Connect to Protect Your Watershed!
Take a look at our new Valley Stewardship Network T-shirts!
We’re encouraging everyone to get to know their own watershed and all the plants and animals that are a part of it.
We have T-shirts for the Kickapoo, Bad Axe, Tainter Creek, Coon Creek, and West Fork of the Kickapoo watersheds.
Visit us at the Viroqua Farmers Market on Rock St. (behind the library) on September 26th. We’ll also have VSN beer glasses and bumper stickers available.
Don’t know which watershed you’re in? Try finding yourself on this map, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s a Cover Crop?
Cover crops are crops that get planted after another crop is harvested. As corn silage harvest wraps up in our area, cover crop planting begins. Integrating covers into cropping rotations provides many benefits, including living ground cover to reduce erosion, building soil organic matter, reducing ground compaction, managing soil nutrients, and providing additional forage for livestock.
Corn Silage Harvest
Corn silage being harvested in the Tainter Creek watershed on a beautiful day in September.
Thinking of You – from VSN
Dear VSN Members,
I hope you are well and safe at home. As we manage these challenging times together with grit and grace, the amazing resiliency and self-sufficiency of our region’s communities and ecosystems are being highlighted. At Valley Stewardship Network, we cannot help but feel grateful seeing that spring is emerging, reminding us to be hopeful. Comfort and respite are available to us all by connecting with nature’s renewal.
The VSN staff is working from home, and we are available every day by email. Our staff is creative, self-directed, and adept at adjusting to working online. We are updating resource guides, creating GIS maps, developing whole farm stewardship and cover crop plans, developing outreach activities, and planning research studies.
Connect with Us to Share Signs of Spring
Although our Conservation on Tap programs and Water Action Volunteer activities are on pause, we are encouraging everyone to seek “Signs of Spring” with us. Try some of the following:
- Citizen-science observations from your windows
- Walks in your yard
- Hikes through your property
- Strolls down country roads
- Nature photography
- Keeping a journal
- Explorations that allow proper social distancing
We encourage you to record and share your spring findings. What birds are you seeing? What plants are sprouting?
Share your findings with us via Instagram, Facebook, or email:
- Follow us or tag us at @valleystewardshipnetwork on Facebook and Instagram.
- Use #VSNsharingsignsofspring on Instagram.
- Email us at email@example.com to share your findings or for help identifying birds, plants, and more!
Let’s all connect with nature and share our experiences in online community during this unique, emerging springtime. Through email and by sharing on social media, VSN will be sending out creative ways for people of all ages to enjoy, observe, and explore nature while remaining safe and healthy.
We encourage everyone to stay home, stay well, and stay connected with nature as we navigate this uncharted territory as a community. We at Valley Stewardship Network are looking forward to getting together with our community when it is once again safe to do so. In the meantime, I want to share my favorite Wendell Berry poem with you all.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
© Wendell Berry. This poem is excerpted from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry
Shelly Gradwell-Brenneman, Director, Valley Stewardship Network – On behalf of the entire Board and Staff of Valley Stewardship Network
Canada Goose nest
Photo by VSN member Harry Peterson