2014 IDOA Cover Crop Initiative Grant Demonstration Plot: Currier Family Farm
Made possible by a Cover Crop Initiative Grant from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Henry County SWCD finally has its very own cover crop demonstration plot located north of Kewanee on Stephen Currier’s Family Farm. Drill seeded September 23, 2014 into corn silage residue, Henry County’s IDOA Cover Crop Initiative plot consists of 3 plots totaling approximately 2 acres each. Plot mixtures include cereal rye/hairy vetch (75/25), crimson clover/annual rye (60/40), and oats/oilseed radish (60/40) and were selected based on the landowner’s goals of increasing supplemental nitrogen availability after corn planting, increasing nutrient holding capacity & availability, and increasing organic matter, humus, and soil tilth.
Our goals for the cover crop demo plot are fairly simple: education. Get a mixture of cover crop species planted on the ground to showcase cover crops’ appearance, benefit, and applicability locally. Incorporating presentations from local professionals and including the Currier’s evaluation and experiences, we hope attendees will gain a better understanding of cover crops.
On October 21st one month after seeding, the Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District with partnering agencies including the NRCS, IL CBMP, Midwest Grass & Forage, and the Henry County Farm Bureau held our first public site demonstration. Presentations included cover crop basics such as benefits, costs, species selection, planting & termination, and other considerations. Cover crop cost-share programs were also discussed and, of course, a plot tour was included with landowner feedback. Approximately 30 individuals were in attendance, and the event was well received.
Another demonstration tour is anticipated early this spring to see what overwintering has occurred to our selected species. We hope to continue and expand upon tours with the Currier Family, as long as they are willing, as well as in other areas of the county. We would like to thank all our partners for the event, particularly the Currier Family and Midwest Grass & Forage for their donations.
Summer Conservation Pond Tour Draws Large Crowd After Local Winter Fish Kills
Every year the Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District hosts an Annual Conservation Tour, usually in the summer. The purpose of the tour is to increase the public’s conservation education and to showcase “conservation in action” by inviting the community to a local land unit that models any number of conservation practices to reduce erosion, increase water quality, promote wildlife habitat, reduce nutrient runoff, reduce stormwater runoff/pollution, etc.
After a particularly brutal winter last season, the HCSWCD decided that their Annual Conservation Tour this summer should be a Pond Tour and Shocking Demonstration to help address the large number of local winter-kill inquiries. This August, the Giant Goose Conservation Club, located just outside of Atkinson, helped co- host the Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District’s Pond Tour. The tour was a huge success drawing approximately 150 individuals from the surrounding area out to the water’s edge. On the tour, local IDNR Fisheries Biologist Ken Clodfelter presented on a number of pond management practices such as fish species stocking, algae identification and management, and invasive species identification and management. Ken also demonstrated his shocking equipment and pond shocking techniques he employs during his fish inventories across the area. At the end of his presentation, Ken answered guests’ site specific questions and concerns. Following the presentation, guests enjoyed a pork chop sandwich dinner grilled by the Illinois Pork Producers Association and a quick presentation from Giant Goose member Vic Bianchetta on the Club’s membership and grounds.
The Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District would like to thank the Giant Goose Conservation Club for their generosity and assistance, the Illinois Pork Producers for the chops, Ken Clodfelter for his fantastic presentation, and the community for another productive, educational, and successful tour. See you again next year!
Krug Receives NAG's Scholarship
Wes Krug, a junior at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, has received the 2014 Clarence and Marie Medley Conservation Scholarship, awarded by the Henry County Natural Area Guardians, subcommittee of Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District. Krug, whose major is Crop and Soil Science with an emphasis in Plant Breeding and Genetics, is from Hampshire, Illinois, and is the son of Kim and Phillip Krug. He is a member of the Agronomy Soil and Water Conservation Club and of the UW-Platteville Collegiate Soils Team and has been involved in a grant research program attempting to make soil with heavy metal pollution tillable again. This summer he is doing undergraduate research on growing sunflowers organically. He says he is interested in the way we grow food and wants to mesh organic and conventional methods.
The $500 scholarship award is given annually to a college junior or senior majoring in a conservation field. It is named for Clarence and Marie Medley who were active in the Natural Area Guardians and were instrumental in getting the award established.
Larry Nourse Wins SWCD's Spring Email Sign-Up Contest
In an effort to reduce mailing costs, reduce paper waste, and keep up with the digital age, the Henry County SWCD sponsored an email contest again this spring. People could either sign-up in the office or on the web to receive SWCD updates, brochures, newsletters, etc. via email. Upon sign-up, one would be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $25 VISA Gift Card.
Larry Nourse, from Coal Valley, was this spring’s Email Contest winner! Keep a look out on our website for the next email contest!
Brenda Woods Wins Henry County SWCD Rain Barrel Drawing
Each year during the Henry County Fair, the Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District holds a drawing for a free rain barrel at their booth in the Merchant's Building. Congratulations to Brenda Woods! She won the drawing for this year's 55 gallon, black rain barrel!
Rain barrels play a vital role in water conservation by preventing stormwater runoff. They are also a great way of collecting and storing water from roofs of homes, sheds, and barns. This stored water can then be used at a later date for watering gardens or yards, filling bird baths, etc. By preventing stomwater runoff from attaching to soil or pollutants, such as pesticides and fertilizers, rain barrels can greatly reduce the negative impacts pollution has on our water supply. And by reducing the volume of water being carried away into storm drains, rain barrels reduce the amount of water municipalities need to process after rain events. For more information regarding rain barrels, call the Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District. And don't forget to stop by our fair booth next summer for a chance to win your very own rain barrel!
