March was a busy month for the Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District! The month started with the annual Contractors’ Breakfast at the Original Springs Hotel on March 4.
This year’s breakfast was jointly hosted by the Clinton County SWCD. Both counties invited all of the districts’ participating contractors from each county. Speakers included representatives from NRCS, J.U.L.I.E., & Natural Gas Pipeline.
The following week, the area (LUC 13) Envirothon was held in Mt. Vernon on March 10. Teams compiled of 5 high school-aged students each, are tested in the following categories – Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife and a current environmental issue.
This year’s fifth category was “Urban & Community Forestry.” Students visit five “in-the-field” test stations where written and hands-on problem solving is required.
Washington County had one team participate this season, sponsored by the Nashville FFA and coached by Julie Bond.
The winning area team this year, from Sandoval, will go on to participate at the State level, whose winner will go on to participate in the National competition.
Next in the month’s agenda was the Cover Crop workshop and lunch, held this year at the RBM Golf Course on March 19.
This is the third year that the district has held this successful event.
This year’s workshop was also co-sponsored by Clinton County SWCD, with support from Schuette Seed and IDOA.
The featured speaker, Mike Plumer, is a nationally-renowned cover crop researcher consultant.
Those in attendance also heard remarks from cover crop demonstration-plot owner Dave Karg, and representatives from Center Seeds.
Workshop participants were able to view hands-on soil samples from the Karg plot, as well as various seed blends provided by Center Seeds. The workshop concluded with an informative Q-and-A session with Mike Plumer and a demonstration-plot tour at the Karg farm.
The SWCD capped off the month with our first Invasive Species Awareness workshop and lunch at the RBM Golf Course on March 26.
This was an enlightening day full of information regarding Invasive Plant Species specific to our area. Chris Evans led the presentation and answered many participant questions throughout the workshop.
Evans is the Invasive Species Coordinator for the IDNR Illinois Wildlife Action Plan.
All of these events were free for participants. Each presentation featured several handouts, which can be found on our website at www.washingtonswcd.com or on our Facebook page.