This posting of Outreach Insight is the monthly report of the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District’s Outreach and Education Program.
North Willamette Horticulture Society Conference and Trade Show
Three days of research and advances in organic and conventional production of berries and vegetables attracted growers from around the state and beyond to this North Willamette Horticulture Society event. Presentations from local growers and experts from many organizations, agencies, and universities led to numerous lunch and break-time discussions between presenters and attendees or just between growers.
Highlights from the conference
The District was there with a table top display that touched on pesticide drift, irrigation efficiency, beneficial insects, and how the District can help producers protect water quality. Of course what vegetable conference is complete without a taste test of kale varieties compliments of OSU Extension. Opportunities such as this conference give us a chance to connect with local producers that we look forward to seeing each year.
Farm to School and School Garden Summit
From one conference to another, the District attended and had a table top display at the Farm to School and School Garden Summit at the Oregon Garden in Silverton. The focus of our display was soil health, plus information regarding the soil health workshop we offer to local teachers and volunteers from schools that have school gardens.
The purpose of the Farm to School and School Garden Summit is to support members of Oregon’s farm to school and school garden community in their work to provide farm and garden-based education, and to incorporate healthy, local food into school meals.
Two days of learning and connecting
The the workshop was split between farm- and garden-based education and incorporating local food into school meals. In addition to the workshops presented both days there were opportunities for networking and sharing of ideas and resources. An enthusiastic group kept the conversations going from early morning check-in to the closing address!
Scholarship Season is Here!
Earlier this month, notices were distributed announcing the 2018 Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District Scholarship. Each year the District offers scholarships to local Clackamas County students who either graduated from a Clackamas County school or is currently living in Clackamas County.
Additional eligibility requirements
To be eligible students must be at least a sophomore this coming fall and a full time student studying some form of agriculture, a natural resource science, or related field. This year we will be offering two, $3,000 scholarships.
Why does the District support students?
Our goal is to assist college students majoring in the fields that will lead them to professions dealing with soil and water conservation. With the cost of education skyrocketing, the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District board feels strongly about providing financial resources to help support future conservation professionals.
Applications must be received at the District office by April 6, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. We are located at 221 Molalla Ave Suite 102 Oregon City OR 97045.
Do not miss this great opportunity!
A quote from Susan Barnes on our Facebook post regarding our scholarships: My daughter Julia Barnes has been the recipient of this scholarship. We are so thankful for this opportunity and she has worked non-stop to earn it! The scholarship has helped make it possible for her to pursue her passion in agriculture and livestock production, and I have no doubt she will one day be an owner of productive working lands. I highly encourage all eligible students to apply for this scholarship! Even if Julia had not been awarded, the Clackamas SWCD and staff rocks!
You Can Benefit from Keeping Soil Covered!
Did you know that plants continually feed the community of beneficial microbes in the soil? Healthy soil microbes lead to healthy crops and overall soil health.
Who wants to lose their land?
Another benefit from keeping the soil covered with plants is prevention of soil erosion. Keeping your hard working soil in the field is a benefit to everyone! Several strategies to keep soil microbes happy and your soil in place include growing cover crops or planting mid-slope buffer strips, field borders, or in-row vegetation.
Live plants and residue on your soil provide benefits in addition to erosion prevention and feeding soil organisms such as:
- suppressing weeds
- recycling nutrients
- improving infiltration
- fixing nitrogen (if using legumes)
- improving water-holding capacity
Pilot program for the Clackamas Watershed
In partnership with the Clackamas River Water Providers, the District is offering cost-share dollars to install practices using vegetative cover to reduce soil erosion. Producers eligible for the funding must be within the Clackamas River Watershed.
Contact a District conservation planner to find out more about this program 503-210-6000 or [email protected]
We are creating new display boards for our WeedWise program. Keep an eye out for our new look. We anticipate the first outing for our display will be the Lake Oswego Watershed Council’s State of the Watershed Event on February 5th at the Mountain Park Clubhouse located at 2 Mt. Jefferson Terrace, Lake Oswego, OR 97035.
District staff will be on hand to talk about invasive weeds and ask folks to report sighting of our target weed species.
See you there!
Presentations Around the County
In addition to the table top displays we set-up across the county this month, we were tapped to speak at two local events.
Beneficial insects were the topic of the presentation made by District staff at the monthly gathering. The purpose was to introduce ways to provide habitat for natural enemies of our garden pests. Our goal is to reduce pesticide use and have a healthier garden for you and your beneficial insect friends.
Hamlet of Beavercreek Meeting
At the January meeting of the Hamlet of Beavercreek, the District General Manager, staff, and Board Director Don Guttridge presented an update on the plans to construct a Conservation
Resource Center at our farm in Beavercreek.
Plans to construct the building on the already built footprint will allow the District to retain the rural flavor of the property. A hearing on the conditional use permit was held the next day. Thank you to the Beavercreek Hamlet for supporting our Conservation Resource Center plans!
Council of Councils Meeting
Periodically the District hosts a meeting of the watershed councils that are either fully or partially located in Clackamas County. One such meeting was held on January 24, 2018 with leaders from all 10 local watershed councils, representatives from Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District and a member of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, who happens to also serve on our District board!
It was a very productive meeting. There were new faces and old friends, and thoughtful conversation on how multiple councils could collaborate on projects. A discussion also ensued on how the larger councils could support the smaller ones. Participants went away feeling that it was time well spent!
Small Farm School – Change of Date
This year there is a significant change in the date of Small Farm School! Traditionally held at the end of summer, Small Farm School will be held this year in July. The planning committee realized that September is a busy time for farmers, so decided to change the date hoping to attract more farmer participants. They also considered:
- Spring planting for summer crops should be complete and summer planting for fall crops is still a few weeks out. There is a plan to offer some classes on fall/winter crops for which the timing is just right!
- Students are recently out of school and possibly more likely to be around to attend.
- Changing the date might attract a new group of folks who haven’t attended in the past and will allow focus on early season issues not generally touched upon during the fall sessions.
Where Else You Might See Us?
We do our best to find outlets for conservation information we think will be helpful. The information may be found in a variety of formats in any number of locations. You never know where we will show up! This month you will find something from the District the following publications:
Check us out in the 2018 Tree School Catalog!
The District has been a platinum sponsor of the Oregon State University Extension Tree School since 2011. A platinum sponsor contributes $1,000 in support of this well attended educational event.
- Tree School Saturday March 24th Clackamas Community College Registration is open!
- GardenPalooza Saturday April 7, 2018 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fir Point Farms, Aurora OR
- Wildlife-Friendly Gardening: Creating Habitat at Home Saturday, April 14th; 8:30 am – 12:30 pm. at Clackamas Community College. Watch for more information next month!
New Web Posts this Month:
- Get Ready for the 2018 Native Plant Sales
- District Operations Report for December 2017
- January Invasive Weed of the Month: English Ivy
- District Announces 2018 Watershed Council Support Grant Awards
- 2018 Scholarship Applications Available Now!
- The Prickly Thistle
- The Monthly Plan-It: Updates from the Conservation Planning Program – January 2018