Students are natural-born farmers – having fun dispersing cover crop seed

Can today’s high school students enjoy farming?  Might they really care about conservation and the state of our local soil quality – if you’re at a workshop with Dave Robison from Cisco Seed (and their biology teacher, Mr. Rob Walker) – the answer is … YES.

Check out the video we have of the students spreading seed on our You Tube channel.  You can link to it from our website.

Here is an image showing the results of their work.  (Video on Youtube channel)  (and those seeds are baby cover crop radish seeds).

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Profile of our Cover Crops project at Westville High School



Back on September 28th, Westville High School biology students, and LaPorte SWCD staff had the good fortune of collaborating with Cisco Seed agronomist, Dave Robison, who is helping us demonstrate the value of cover crops with a test-plot next to the school’s athletic fields.  

The project is a multi-part effort to demonstrate the value of cover crops to area farm producers.  Our first step involved seeding the soybean field (check out our pictures and video from the day); next, we’ll hold an indoor workshop with details on cover crop applications on November 17th (check out our website for details) followed by a quick tour of the seven-week old crops of oil-seed radishes and annual rye.  Finally, we’ll host area producers again in the spring and dig a root pit to reveal the incredible biological benefits of these crops deep underground.  Stay tuned for these future workshops, and call or email the office today to attend out breakfast workshop on 11/17/11.

Can the students spread the cover crops effectively?  Watch the action – farmer conservationists in the making …

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Some pictures from our Pasture Management Field Day

Attendees Inside the great facilities at Reins of Life, Michigan City, IN.

Ed Heckman made the learning fun

Our group was seriously identifying plants

Our group was seriously identifying plants.

Even the horses joined us.

Here a fescue, there a fescue …

The evening was fun, collaborative, informative, filled with horse-lovers and land-lovers; even the weather cooperated.   Thanks for the great night, Ed Heckman and Susannah Hinds, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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Pasture Management Field Day – a great success

Our pasture management field day in late September was a fun and informative event …the weather was beautiful, the instructors – Ed Heckman and Susannah Hinds were wonderful, even the horses behaved superbly.  Thank you to all who came and participated.

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Bob Nowak’s Clutch of Quail

Here are the baby quail, waiting for release later this summer and fall.

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Meet Bob Nowak, a Laporte County Landowner in the Trail Creek Watershed who inspires the SWCD and our work for healthy soil and water.

We’re sure there are many people taking care of their land and employing conservation techniques the way Bob Nowak does up in Michigan City, just west of the I-94 Interchange and north of Route 20.  But meeting people like Bob is always a thrill, knowing that many County residents like him choose to do the right thing by installing conservation practices on their own, simply because they care so much about the ecological health of their property.  Bob and his family have owned the woods, farm, and fields for over 100 years.  You can sense that pride and commitment to keeping the land healthy for another 100 years when you meet him on site – the woods are breathtaking and diverse; the prairie a strong tapestry of color; and the property’s portion of Trail Creek is buffered with vegetation.

We’ve posted a few images of Bob standing next to his 3-year old seeded prairie (seeding work he did as well, if not better, than professional ecologists) with another picture showing a clutch of baby quail intended for field release this fall.  When asked why he’s raising and releasing quail, he plainly noted he used to see quail quite a bit years back, and wants to see their return to the local landscape. 

The Trail Creek Watershed, and all of LaPorte County, is fortunate to have such dedicated and creative land stewards as the Nowak family.  Thanks for the tour Bob!

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Saugany Lake detailing downspout into new rain garden

The good folks at Saugany Lake Conservation Club, led by Don Lode, are shown here detailing the downspout from the Conservation Building at the fairgrounds.  This rain garden will capture one-fourth of this large building’s roof rainfall.

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Rain Garden within new native landscape at County Fairgrounds

This gallery contains 9 photos.

The LaPorte County SWCD, together with tremendous assistance from Saugany Lake Conservation Club, has recently transformed of portion of the grounds of the Conservation Building over at the County Fairgrounds.  The plan calls for a native prairie garden demonstrating low irrigation and no-fertilizer requiremenets, … Continue reading

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Indiana’s Fish of the Galena River Watershed

Check out these amazingly cool-looking fish that are native to Indiana’s portion of the Galena Watershed.  Our conservation friend and colleague, Joe Exl – the senior water policy planner at NIRPC – helped put together this great brochure.  Thanks for all your work, Joe. Indiana’s Fish of the Galena River Watershed

Which one is your favorite?

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Blue Green Algae website update

For more information Blue Green Algae testing and updates, click on IDEM’s link, below.

http://www.in.gov/idem/algae/2310.htm

Indiana Reservoir and Lake Update for June 10, 2011

The Indiana State Department of Health cautions Hoosiers of possible high levels of blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, at many of Indiana’s reservoirs and lakes. Swimmers and boaters should be careful in all recreational waters during this time of the year. Precautionary measures include avoiding contact with visible algae and swallowing water while swimming. Take a bath or shower with warm, soapy water after coming in contact with untreated water in ponds and lakes, especially before preparing or consuming food. Pets and livestock should also not be allowed to swim in or drink untreated water from these sources. Exposure to a blue-green algae during recreational activities such as swimming, wading, and water-skiing may lead to rashes, skin, eye irritation, and other uncomfortable effects such as nausea, stomach aches, and tingling in fingers and toes. If you should experience any symptoms after water recreational activities, please contact your doctor.

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