Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District

Looking for something educational to entertain your kids this summer? Check out our free conservation-minded programs, i...
07/14/2020

Looking for something educational to entertain your kids this summer? Check out our free conservation-minded programs, including a Conservation Poster Contest, Free Patch Program, fun (downloadable) pollinator activities and plenty of "conservation at home" tips to help your student start a pollinator garden, practice the 3Rs or go on a nature scavenger hunt! Go to www.loudounsoilandwater.com to learn more.

The deadline for the 2020 VASWCDEF Photo Contest is fast approcaching (July 31st)...go to https://vaswcd.org/photocontes...
07/13/2020

The deadline for the 2020 VASWCDEF Photo Contest is fast approcaching (July 31st)...go to https://vaswcd.org/photocontest to submit your photos to show us what "Earth Day Everyday" looks like to you. You could be the winner of one of these categories!!
1. Overall Winner (1 winner): Illustrates how people interact with their environment and care for the natural resources around them.
2. People’s Choice (1 winner): Overall winner selected from among the 10 honorable mentions based on the highest number of votes received during public voting to be held on the VASWCD page in August 2020.
3. Young Photographer (1 winner): Best vibrant moment of conservation, taken by a photographer under 18 years of age.

What does "Earth Day Everyday" look like to you. Submit your vision in our 2020 photo contest! Rules and guidelines can be found on our website. https://vaswcd.org/photocontest. Submissions must be received by midnight July 31st.

Our Septic Pump Out rebate program is currently accepting applications. Proper septic system use and routine care are vi...
07/10/2020
Septic Pump-out Rebate Program – Loudoun SWCD

Our Septic Pump Out rebate program is currently accepting applications. Proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health, preserving our groundwater, lakes, streams and waterways, and avoiding costly repairs that can result from neglect. LSWCD offers a $50 rebate to Loudoun landowners towards the pump out of their septic system. A limited number of rebates are available. Learn more and download an application by clicking the link below.

Septic Pump-Out Rebate Program Click HERE for the Septic System Pump Out Application Proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health, preserving our groundwater, lakes, streams and waterways, and avoiding costly repairs that can result from neglect. The Loudoun Soil a...

Got Japanese Beetles in your garden?  Check out this conservation-minded tip from Washington Gardener Magazine...
07/08/2020

Got Japanese Beetles in your garden? Check out this conservation-minded tip from Washington Gardener Magazine...

Garden tip of the Day: When dispatching Japanese Beetles, remember to look for opaque white spots on their shoulders — those are the eggs of tachnid* flies, which hatch and then consume the beetle from within. By letting beetles with the spots live--the more you let hatch, the more you will get to help control the beetle population.
Note: There may be one, two, or more of the spots.
*These are not the same tachnids that affect Monarchs.
#gardendc #gardening #gardentips #gardenhack #gardeningtipsforbeginnners
Photo and tip courtesy of Lynette Walther, https://gardeningonthego.wordpress.com/about/

07/07/2020

More than 200 adults took on a new challenge by participating in the VASWCDEF Adult Natural Resources Testing Week. Congratulations to these participants who scored in the top ten of each category listed below!!

Who knew bugs could be so pretty?  This is a stonefly. It was one of two I found near a waterfall while visiting Shenand...
07/06/2020

Who knew bugs could be so pretty? This is a stonefly. It was one of two I found near a waterfall while visiting Shenandoah National Park recently. It is not just a pretty face either 🥰. Stoneflies are "pollution sensitive" insects, which means they require good water quality to survive. They actually spend most of their lives in their nymph stage in the water, anywhere from 1 - 3 years, where they do a lot of eating, growing and molting. They emerge from the water to molt one last time, becoming winged adults, and only live for a few days to a few weeks with a focus on mating. Knowing their water home is clean enough for them to survive makes me happy! Please share what you discover makes you happy by entering our 2020 VASWCD PHOTO CONTEST. The theme this year is "Earth Day Everyday" - all ages are encouraged to send us up to ten photos. Categories judged will be:
1. Overall Winner (1 winner): Illustrates how people interact with their environment and care for the natural resources around them.
2. People’s Choice (1 winner): Overall winner selected from among the 10 honorable mentions based on the highest number of votes received during public voting to
be held on the VASWCD page in August 2020.
3. Young Photographer (1 winner): Best vibrant moment of conservation, taken by a photographer under 18 years of age.

