Two Pennsylvania Projects Selected for Urban Agriculture Grant

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) announced $1 million in urban agriculture conservation funding for 21 conservation districts across 13 states.

NACD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service first partnered through the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative in 2016 to support technical assistance activities in developed or developing areas.

Two recipients are from Pennsylvania:

  1. Allegheny County Conservation District (ACCD)
    Soil Health 2.0: Enhancing Productivity in Allegheny County
    The ACCD will support a series of soil health science and management workshops, development of an urban soil management guide, provide staff support for a pilot master composter program, and map out soil properties for potential urban ag lands across vacant lots in two low-income communities.
  2. Indiana County Conservation District (ICCD)
    Growing Community Education of Urban Agriculture with Community Partners
    The ICCD will establish local partnerships to improve operations and locate spaces for edible plants to provide onsite examples for workshops on urban agriculture and soil health best management practices. District staff will be trained to prepare and run workshops to expand knowledge of local agriculture as well as soil and water management.

Click here to read about the other recipients. 

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Northumberland County Conservation District Holds Breakfast for Landowners in Warrior Run Watershed

The stream table showed attendees how their actions affect an entire watershed. Photo provided by Northumberland County Conservation District.

Submitted by Judy Becker, Manager, Northumberland County Conservation District

The smell of breakfast was in the air as 75 farmers and landowners gathered the Saturday morning of January 25.  In the initial planning phases to create water quality goals in the Warrior Run watershed, the Warrior Run Watershed Team decided a pancake breakfast was a great way to connect with those living in the watershed.  The Team could not think of a better way to engage the community than to offer free breakfast and time of fellowship where they can learn about the watershed in which they live.

Click here to read the entire article and see more photos of the event. 

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Lawrence County Conservation District Creates Edible Rain Garden

The rain garden is planted and mulched. Photo provided by Lawrence County Conservation District.

The Lawrence County Conservation District (LCCD) created an edible rain garden for their 2019-20 Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Mini-grant Project.

LCCD Watershed Specialist Mary Burris installed an edible rain garden at the Lower East Side Community Garden in conjunction with the Lower East Side Neighborhood Watch, Tri-County CleanWays, and DON Enterprises. Columbia Gas also provided volunteer labor and heavy machinery.

The community garden feeds more than 50 families, and the edible rain garden will supply blueberries, elderberries, Aronia berries, strawberries, and rhubarb. The rain garden also serves as a stormwater best management practice to catch and slow runoff and will provide a location for education programs.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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NRCS Conservation Showcase Features Franklin County Project

Recently, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service wrote a Conservation Showcase titled “Streambank Restoration at Waynesboro Church,” written by Justin Atkins. The piece features a stream restoration project by Franklin County Conservation District.

From the piece:

Streambank erosion is currently one of the most common problems affecting streams in Pennsylvania. When a stream is eroded, sediment contaminates the water; sediment is currently one of the largest contributors to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. When a streambank that ran along the property of Great Commission Deliverance Ministries Church in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, began to erode, Jana Mellott connected with Tammy Piper, Watershed Specialist for the Franklin County Conservation District, in May of 2014 to see what could be done to improve the stream.

Click here to read the article. 

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Armstrong Conservation District Holds Stormwater Management Workshop

A stormwater workshop was held in October at the Armstrong Conservation District. Photo provided by Armstrong Conservation District.

On October 28, 2019, the Armstrong Conservation District held a stormwater workshop. Thirty-five attendees attended the workshop. As part of the project, the district distributed thirty-two rain barrels, produced a stormwater sign, and created a rain barrel demonstration area at the conservation district office.

This project was funded by a PA Department of Environmental Protection environmental education grant and a Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Mini-grant through PACD.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Lehigh County Conservation District Awards Grant for Urban Heat Island Tree Planting

Photo provided by Lehigh County Conservation District.

Reprinted with permission from Lehigh County Conservation District’s Winter 2019 newsletter

According to a New York Times article written on August 9, 2019, temperatures in a city can span a range of as much as 20 degrees depending upon one’s location. Students from Building 21 Public High School in Allentown have been working on finding solutions to this “hot topic” known as urban heat islands, for the last two years!

Student Maribel Rabio proposed planting three large groups of flowering trees to add shade and natural beauty to her school’s parking areas. After volunteering to help students with the first phase of Maribel’s tree plantings, several Lehigh County Conservation District (LCCD) staff members encouraged the school to apply to the district’s grant program for funding of phase two.

Upon LCCD board approval for a $2,000 grant, Building 21’s Urban Agriculture Class, Allentown Department of Public Works, and City Arborist Rick Howell worked together in October to carry out stage two of the project. On this day, six native redbuds and five native dogwoods joined Building 21’s ever-growing and greening landscape and brought Maribel’s great idea one step closer to completion.

Click here to read the entire article and here to watch a local news clip about the project. 

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The Work-Free Zone (Garden)

Photo provided by BCCD.

By: Kevin Brown, Ag. Resource Specialist, Bradford County Conservation District

Yes, that’s what I said, a garden that takes no work. This is a picture of our garden here at the office. I mulched it, planted it, spent maybe 15 minutes (total) weeding it at different times, and am now harvesting it. I know there are a lot of non-believers out there. My wife said it wouldn’t work. My co-workers said it wouldn’t work and wanted to know who was going to be the one spending the time needed to weed and water it. My response was, “If it works the way it’s supposed to, no one.” Even my mother said that when she read the first gardening article I wrote, “I couldn’t believe your name was associated with it. You never wanted anything to do with a garden.” And she’s right. I still don’t. But voilà! Here we are. I can handle a garden if I don’t have to do anything to make it a garden. Doesn’t everyone like to have super fresh vegetables if all they have to do is pick them? Well, you can.

Click here to read the entire article and here to read a news piece on the project. 

This workshop is part of the Bradford County Education & Outreach Mini-grant Project.

Financial and other support for this project is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Shambaugh Visits Adams County

(Left to right) Front Row: PACD Executive Director Brenda Shambaugh, ACCD Director David Benner, ACCD Director Ed Wilkinson, ACCD Director Jim Martin, ACCD Director Barbara Underwood. Back Row: ACCD Director Michelle Kirk, ACCD Director Carl Keller Jr., ACCD District Manager Adam McClain, and ACCD Director Charles Bennett.

PACD Executive Director Brenda Shambaugh traveled to Adams County Conservation District (ACCD) on December 19, 2019, to attend their annual planning session and board meeting. The district first held a 2019 year in review session and a planning session for 2020. Partners (including PACD) and legislators were invited to participate. The regular board meeting followed this session.

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Cumberland County Conservation District Holds Corn Planter Clinic

On December 18, 2019, the Cumberland County Conservation District and Cumberland Planter held their 9th Annual Corn Planter Clinic at the Shippensburg Auction Center. Topics included: The Foundations for a Better Yield, Considerations for Soil Health Fertility and Nutrient Management in No-Till Production, and No-Till Drill Preventative Maintenance. The clinic was well attended with 180 farmers, all there to gain valuable information before the spring 2020 crop year begins.

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Pike County Conservation District Hosts Podcast

Pike County Conservation District has a podcast called The Conservation Cast for Pike County residents that want to learn more about our environment.

The first episode is on watersheds and is available now. The second episode will be released on January 8 and focuses on water quality for homeowners. Click here to listen! 

Financial and other support for The Conservation Cast has been provided by the Department of Environmental Protection’s 2019 Environmental Education Grants Program.

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