Prairie STRIPS In-Field Presentation

Wednesday, September 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 pm


Prarie STRIP at edge of field

Valley Stewardship Network is hosting a Prairie STRIP (Science-Based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips) presentation on Wednesday, September 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Host Dave van Dyke has planted several prairie STRIPS on his property over 5 years.  He will take the group on a tour of a few of his STRIPS at various locations on his farm, which will demonstrate different stages of growth.  Dave will also discuss the seed mixes he used, the planting of the STRIPS, and what it takes to maintain them over time.  Valley Stewardship Network has helped Dave design and install his prairie STRIPS, as well as those of many others around the area, and will have representatives on hand to answer questions as well as talk about other native planting techniques.  There will be light refreshments.  

 Prairie STRIPS are a farmland conservation practice developed at Iowa State University.  By converting 10% of a row-cropped field to native tall-grass prairie plants, sediment export is reduced 95%, phosphorus export is reduced 90%, and nitrogen export is reduced nearly 85%.  The plant diversity also increases native pollinators and birds and increases soil organic matter, which helps hold water.  Using native plants also builds sustainability, restores ecosystem services, and increases the area’s biodiversity.  This practice contributes to productive farming and conserving our natural resources. Planting prairie STRIPS dovetails with Valley Stewardship Network’s Plant Natives for Biodiversity Initiative.


Dave van Dyke’s address is S5385 Hansen Lane, Viroqua.  From Viroqua, go west on Hwy. 56 about 10 miles.  Turn left on County Rd. N.  After 8/10th of a mile, turn left onto a gravel road – Hansen Lane (it will look like a driveway, but is really a road).  Follow the road to the end and park.

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email

Visit Us at Deep Rooted’s Tasty Tomato Festival in Westby

Tomato tasting, vendors, live music, food and drink

Sunday, September 5, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm


Valley Stewardship Network Booth at Farmers Market

Stop by Deep Rooted’s website for tickets and event info: Deep Rooted Event Info

Native Plantings Garden Tour in Viroqua

Visit 6 gardens in and around Viroqua and see a variety of  types of native plantings

Tour is August 10 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm

Stop by our office at 110 S. Main St., Viroqua, the day of the tour to pick up a map, descriptions of the gardens, and lists of resources

 Gardens showing early stages of planting natives

The gardens are all different and in different stages of planting.  Some are just getting started (see above), while others exhibit a full blast of color!  Some are meant for decoration while others provide food.  The gardeners will be present at each location to describe their goals and talk about their process.  

When you stop by the office to pick up your map, enter a drawing to win Doug Tallamy’s book Nature’s Best Hope!

Get to Know Valley Stewardship Network

Come meet us at our outdoor events

Viroqua Farmers Market

July 24 and August 14 – 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – 220 S. Main St., Viroqua

Valley Stewardship Network booth at Farmers Market

Viroqua Sidewalk Sale

July 31 – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – at our office at 110 S. Main St., Viroqua

Valley Stewardship Network staff in front of office

We’ll have our watershed T-shirts, beer glasses, and stickers for sale.  Enter a drawing to win Doug Tallamy’s book Nature’s Best Hope.

Seeding Success:  Cover Crop Best Practices in Tainter Creek Watershed

Join us for a free webinar!

April 29, 2021, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm CT

Cover crop root differences

In this webinar hosted by Valley Stewardship Network and Pasture Project, Karl Dallefeld, co-founder of Prairie Creek Seed, will discuss strategies to incorporate cover crops into your current farming operations, including timing of seeding, combining with fertilizer application, and the optimal seed varieties for the Tainter Creek climate.

Sign Up for Water Action Volunteer (WAV) Training – April 21st or April 24th, 2021


Become a Citizen Scientist!  Join Valley Stewardship Network (VSN) on either Wednesday, April 21, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. or Saturday, April 24, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. to be trained as a Water Action Volunteer (WAV) and learn how to contribute to the health of our watersheds by sampling the water in our streams! 


You can join a network of over 500 citizen scientist volunteers across the state who are part of the WAV program. As a WAV volunteer, you’ll learn about water quality and aquatic life in your local stream while collecting valuable scientific data. You’ll monitor dissolved oxygen, temperature, transparency, and flow once a month from May – October and collect stream bugs and other critters each spring and fall. We provide the equipment and teach you the methods.  Learn more about the WAV program here:

Your training begins with an online, self-guided study that is followed by an in-person workshop (conditions permitting) to be held at the West Fork Sports Club. Registration is required. Email to register.  The deadline for registration is April 19.  Additional information will be sent to you upon registration.

Once trained, you can expect to spend 1-2 hours per month collecting stream data. Volunteers often work in a 2-3 person team and monitor wadeable streams and rivers, often located near their home or within a short driving distance. The data you collect is entered into the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR’s) Surface Water Integrated Monitoring System (SWIMS) online database. Anyone with web access can view the data in the database, which is searchable by county, stream, or site name.

Celebrate Earth Day Throughout April with Presentations Co-Hosted by VSN and the McIntosh Memorial Library


What is VSN’s Water Action Vounteer (WAV) Program All About? 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 4:00 p.m.  Rice Spann, VSN’s WAV Training Coordinator, will be describing our WAV citizen science water monitoring program. VSN volunteers monitor local streams for dissolved oxygen, temperature, aquatic life, and more.  The WAV program is conducted in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources.  VSN provides all the equipment necessary.  Training will be held later in the month (see above).

