Initially, the grant was secured with the plans to conduct monthly hands-on educational visits to seven Head Start classes this spring, as well as partnering with local FFA chapters to build raised beds for the Head Start centers’ gardens beginning in April. When Ohio closed all public schools and daycares in response to COVID-19, Ashland SWCD switched gears.
The funds helped hire Urban and Education Specialist
, who, although hired in the midst of Ohio’s stay-at-home order, hit the ground running with online lessons and social media posts.
Vales developed printed materials for Head Start programs, which the teachers could send to students’ homes every two weeks. This was also supplemented with a “#TeacherTuesday” video series, where students can tune in and follow along with the lessons and programs.
“This is not the way we anticipated launching our grant programming, and the topics we’re covering are not necessarily the same topics we would have covered in the classroom as we prepared to install raised bed gardens,”
Ashland SWCD Program Administrator Jane Houin said
. “But I feel like we’ve turned lemons into lemonade.”
(pictured) joined the Society of American Foresters (SAF) as chief executive officer in September of 2018. Hailing from Marianna, Fla., he has worked in seven states for the U.S. Forest Service. Baker earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Florida in 2004 and a master of forestry degree at Yale University in 2007. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from Florida A&M University. Terry and his wife, Jessica, reside in Washington, D.C. Recently, he shared time with NACD to discuss his work at SAF.
What factors do you believe are critical for forestry to achieve workforce needs over the next decade?
The major factors that I see impacting our ability to address workforce needs over the next decade are awareness, training and career pathways. With an example like the Trillion Trees Initiative, forestry and natural resources management are finally being more widely recognized as part of the solution to carbon and economic issues. As professionals in this area, we have long known this to be true, but we must be willing to adapt and engage the broader public and new audiences versus sitting back and seemingly touting, ‘We told you so!’
One way SAF is working to spark new interest in forestry careers is through a partnership with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to help create and distribute a new Project Learning Tree course, “Green Jobs.” We felt this was a great way to increase awareness of our professions to students and teachers. The ability for students to see themselves solving natural resource issues and for teachers to see our professionals as part of the solution sets a great foundation in building our future workforce.
Berks County Conservation District
in Pennsylvania will match its $2.23 million RCPP funding with about $2.3 million in partner contributions to implement agricultural best management practices (BMP), including riparian buffers and filter strips, to improve and protect local water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Barry Conservation District
in Michigan received a $762,740 RCPP grant to work with the Thornapple-Kalamazoo Water Quality Partnership on improvements and protection for water quality and habitat for fish, wildlife and invertebrates in the Gun, Rabbit and Thornapple River watersheds. Project work will include tree and shrub plantings, brush and invasive species management and pollinator habitat establishment.
“The specific practices of tree planting, brush management and pollinator habitat planting help to restore degraded habitats,” Barry Conservation District
Executive Director Sarah Nelson said
. “They can also create habitat in fragmented areas to reduce edge effects and create corridors between high-quality areas.”
river cleanup, reforestation effort
Other components of the project include reforestation efforts along the river stretch that will use volunteers and students from Beaverton and Gladwin schools; educational workshops to inform landowners of wise forest management techniques and conservation options, ways to reduce streambank erosion on their property, invasive species and eradication methods; and scheduled future river cleanups to keep the river in good condition for years to come.
SWCDs among partners assisting with invasive control in national forest
The Malheur National Forest will soon begin
invasive plant control on the forest
. Invasive plants targeted for treatment include spotted, diffuse and other knapweeds; Canada, bull, Scotch and musk thistles; St. Johnswort; houndstongue; sulphur cinquefoil; Dalmation and yellow toadflax; whitetop and other invasive mustards; and leafy spurge.
Invasive plant control on the forest is scheduled to begin this spring and is expected to continue through October.
Grant Soil and Water Conservation District and
Monument Soil and Water Conservation District.
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