Pollinators are important to our environment. And, when it comes to conservation, they are very beneficial. In the first edition of Backyard Conservation", Nancy Lee Adamson with the Xerces Society tells us how bee boxes can help us promote pollinators in our own backyards.
The Catoosa County Conservation District completed their first Pollinator Education Project in the spring of 2017. Working with the administration and faculty of Ringgold Primary School, our District Representative and Supervisor, Betts Berry, spearheaded this initiative. She conducted five lessons over a two week period.
Working with Mrs. Lindermann's second grade class, Betts Berry introduced pollinators and their importance with a video. The students then completed their own “pollinator project” by drawing and coloring a flower and attaching it to a paper bag. After depositing Cheetos in the bag, the students went from "flower to flower", reaching into the bags to retrieve the "pollen". The yellow dust from the Cheetos showed the students how pollen particles collect on the bees.
Another classroom lesson demonstrated the life cycle of butterflies. The students drew the different stages on a paper plate and using different shaped pasta, glued the pasta to depict each stage. They were led went on a pollinator scavenger hunt on the school grounds.
Prior to the work outside on the “Pollinator Garden”, which had been tilled and made ready for the students, they were led in a discussion about the importance of soil preparation, what seeds need to germinate, what plants need to grow, and the students then planted the seeds in the prepared bed. To celebrate the pollinator project, Mrs. Berry baked a honey cake (shaped like a beehive) and left honey from the farm for Mrs. Lindermann.
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and Improve Water Quality in South Chickamauga Creek
Limestone Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, a Northwest Georgia non-profit organization, is in the process of implementing a grant from the State of Georgia to improve conditions in the headwaters of the South Chickamauga Creek watershed in Catoosa, Whitfield, and Walker Counties. The watershed was eligible for the grant as a result of several stream segments not meeting state water quality standards. The goal of the grant is to implement a Watershed Management Plan within the watershed to lead to the de-listing of impaired stream segments and to maintain the integrity of other segments so they continue to meet the criteria for each designated use. In order to accomplish these goals, grant money will continue to be used for the installation of agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) and repairs on failing septic systems near creeks to reduce fecal coliform bacteria and sediment inputs to streams.
Limestone Valley RC&D partners with NRCS to assist farmers with land management practices that promote resource conservation. Agricultural BMPs to be considered for cost-shares include: alternative watering systems, cross-fencing and fencing along streams, heavy use area protection, pipeline installation, streambank and shoreline protection, stream crossings, travel lanes, watering ramps, etc. Currently, seven local farms are in the early planning stages for projects that include the installation of several of these BMPs. Cost-shares are also available to help cover the cost of repairs on failing septic systems within the vicinity of streams. Collaboration with the Catoosa and Whitfield Environmental Health Departments and permitted septic contractors will ensure only the highest quality repairs are completed. At this point, financial assistance has been made available for more than forty septic system repairs, and with limited funding this program component is now being focused on repairs in the vicinity of streams. Bare root seedlings can also be made available as establishment of trees and live stakes along streams in the watershed is another grant objective. Collectively, these projects would be a benefit to both landowners and homeowners within the South Chickamauga Creek Watershed, while also reducing the bacteria and sediment pollution that contribute to the stream impairments. Additional outreach activities such as watershed education, workshops, and volunteer stream clean-ups will be underway throughout the course of the South Chickamauga Creek watershed grant.
If you have any questions regarding the grant or cost-share opportunities, please contact Hunter Terrell (615) 479-2502 or Adam Kennon (865) 306-2327 of Limestone Valley RC&D Council.
Visit www.limestonevalley.org to get familiar with Limestone Valley RC&D Council and their mission to help the communities of Northwest Georgia.