Learn more: https://vaswcd.org/photocontest

Congratulations to the people listed below who took on the challenge of the Aquatics Test during National Resources Adul...
06/30/2020

Congratulations to the people listed below who took on the challenge of the Aquatics Test during National Resources Adult Testing Week and scored in the top ten! 🎉🌏

Congratulations to these people who really know a lot about aquatics and placed in the top ten for the Aquatics Test.

What if we had no chocolate in our lives? 😲 Thanks to our AWESOME POLLINATORS, we do!🍩🍪  It is estimated that pollinator...
06/26/2020

What if we had no chocolate in our lives? 😲 Thanks to our AWESOME POLLINATORS, we do!🍩🍪 It is estimated that pollinators provide one in three bites of food we eat. Locally, you can support our pollinators by following the below guidelines from the US Forest Service. To learn about native plants in our region to help pollinators, visit http://www.loudounsoilandwater.com/conservationathometips. We also have free downloadable pollinator goodies and pollinator poster contest information here ->
http://www.loudounsoilandwater.com/education/swsw-poster-contest
Tips to help Pollinators:
*Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall. Help pollinators find and use them by planting in clumps, rather than single plants. Include plants native to your region. Natives are adapted to your local climate, soil and native pollinators. Do not forget that night-blooming flowers will support moths and bats.
*Avoid modern hybrid flowers, especially those with "doubled" flowers. Often plant breeders have unwittingly left the pollen, nectar, and fragrance out of these blossoms while creating the "perfect" blooms for us.
*Eliminate pesticides whenever possible. If you must use a pesticide, use the least-toxic material possible. Read labels carefully before purchasing, as many pesticides are especially dangerous for bees. Use the product properly. Spray at night when bees and other pollinators are not active.
*Include larval host plants in your landscape. If you want colorful butterflies, grow plants for their caterpillars. They WILL eat them, so place them where unsightly leaf damage can be tolerated. Accept that some host plants are less than ornamental if not outright weeds. A butterfly guide will help you determine the plants you need to include. Plant a butterfly garden!
*Create a damp salt lick for butterflies and bees. Use a dripping hose, drip irrigation line, or place your bird bath on bare soil to create a damp area. Mix a small bit of table salt (sea salt is better!) or wood ashes into the mud.
*Spare that limb! By leaving dead trees, or at least an occasional dead limb, you provide essential nesting sites for native bees. Make sure these are not a safety hazard for people walking below. You can also build a bee condo by drilling holes of varying diameter about 3 to 5 inches deep in a piece of scrap lumber mounted to a post or under eaves.
*You can add to nectar resources by providing a hummingbird feeder. To make artificial nectar, use four parts water to one part table sugar. Never use artificial sweeteners, honey, or fruit juices. Place something red on the feeder. Clean your feeder with hot soapy water at least twice a week to keep it free of mold.
*Butterflies need resources other than nectar.They are attracted to unsavory foodstuffs, such as moist animal droppings, urine and rotting fruits. Try putting out slices of overripe bananas, oranges and other fruits, or a sponge in a dish of lightly salted water to see which butterflies come to investigate. Sea salt provides a broader range of micronutrients than regular table salt.
*Learn more about pollinators. Get some guidebooks and learn to recognize the pollinators in your neighborhood. Experiment with a pair of close-focusing binoculars for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
(From https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/gardening.shtml)

To help our small native pollinating bees, leave your perennial plant stems up all year! The below image shows how to do...
06/25/2020

