Save these Dates for 2020 Boot Camp Training

Mark your calendars for the Agricultural Conservation Technical Training (“Boot Camp” Basic Level and Level II). Conservation district staff are encouraged to take advantage of these free, week-long training opportunities which include both classroom learning and experience in the field.

  • Agricultural Conservation Technical “Boot Camp” Training – Basic Level
    April 6-10, 2020
    Keystone Conference Center, Ft. Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA (Lebanon County)
  • Agricultural Conservation Technical “Boot Camp” Training – Level II
    April 27-May 1, 2020
    Keystone Conference Center, Ft. Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA (Lebanon County)

The application period will open in January. Questions? Contact Shannon Wehinger at swehinger@pacd.org.

These training opportunities are made possible by the following sponsors: Natural Resources Conservation Service, State Conservation Commission, and the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc.

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Clearfield and Jefferson County Conservation Districts Hold Cover Crop Field Day

Clearfield and Jefferson County Conservation Districts held a Cover Crop Field Day on August 23, 2019. Photo provided by Clearfield County Conservation District.

On August 23, 2019, Clearfield and Jefferson County Conservation Districts held a cover crop field day in partnership with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Local Seed Company, and PA No-till Alliance. There were 49 participants at the workshop. As part of the event, two acres of cover crops were planted for a demonstration of their effectiveness against erosion control and water infiltration.

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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Northumberland County Conservation District & NRCS Hold Outreach Event

Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

From Ashely Lenig, written by Janette Lesher
Reprinted from 9/9/19 USDA NRCS PA Weekly News Flash

The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Northumberland County Conservation District (NCCD) offices recently worked together to hold an outreach event in the Warrior Run Watershed as part of the newly selected National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) initiative.

The Warrior Run basin is a priority watershed of the USDA-NRCS and is targeted in the NWQI program. Agriculture is the dominant land use in the Warrior Run Watershed. Riparian buffer zones are nearly nonexistent in the agricultural lands. Livestock also have unlimited access to streambanks in parts of the watershed, resulting in streambank trampling and severe erosion. Producers in the watershed consist of English, Amish, and Mennonite farmers.

As our team began working on a Watershed Plan, we discovered there was a large sector of producers with whom we had not worked. We knew if we wanted to work with them, we needed to get to know them. It was decided to have an ice cream social – homemade, of course!

Recently, we met a landowner whose farm is located next to Warrior Run, so we knew that it was the place we needed to bring farmers together. After explaining our plan to him, he said: “Invite them, and they will come.” Without using any flyers or news releases, the farmer simply invited his neighbors over to his farm.

As we were preparing for this event— expecting 10-15 producers—the landowner told us we had to step up our game, because about 50 people had told him they would attend. Ryan Cherwinski, NCCD Ag Technician, did not disappoint anyone as there was plenty of delicious homemade ice cream to go around.

As NCCD and NRCS staff served ice cream, families sat by the stream. Gary Walters with DEP was gracious enough to demonstrate electro-shocking on the stream. As he began catching fish, the farmers lined up on the stream bank to see what was in the buckets. Clusters of producers started to gather around agency staff to learn about stream health, best management practices, and what we are trying to achieve in the Warrior Run Watershed. As the parents listened and asked questions, the children were able to get their feet wet and help with a macroinvertebrate kick in the stream. NCCD Watershed Specialist Chantel Shambach helped the children identify what they found.

Once the families got back on their bikes and rode home to their farms with a new appreciation of the watershed in which they lived, NRCS and NCCD staff packed up their supplies and left with 50 new friends and many contacts of farmers to visit in the next few weeks. Who would have ever thought that a meeting with no flyers, no PowerPoints, and no set agenda would be successful? Our team had some hesitations but is certainly thrilled with the outcome. We look forward to doing other similar events in the watershed again.

Many thanks to all those on the team who helped make this a successful event:
NCCD Ag Technician – Ryan Cherwinski
NCCD Watershed Specialist – Chantel Shambach
DEP Water Quality Division Chief – Gary Walters
NRCS Civil Engineering Technician – Pam Richardson
NRCS Soil Conservationist – David McCoy
NRCS District Conservationist – Janette Lesher

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PACD Co-Hosts CPESC Training

The CPESC Exam held at the Lebanon County Conservation District on September 4, 2019. Photo taken by Amy Brown.

The Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) review course and exam were held on September 3 and 4, 2019. Nine people attended the course, which was held at the Lebanon County Conservation District Office.

PACD co-hosted the review course in order for conservation district employees to attend at a discounted price.

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Meet Ana Turosky – New PACD Conservation Technician

Ana graduated from Penn State in 2017 with a B.S. in Environmental Resource Management and a minor in Soil Science. Shortly after graduating, she accepted a position as a Soil Conservation Technician in York County, where she cultivated an appreciation for the hard work conservation professionals do across the state. This, in combination with a strong interest in engineering design, is what prompted her to seek this position with PACD.

On a personal note, Ana recently moved to Hummelstown with her boyfriend. She enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, dreaming of DIY home remodeling, and watching Penn State football games. WE ARE…

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Building for Tomorrow Management Summit Held in Centre County

(Clockwise): Nathan Moyer, Penn State ParliPro; William Yanavitch, Yanavitch & Associates LLC; Kate Bresaw, PA Department of Environmental Protection; and panel discussion: Heather Kennedy, Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps; Jenna St. Clair, Schuylkill Conservation District; John Dryzal, Cambria County Conservation District; Mary Ann Bower, Clinton County Conservation District; and Mark Kimmel, York County Conservation District.

The 2019 Management Summit was held from September 4-5, 2019, at the Wyndham Garden State College. This year’s Summit featured keynote and workshop sessions on both the theory and practical applications of team leadership and maximizing your team’s performance.

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

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Save the Date for 2020 Building for Tomorrow Staff Conference

Conservation district managers and staff – next year’s Staff Conference will be Wednesday, February 12, and Thursday, February 13, at the Wyndham Garden in State College. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!

Financial and other support for the Building for Tomorrow Leadership Development Program is provided through a grant from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. Guidance for the Program is provided through the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership’s Leadership Development Committee.

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Registration Opens for Chapter 102 Fall Regional Sessions

Agenda Now Available

PACD is partnering with the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to facilitate Chapter 102 Fall Regional Sessions. These free sessions are for conservation district and DEP staff. Click here to view the agenda. Registration will be from 9:00 a.m–9:30 a.m., and the sessions will conclude by 4:00 p.m..

Click here for directions on how to register for these sessions.

Due to limited space, please limit registrations to 3-4 staff per office.

Northwest Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 1, 2019 (deadline to register is September 20)
DEP Northwest Regional Office, Meadville, PA

Southwest Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 2, 2019 (deadline to register is September 20)
Westmoreland Conservation District, Greensburg, PA

Northcentral Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 15, 2019 (deadline to register is October 4)
DEP Northcentral Regional Office, Williamsport, PA

Northeast Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 22, 2019 (deadline to register is October 11)
Back Mountain Regional Emergency Services, Dallas, PA

Southeast Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 29, 2019 (deadline to register is October 18)
DEP Southeast Regional Office, Norristown, PA

Southcentral Chapter 102 Fall Regional Session
October 31, 2019 (deadline to register is October 21)
Dauphin County Agriculture and Natural Resources Center, Dauphin, PA

For questions related to the Clean Water Academy, contact Jay Braund at jbraund@pa.gov.

Contact Shannon Wehinger at swehinger@pacd.org with questions about the fall sessions.

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$542,756 Available for Multi-Functional Riparian Buffer Sub-grants

Reminder: PACD is accepting sub-grant applications to implement multi-functional riparian buffers. The implementation of these grants will help the commonwealth achieve its goal of planting 95,000 acres of riparian buffers by 2025.

To date, PACD has awarded $158,000 in sub-grants to 10 conservation districts covering 30 acres of multi-functional riparian buffers.

The guidelines and applications for this new statewide sub-grant program for conservation districts are available here. Direct questions to Amy Brown at abrown@pacd.org.

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 Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.

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