Henry County SWCD Sponsors 24th Annual Poster Contest
Two thousand fourteen marks the 24th year that the Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District has proudly sponsored their poster contest for kindergarten through twelfth grade students. Through the SWCD’s yearly poster contest, students are encouraged to express their thoughts and knowledge about soil, water, and other natural resource topics through art. The poster contest theme coincides each year with the annual Soil and Water Stewardship theme. ‘DIG DEEPER: Mysteries in the Soil' was the theme for 2014. With this exciting and adventurous theme, students had the opportunity to better understand the importance of soil to our everyday lives. Students learned and expressed knowledge of soil properties, soil health, soil formation, soil and organism interactions, and more!
Winners of the kindergarten through sixth grade levels received a bicycle. Contest winners of the seventh through twelfth grade levels received a $50 Visa Gift Card. Prizes are donated by the Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District. Poster contest winners at the local level advance to compete at the state level.
2014 Henry County SWCD Poster Contest WINNERS:
K-1st: Gracie Brockett, Alwood Elementary
2-3rd: Marissa Stevens, Irving
4-6th: Carsen Curry, Alwood Middle
7-9th: Annie Althaus, Alwood Middle/High
10-12th: Chloanne Simmering, Alwood High
2-3rd: Madison Copeland, Irving School
4-6th : Keanan Dean, Alwood Middle School
7-9th : Alyssa Southerland, Alwood M/H School
10-12th : Payton Suddeth, Galva High School
Congratulations to the 2014 Henry County Poster Contest Winners! There were many creative and imaginative posters designed by the students this year. The level of quality, concept recognition, and artistic ability were phenomenal from all students across grade levels!
Thank you to all of the students and teachers that participated!
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our poster contest next Spring!
Galva High School Named Top Team from Henry County in 2014 Land Use Council (LUC) 2 Envirothon
The Envirothon is a hands-on and interactive learning experience for high school students. Students gain knowledge of the environment and natural resources. Teams compete in five areas: aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and a fifth category on an environmental issue. Teams test their knowledge of the environment and compete against other high school teams from Bureau, Marshall-Putnam, Mercer, Rock Island, and Stark counties. Twenty eight teams from six counties competed at the Envirothon, this year!
Eight teams from Henry County competed at the Envirothon on March 11th, 2014 at the Black Hawk East Campus in Galva, IL. The top team from Henry County for 2014 was Galva High School Team #1, again this year! Team members included: Caleb Rux, Chris North, Colton Sanders, Emma Corkill, & Ryan Olsen. The Galva High School FFA advisor is Trish Main.
Congratulations to Galva High School!
The 74th Henry County SWCD Annual Meeting a Great Success Despite Threatening Winter Weather
The Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District's 74th Annual Meeting was held on January 22, 2014 at 6:00pm. It took place at the Moose Lodge located at 1025 South State Street in Geneseo, IL. We had great turn out, given the inclement winter weather conditions, of approximately 110 people. Following a delicious dinner, director elections were held. Awards and recognitions were also given out to the Conservation Farm Family for 2013, the Conservation Tour 2013 Host, the Henry County Poster Contest Winners, the Section 3 FFA Soil Judging Contest Winners, and the Council 2 Envirothon Winners. Angie Snook, curator of the Geneseo Historical Museum, was our presenter for the evening, giving a wonderfully educational presentation titled “Henry County: The Underground Railroad.” Angie’s presentation took attendees back 120 years into the history of the local area covering settlement of the area, abolitionist movements, Underground Railroad & slavery facts, and detailed stories of local individuals and their families tied to these trying times in America’s history. The evening concluded with door prize drawings. The Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District would like to thank all of our sponsors and donors for the evening’s event. Be sure to join us next year for our 75th Annual Meeting!
Henry County Comprehensive Plan Update
For those of you unable to make the public input meeting for the Henry County Comprehensive Plan on 12/11/13, here is an update.
I think the public input meeting for the Comprehensive Plan for the County went well. There was a good turnout with approximately 40 people there. Bi-state headed the meeting and gathered information via interactive activities with the attendees, really spurring some thoughts about the County.
In general, the main priority of those in attendance was agriculture and agricultural lands (prime & important), and making sure that these things were incorporated into the new Comprehensive Plan. I feel this message was heard “loud & clear.” The other main takeaways included attracting new commercial industry and commerce to areas along I-80 & I-74 thoroughfares, containing residential and commercial development to local city limits and their 1.5 mile buffers, and incorporating some sort of stormwater management into new development guidelines.
There will really be only one more public input meeting and that will be shortly before the time of the Plan’s installation. So if you were unable to attend the initial meeting the other night and would like to have some input on the new Plan’s guidelines, I was told to follow the Planning Committee’s activities closely and get involved with any focus groups that arise.
Finally, additional input can be place via an online survey before January 31, 2014: www.surveymonkey.com/s/HenryCountyCompPlan
Ryan J. Arch
Henry County SWCD
The Mission of the Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District is to:
Provide leadership and administer programs to help conserve, improve and sustain our natural resources and environment.
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