To help our small native pollinating bees, leave your perennial plant stems up all year! The below image shows how to do this...it really does work, I witnessed them creating the nests in my dead stems this spring (see photo in the comments)!
"Approximately 30% of native bees nest above ground in cavities in stems and wood. Follow the instructions on this graphic to provide more opportunities for stem-nesting bees such as small carpenter bees (Ceratina) and small mason bees (Hoplitis)." #NationalPollinatorWeek #PollinatorConservation

I helped design this graphic with Elaine Evans and Colleen Satyshur (UMN Bee Lab) and Sarah Foltz-Jordan (Xerces Society) recently. I hope it helps clear up confusion about how to provide stem-nesting habitat for bees in your garden. Approximately 30% of native bees nest above ground in cavities in stems and wood. Follow the instructions on this graphic to provide more opportunities for stem-nesting bees such as small carpenter bees (Ceratina) and small mason bees (Hoplitis). #bees #pollinators #habitat

https://www.pollinatorsnativeplants.com/uploads/1/3/9/1/13913231/stemnestingbeesweb.pdf

Happy National Pollinator Week!  Need a fun project for your student at home this summer?  Our Conservation Poster Conte...
06/24/2020

Happy National Pollinator Week! Need a fun project for your student at home this summer? Our Conservation Poster Contest this year is celebrating our important pollinators with the theme "Where would we BEE without Pollinators?" The contest is open to all K - 12 Loudoun County public, private and homeschooled students, and the deadline has been extended until September 15! Entries must be done by hand, but can be submitted via email. Learn more at www.loudounsoilandwater.com/education/swsw-poster-contest #NationalPollinatorWeek #PollinatorConservation #PollinatorWeek

Have a student bored at home? Check out this fun project - the Soil and Water Conservation Poster Contest. This year's theme is "WHERE WOULD WE BEE WITHOUT POLLINATORS?" The contest is open to all Loudoun County public, private and homeschooled students in grades K—12. A photo of your child's masterpiece can be submitted online.
More info can be found here: www.loudounsoilandwater.com/education/swsw-poster-contest

Congratulations to Victoria Smithson, a 2020 graduate of Broad Run High School.  Victoria’s commitment to natural resour...
06/24/2020

Congratulations to Victoria Smithson, a 2020 graduate of Broad Run High School. Victoria’s commitment to natural resource conservation in her school and community, strong academics and active leadership roles have earned her a scholarship from the Virginia Chapter of Soil & Water Conservation Society/ VASWCD Educational Foundation Scholarship out of a very competitive pool of candidates. Well done Victoria! 🌏🎉

One way to support our local pollinators is by planting plants that pollinators love.  I started with a single milkweed ...
06/23/2020

One way to support our local pollinators is by planting plants that pollinators love. I started with a single milkweed plant, and after two months found it loaded with Monarch caterpillars. The milkweed not only provides nectar to a variety of pollinators, but it is also the host plant of the Monarch butterfly. Host plants serve as the nurseries for many pollinators by providing a place to lay eggs and support their young. The “pollinators in training” that seem to magically appear are fascinating. See the one that looks like bird poop? The Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar takes on that appearance to avoid getting eaten by birds! They can also appear scary to predators, as you see with the large fake eye spots of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail or bright orange spikes of the Pipevine Swallowtail. You will be amazed at the beauty that emerges when these caterpillars turn into a butterfly or moth. Learn more about native plants to our area that pollinators love -> http://www.loudounsoilandwater.com/earthday #NationalPollinatorWeek #PollinatorWeek #PollinatorConservation

"I was very familiar with the problems of drought, of dust storms, of low crop yields," Lal recalls. "I remember my fath...
06/22/2020
Soil Prof Hits Pay Dirt: $250K Prize For Helping Farmers, Fighting Climate Change

"I was very familiar with the problems of drought, of dust storms, of low crop yields," Lal recalls. "I remember my father plowing the fields. That was a very hard job. Those images are still there, of hardship, drudgery. The question was why. Why do you have to have that?"

