Conservation on Tap – Encouraging Biodiversity in the Driftless – January 9th
Continuing our series of presentations on conservation in the Driftless Area, the Valley Stewardship Network (VSN) is pleased to welcome ecologist Melinda Knutson to the Conservation on Tap forum. She will explain why the Driftless Area is so rich with native wildlife species and suggest ways that landowners and homeowners can promote biodiversity on their properties. Join us to learn more about what you can do to enhance wildlife habitat on your land.
Dr. Melinda Knutson, owner of Trillium Consulting, LLC, is a retired regional biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr. Knutson has more than 25 years of experience practicing ecology. She studied birds, frogs, and their habitats as a research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and she designed monitoring and conservation plans for national wildlife refuges while working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In her younger years, she was a beekeeper and a farmer in southeastern Minnesota. She is an avid gardener and enjoys all things outdoors. [learn more…]
Conservation on Tap – A Half Billion Years of Driftless History – December 12th
The third in our series- A Half Billion Years of Driftless History: Your well water, frac sand and karst geology. is Wednesday, December 12, 2018. The presenter for this topic is Kelvin Rodolfo, an entertaining and much sought after speaker in the region. Join us to learn how the ancient, 1,000-foot thick stack of rock layers beneath us was formed, how water percolates down into our aquifers, and how we must protect this precious resource from careless use.
Kelvin Rodolfo is Professor Emeritus with the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago. He and his Kathy Crittenden run a small permaculture farm powered by solar and wind energy in Viroqua township. Kelvin shares his expertise with grassroots organizations in northwest Wisconsin and adjacent areas of Iowa and Minnesota, to defend the local environment from inappropriate uses such as confined animal-feeding operations (CAFOs) and frack-sand mining. [learn more…]
Conservation on Tap – Prehistoric Ecology of the Driftless Area – November 14th
Valley Stewardship Network’s new conservation series began in October and we considered the event a great success. There were 70+ people in attendance which greatly surpassed our humble estimation of 20 participants. Thanks to the community for your support! Now, mark your calendars for our next one- Prehistoric Ecology of the Driftless Area. Valley Stewardship Network’s Agroecologist, John Delaney will be the presenter.
Today when we look upon our landscape we see farm fields, pastures, and dense forests throughout the area. These features contribute to our unique and rich ecology of the region, but our ecological landscape hasn’t always been this way. Even as recently as 100 years ago, our landscape was more open, with more prairie and savanna habitat than we see today. Before that, even more drastic changes occurred as our local climate has changed over the past 12,000 years. In this presentation, we will travel back in time, and look at how the ecology in our area has changed over decades, centuries, and millennia. [learn more…]
VSN’s new, six-part survey is set to begin, Conservation on Tap
After months of planning and raising funds, Valley Stewardship Network is set to begin our new series, Conservation on Tap. The first in our series is October 10, 2018 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm at the Rooted Spoon, 219 South Main Street in Viroqua. This event series will be an opportunity for folks to hear engaging presentations about regional conservation topics in a relaxed setting while also getting to sample local brews and beverages. Following each of the speakers’ presentation, the audience will be able to chime in with questions and contribute to a broader discussion of the night’s conservation topic. [learn more…]
Renowned Soil Scientist, Ray Archuleta- Wednesday, July 25 & Thursday, July 26
The Tainter Creek Farmer-led Watershed Council Presents: Reducing Costs & Flood Impacts on the Farm. Join us to learn how to reduce flood and erosion impacts while decreasing farm input costs and improving your bottom line. On Wednesday, Ray will discuss how to “Improve your Soil” from 6 – 9:30 pm. On Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm, the field day will will focus on “Practical Ways to Profit”. Demonstrations include On-site Soil Pits, Rainfall Simulator, and Healthy Soil Activities. Both events will be held at Woodhill Farms, S7589 Tainter Hollow Road, Viroqua, WI. The cost is $25 per event or $35 for both events (wonderful meals included at each event). All proceeds will go toward improving the Tainter Creek Watershed. Call Sarah at Vernon Co Land and Water Conservation Dept at 608-637-5480 to make your reservation TODAY!
Seeking Volunteers for Hubbard Hills Pollinator Seeding
Please join us- Tuesday, May 22nd from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, to plant native prairie seed for pollinators and other wildlife at Hubbard Hills, just north of the end of W. Maple St. in Viroqua. We will remove some of the debris from the ground that was created by clearing efforts, and seed roughly two acres to native prairie grasses and flowers.
This is a great opportunity to get outdoors, get some exercise, and learn about restoring native plant communities and the benefits they provide to wildlife. All ages welcome!
See https://www.facebook.com/events/320076018522126/ for more information.
Prescribed Grazing Technical Service Provider Training
Training for those interested in becoming a Technical Service Provider (TSP) in Prescribed Grazing, and others interested in a comprehensive course in pasture management, will be held on May 22nd, 23rd, and 24th from 9:30am -3:30pm each day at American Legion Post #138, 120 N. Rusk Ave, Viroqua, WI. Technical Service Providers are hired by farmers, business, or organizations to provide services on behalf of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).
To get more information or to register for the course contact John Delaney, Valley Stewardship Network, at 608-637-3615 or email@example.com. Participants are limited to the first twenty to register, with preference given to those who intend to pursue TSP status. Registration Deadline: May 15th.
Hear ye, hear ye… Read all about it
We are happy to announce we have completed our 2018 Spring Newsletter. Please take a read and let us know what you think.
VSN’s Dr. John Delaney’s article in MOSA’s Organic Cultivator
The winter newsletter for MOSA Organics includes an article by VSN’s Agroecologist, Dr. John Delaney. Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation on Organic Farms discusses the importance of biodiversity in our farming landscapes especially since documented declines in recent decades. The article is filled with the many components and options to promote biodiversity on your farm.
Area farmers taking the lead in conservation and water quality!
Farmers aim to preserve Tainter Creek Watershed; VSN is so proud to be collaborating with this group. Our staff lead, Matt Emslie, Landowner Outreach Coordinator, has been working with the group since last year. The farmer-led watershed council has met numerous times and received their first grant in December, 2017. They are planning to use these funds to increase adoption of cover crops, water testing, and host a series of field days.
Farmer Demonstration and Discussion- February 17th – Westby, WI
Outwinter with Bale Grazing to Improve Soil Health & Fertility. The Wallace Center Pasture Project will host a second discussion and demonstration of the value of outwintering. This time exploring the benefits of bale grazing. Join us to learn about this cost saving practice when compared to drylot feeding. In addition to cost savings, the natural distribution of manure by animals while feeding in pastures helps to improve retention of nutrients, much of which are lost to volatilization, leaching, and runoff in a drylot before manure is removed. See how the effects of pasture and soil health can grow over the years contributing to a healthier bottom line for your farm.
The event will be held 10am-12pm, Saturday, February 17th at S1847 Nestingen Rd. Westby, WI. For more information or to RSVP, please contact John Delaney at 608-637-3615 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration deadline is February 14th. Grilled Lunch will be provided.