If you missed the presentation but are still curious, you can watch it on YouTube here!

Connect to Protect Your Watershed!

Friday, April 16, 2021, at 10:30 a.m.  Connect with VSN staff members as they talk about VSN activities to protect our local watersheds, including discussion of some past programs and their native planting programs, sustainable grazing project, Watershed Council formation, water quality monitoring, bird-friendly beef program, and community outreach.

If you missed the presentation but are still curious, you can watch in on YouTube here!

“Nature’s Best Hope” Book Study

Friday, April 30, 2021, at 10:30 a.m.  VSN Board Chair Tom Lukens will lead a book study of Nature’s Best Hope by Doug Tallamy in which Tallamy urges homeowners to take environmental action into their own hands one yard at a time.  Tom will discuss efforts he has made this year to plant native plantings in both a yard in town and in a rural location as part of the overall discussion.

If you missed the presentation but are still curious, you can watch it on YouTube here!


Wetlands, Watershed, and Cold Water Resources

March 16, 7:00 p.m., on Zoom

In this presentation by Tracy Hames, you’ll learn about what wetlands are and how they help manage the water that flows through our watersheds.  Historically viewed as wastelands, wetland loss was rampant in Wisconsin for many decades.  The legacy of wetland loss has contributed to many of our current natural resource and societal problems, such as increased flooding, decreased water quality, and accelerated loss of fish and wildlife habitat.  Hames will present wetlands from a new perspective, showing how we can use them as solutions to the water-related issues we face, especially flooding. 

A video recording of a similar presentation can be found here.

Portrait of Tracy Hames

Tracy Hames was raised in Arden Hills, Minnesota.  He developed a love and appreciation for nature and the environment at a young age through many years of hunting, fishing, and camping.  Tracy obtained a BA in Biology and Environmental Studies from Macalester College in 1984 and an MS in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 1990.  He is currently the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wetlands Association.

About Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA)
WWA is a non-partisan, science-based, statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and enjoyment of Wisconsin’s wetlands.  We envision a state where wetlands are healthy, plentiful, and support ecological and societal needs, and where citizens care for, appreciate, and interact with these natural treasures.  As a membership-based non-profit, our ability to work for wetlands throughout Wisconsin is dependent on the generous support of our members.  Please become a wetland supporter by joining Wisconsin Wetlands Association today!

Valley Stewardship Network Annual Meeting for 2020 

If you missed the meeting, watch the videos!


See a short video that recaps some of the year’s activities here!

For a recording of the entire annual meeting presentation, click here.


Valley Stewardship Network Annual Meeting for 2020 will be held on Thursday, November 12, at 7:00 p.m.

Join us for our first virtual annual meeting!

We will be hosting our annual meeting on Zoom this year.  If you would like to attend, please email us at to register.  We’ll send you a link to the meeting.  We’ll introduce you to staff and board members, talk about what we’ve been up to this year, and preview a bit of our plans to belatedly celebrate our 20th anniversary next year!

Although we won’t be having a dinner with the meeting, Rooted Spoon Culinary is offering their usual Thursday-night take-out dinner with a bit of a Valley Stewardship Network flavor.  They are offering a Scandinavian meal featuring Swedish meatballs prepared from bird-friendly beef from local farmer Mastodon Valley Farm.  Bird-friendly beef means that they leave some of their fields ungrazed until late July to allow grassland birds time to raise their young.  Grassland bird populations are being decimated, and Valley Stewardship Network supports bird-friendly beef and hay practices.

In addition, you’ll be able to buy our Connect to Protect Your Watershed T-shirts and Valley Stewardship Network glasses with your Rooted Spoon dinner.  You’ll also get links to a short video showing what VSN has been up to this year as well as links to two previous Conservation on Tap presentations – one featuring Mastodon Valley Farm and one about prairies.

To sign up for the meal, head to starting November 9th.

Valley Stewardship Network will be at the Viroqua Farmers Market on  August 22nd and September 26, 2020

We will have our new Watershed T-shirts, glasses, and bumber stickers for sale.  Come and find out which watershed you are in.  


Links to videos from our 2019-2020 Conservation on Tap Season
(Not all events were videotaped.)

Wednesday, January 8: Savanna Pastures – Regenerating Earth’s Ultimate Ecosystems

Peter Allen, Mastodon Valley Farm

Oak savannas were the dominant ecosystems across much of North America including the Driftless for millions of years.  Although they are now the most rare and endangered ecosystem in North America, oak savannas offer the ultimate model for productive and profitable agro-ecosystems.  

Click on the link to see a video of the presentation:


Wednesday, March 11:  Driftless Prairie, Savanna, and Woodlands-A Journey of Discovery

Armund D. Bartz, Driftless Area Ecologist-Natural Heritage Conservation, WI- DNR

Although uncommon plants dominate these types of SW Wisconsin sites, learn how and why reptiles, butterflies and moths, other invertebrates, and some birds largely depend on these sites for their survival and future existence.

Click on the link to see a video of the presentation:


Become a member.

Now is a great time to join Valley Stewardship Network. We’d love to learn about your conservation interests and see how we might be able to help. You can join today or at this event, our annual meeting.