Meet 2020 World Food Prize Laureate: Rattan Lal. His "soil-centric" philosophy is praised as being good for crops — and for mitigating climate change.

Test your Natural Resource knowledge this week during VASWCDEF Natural Resources Testing week!  Visit https://www.survey...
06/22/2020

Test your Natural Resource knowledge this week during VASWCDEF Natural Resources Testing week! Visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7H6T585

Today is the start of the VASWCDEF Adult Natural Resources Testing Week June 22nd-June 28th, 2020.
Have you ever wondered where your drinking water comes from? Do you know about watersheds and source water protection? Visit the link in the comments to test your knowledge in Water Resources Management.

The little things in life that we take for granted…clean water, plentiful safe food supply…pollination?  “It’s the mysti...
06/22/2020
The hidden beauty of pollination

The little things in life that we take for granted…clean water, plentiful safe food supply…pollination? “It’s the mystical moment where life regenerates itself, over and over again.” Celebrate Pollinator Week by taking an up-close look at the beauty of our pollinators and why they are important to us, brought to you by the director of DisneyNature’s “Wings of Life” movie. #PollinatorWeek #PollinatorConservation

Pollination: it's vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film "Wings of Life," inspired by the vanishing of one of nature's primary pollinators, the hone...

06/19/2020
Samuel S. Lewis State Park

Check out this conservation-minded parody for a giggle to start your weekend..."Let it grow, let it grow, turn away and let the wildflowers show" 😄

Making its debut: “Let It Grow” a conservation-minded parody inspired by Disney’s “Let It Go” from Frozen.

Try creating diverse habitats at your home with this sure-fire method.

Our Septic Pump Out rebate program is currently accepting applications. Proper septic system use and routine care are vi...
06/18/2020
Septic Pump-out Rebate Program – Loudoun SWCD

Our Septic Pump Out rebate program is currently accepting applications. Proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health, preserving our groundwater, lakes, streams and waterways, and avoiding costly repairs that can result from neglect. LSWCD offers a $50 rebate to Loudoun landowners towards the pump out of their septic system. A limited number of rebates are available. Learn more and download an application by clicking the link below.

Septic Pump-Out Rebate Program Click HERE for the Septic System Pump Out Application Proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health, preserving our groundwater, lakes, streams and waterways, and avoiding costly repairs that can result from neglect. The Loudoun Soil a...

Today is World Sea Turtle Day 🌏  Sea turtles live in all of our oceans except the Arctic. They face many challenges, suc...
06/16/2020

Today is World Sea Turtle Day 🌏 Sea turtles live in all of our oceans except the Arctic. They face many challenges, such as becoming entangled in marine debris like ghost nets, ingesting plastic pollution, becoming by-catch in fisheries, loss of habitat and more. Learn more about gentle sea turtles and how we can protect them by tuning in at 2 p.m. today for a live presentation, bought to you by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Piscine Energetics. To watch, visit: bit.ly/30wXZST

Happy #WorldSeaTurtleDay! Tune in at 2 p.m. today for a live presentation from The Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Piscine Energetics to learn more about sea turtles and how we can protect them. Watch here➡️ bit.ly/30wXZST

Next week is Pollinator Week!  Take a moment to learn more about our native bees by signing up with Smithsonian's Native...
06/15/2020

Next week is Pollinator Week! Take a moment to learn more about our native bees by signing up with Smithsonian's Native Bee webinar presented on June 18th..."Who are our native bees and how do they interact and compare with the non-native honeybee? Learn about the diversity of native bees and the types of habitat they seek in our gardens, backyards and green spaces, even windowboxes! Smithsonian Gardens' Entomologist, Holly Walker, demonstrates how to create homes for these incredible little beauties who do so much to help the world around them." Register here: https://gardens.si.edu/events/lets-talk-gardens

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30 Catoctin Cir SE, Ste 218
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20175

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