Education & Outreach
ENVIROTHON partnership with Boxerwood Education Association
The SWCD formed a partnership in the fall of 2021 to recruit high school students for an Envirothon team. The students met at Boxerwood Nature Center on Wednesday afternoons aided by two coaches. During their sessions, team members learned about the five Envirothon topics of study: forestry, soils, aquatics, wildlife and the special topic of waste management. A guest expert forester was asked to help in the training by teaching the students to identify and measure trees. Three students faithfully attended these after-school training sessions; however, five team members were needed in order to compete. Despite early challenges, the pilot team of three students represented Rockbridge at the Area I competition on April 28, 2022. While not able to officially compete, the students participated in all aspects of the Area competition as another training opportunity.
In the 2022-2023 season, all three students who participated in the program last year returned to the team along with the addition of two more members who represented Rockbridge at the regional competition on April 27, 2023.
FIELD DAY - OAK BANK FARM
The Natural Bridge SWCD is hosting a Field Day at Oak Bank Farm on May 11, 2023.
174 Oak Bank Drive, Natural Bridge, VA 24578
Field Day Agenda:
9:00 – 9:30 am: Registration
9:45 – 10:00 am: Welcome and Introductions
10:00 – 11:00 am: Discuss Conservation Programs implemented at the farm.
11:00 – 11:30 am: Discussion of Rotational grazing benefits and Best Management Practices NRCS-USDA representatives and Local Farmer(s) using Rotational Grazing.
11:30 - 11:50 am: Travel to Natural Bridge Fire Department
(5705 South Lee Highway Natural Bridge Virginia 24578) for lunch and afternoon program.
12:00 - 12:45 pm: Lunch Provided
12:45 - 1:15 pm: Animal health and Ag law changes update by Blue Ridge Animal Clinic and Virginia Cooperative Extension Service.
1:15 - 1:35 pm: Small Farm Outreach Program by Virginia State University College of Agriculture.
1:35 - 2:05 pm: Presentation of Clean Water Farm Award
2:00 - 2:30 pm: Questions, Discussion and Closing remarks.
Please call 540-319-6453 to RSVP for this event by 5pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023:
This field day will be held in partnership with:
Rockbridge Cattleman's Association
Virginia Cooperative Extension Service
Blue Ridge Animal Clinic
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF)
Natural Resource Conservation Service- USDA
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation- Division of Soil & Water (DCR)
Virginia State University - Small Farm Outreach Program
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Natural Bridge SWCD Chairman, Robert G. Deyo, presenting the Rockbridge Regional Library with a donated copy of the Rockbridge County Spring Identification Project Final Report on April 12, 2023. Photo by NBSWCD staff.
Rockbridge County Spring Identification Project Final Report
The Natural Bridge Soil & Water Conservation District entered into a partnership with SKTWorks, LLC., a local firm providing GIS services for conservation to produce a comprehensive inventory of springs within the Maury River Watershed in Rockbridge County. The voluntary springs identification project was seeking to locate springs in Rockbridge as part of an effort to raise awareness and understanding of groundwater resources. The project is part of an initiative to better monitor and protect the county's groundwater, which provides vital drinking water for residents and for agricultural purposes.
The Natural Bridge SWCD would like to thank each and every landowner, agency, board member and staff for their efforts in getting this project completed. The Rockbridge County Spring Identification Project Final Report is complete, and copies have been donated to the local library system.
For landowner's who participated in this study and would like further information about drinking water guidelines or further testing, you can contact Tom Stanley, Agriculture Extension Agent, at the Rockbridge County Extension Office 540-463-4734. The Rockbridge Extension office periodically offers water testing through VA Tech and Mr. Stanley can also provide a list of private certified labs in the region that offer analytical services.
Natural Bridge SWCD staff attended the 2023 Virginia No-Till Alliance (VANTAGE) Conference in Rockingham, VA on February 21, 2023.
Congratulations to James Alexander of Cherry Grove Farm, recipient of the 2023 No-Till Champion Award! Tom Stanley, Rockbridge County Extension Agent, presented the award to Mr. Alexander at this year's VANTAGE Conference.
Cherry Grove Farm, located on the northern end of Rockbridge County, has been an active participant in Agriculture Best Management Practices to improve the quality of the land and we are proud of his efforts!
Palmer Community Center Event
On June 11, 2022, Natural Bridge SWCD co-sponsored with Trout Unlimited a stream water quality and fish habitat event informing attendees about strategies to enhance healthy fish populations in local streams. Information about important land use practices was provided as well as Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) fishery biologists to conduct the event and answer attendee’s questions. The event was held at Palmer Community Center and had an excellent turnout.