in beautiful Eaton County. Photos entered in the contest were divided into four categories. This year’s categories included: plants and landscapes, wildlife, people enjoying nature, and agriculture. Participants were able to enter one photograph per category, a wide variety of photos were submitted by an equally diverse contestant pool.
Gary Mankey of Lansing came away as grand prize winner in this year’s contest with his picture of a frog in a leather boot. Submitted photos may be displayed on the District’s website, used in promotional brochures and fliers or displayed at District events.
Winners were as follows:
Plants and Landscapes
People Enjoying Nature
Rachel Drury, Rod Weaver, Rachel Beland, Beverly Davids
Thanks to everyone who entered the 18th annual photo contest. It’s not too early to begin snapping photos for next year’s contest. We appreciate your participation in the photo contest and are looking forward to seeing future photos taken in our County.
Pollution Isn't Pretty
Eaton Conservation District is partnering with the Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds and several
Mid-Michigan watershed groups and agencies to develop a water resources brand, Pollution Isn’t Pretty. The campaign will streamline multiple organization’s educational efforts to create clear, consistent messages that educate area residents about water quality concerns and what they can do to reduce pollution and protect our region’s water resources. To learn more about Pollution Isn’t Pretty visit, www.pollutionisntpretty.org.
Popular Farm Bill conservation program seeks producer participation
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2013
– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Starting today through Jan. 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS.
“Through the Conservation Stewardship Program, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are going the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.”
The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with taking their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide
valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.
Weller said today's announcement is another example of USDA's comprehensive focus on promoting environmental conservation and strengthening the rural economy, and it is a reminder that a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is pivotal to continue these efforts. CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with
producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.
The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy.
Some popular enhancements used by farmers and ranchers include:
• Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed;
• Modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped;
• Burning patches of land, mimicking prairie fires to enhance wildlife habitat; and
• Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management.
Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods.To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.
Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website or a local NRCS field office.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity
Eaton County District Conservationist Tim Redder was recently featured on the Michigan Out of Doors show explaining how the Wetlands Reserve Program works.
The interview shows an extensive restoration project, converting 600 acres back to functional wetlands. This is located in Eaton County, MI, including Delta, Oneida, Benton, and Windsor townships.
Click this link to watch the video on youtube.
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program for the
restoration and protection of wetlands on private property. Technical and
financial assistance is provided in return for placing a conservation easement
on the property either permanently or for a period of 30 years. Financial
assistance is provided to landowners for restoration and enhancement practices
that are implemented on the WRP easement