Feb. 18 Forum on Cover Crops and Soil Health

Opening presentations from the National Forum on Cover Crops and Soil Health will be live-streamed from Omaha, Nebraska to over 230 sites across the country. Whether you have experience with cover crops or you’re just interested to learn, join us for the broadcast followed by discussion.  FREE and open to the public.

When: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 8:45 a.m. to noon

Where: Kenai Community Library

Schedule: 8:30 am, doors open; 8:45 am, program begins; 9 – 10:45 am, broadcast presentations; 10:45 am – noon, short break and discussion with local producers, NRCS and Cooperative Extension staff

Website: http://www.sare.org/Events/Forum-on-Cover-Crops-and-Soil-Health

Questions: Heidi Chay, Kenai Soil & Water, kenaiswcd@gmail.com, 283-8732 x 108

Feb. 10/11 Workshops for Hay Growers and Users

UAF/Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Fox River Cattlemen’s Association and Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District, is hosting a Forage Workshop in Kenai and Homer.

Kenai – Monday, February 10, 2014 5:30 PM registration, 6:00-8:00 PM program, Kenai Community Library

Homer – Tuesday, February 11, 2014 5:30 PM registration, 6:00-8:00 PM program, Kachemak Bay Campus, Room 219

To Pre-register, contact Vicki Heinz at UAF CES Kenai District, 907.262.5824 or vheinz@alaska.edu

Dr. Mingchu Zhang will present on “Organic and inorganic nutrient sources for hay production in Alaska”. The talk will cover the results of experiments in Homer and Fairbanks area for hay production from adding organic (including fish fertilizer) or inorganic fertilizers. He will also briefly discuss soil testing.

Dr. Milan Shipka will present on “Hay quality considerations and how best to use the hay you have available”. You can’t change the quality of hay once you’ve put it in your barn. Anyone with animals needs to consider the nutrient needs of their animals and how best to get the nutrients to their animals. Dr. Shipka will discuss nutrient needs and digestion in ruminant animals (e.g., cattle, goat, sheep, llama, alpaca, etc.) and the nutrient needs and digestion in horses.

This FREE workshop is offered to all animal and hayproducers and the interested public.

Statewide Poster Contest Winners

CONGRATULATIONS to Tait Cooper, of Mountain View Elementary School, and Cloey Followell, of Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Sciences!   Tait was the first-place winner in the K-1st grade contest at the state level and Cloey took second place in the contest for grades 4-6.  Both will receive cash prizes of $50 and $30 respectively and Tait’s poster will go on to the national contest.  View their winning posters here.

Stay-tuned for the 2014 Conservation Poster Contest.  The theme is: “Dig Deeper: Mysteries in the Soil”! 

Invasive Plant Update

Refuge Notebook: A window of opportunity to eradicate Elodea
By John Morton, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Nov. 7, 2013 Peninsula Clarion

Mark Twain was supposedly fond of saying “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” I don’t claim to be prescient most of the time, but when it comes to ridding the Kenai Peninsula of Elodea, the first submerged freshwater invasive plant to make it to Alaska, I’m pretty confident that we have only a very small window of opportunity.

About this time last year, Elodea had been discovered for the first time on the Kenai Peninsula in Stormy Lake (400 acres), with a single fragment found on the shores of Daniels Lake (620 acres). In February, we returned to Daniels Lake to confirm that Elodea was growing there with an ice auger and a modified chimney sweep as our sampling device. We returned by boat in late May just after ice-out to better assess its distribution in the lake. ….

The District is one partner of the Cooperative Weed Management Area, the multi-agency group that is directing elodea detection and eradication efforts on the Kenai Peninsula.  Read the rest of the article here

Alaska Food Resources Working Group Launches

State department heads come together to figure out Alaska food security

by Suzanna Caldwell
Nov. 4, 2013 Alaska Dispatch

In a small, gray Atwood Building conference room, half a dozen state commissioners passed around a surprising snack: An enormous bowl full of yellow, purple and bright orange Alaska-grown carrots.

While carrots might not seem like the most expected snack for a high-level early morning meeting, it made sense Monday, when commissioners from various state departments came together in Anchorage to talk about one thing that ties all Alaskans together: food.

It was the first meeting of the Alaska Food Resources Working Group, a committee set up under an administrative order by Gov. Sean Parnell this summer to recommend measures to increase the purchase and consumption of Alaska seafood and farm products. The goal is to identify challenges while, at the same time, increasing coordination within government agencies.

Read the full article here: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20131104/state-department-heads-come-together-figure-out-alaska-food-security

Poster Contest Winners 2013

Poster Contest Winners Announced!

The Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District is pleased to announce the winners of the annual conservation poster contest. This year’s theme — Where Does Your Water Shed? – challenged students to learn about the special place we live, the Kenai River Watershed, and to convey through artwork ways to take care of the fresh water that we need each day. First place winners in each age category (K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-6th, 7th-9th) win $25 and the chance to compete in the state-level competition. Second place in each age group wins $15, and third place wins $10. All winners will be honored at a joint meeting of the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce to be held at noon, Nov. 6, 2013 at the Kenai Visitors Center.  Winners of the state level contest proceed to a national competition sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts.

This year’s local contest was co-sponsored by Kenai Watershed Forum, 4-H/Cooperative Extension Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service Kenai Field Office.

Prize Name   Grade School Age Teacher
Grades K-1            
1st Tait Cooper 1st Mt. View 7 Ms. Young
2nd Cole Langham 1st Aurora Borealis 6 Mrs. Harding
3rd Samuel Klein 1st Aurora Borealis 7 Mrs. Harding
Grades 2-3            
1st Ashley Dahlman 3rd Kaleidoscope 8 Mrs. Stroh
2nd Daniel Shelden 3rd Kaleidoscope 8 Mrs. Stroh
3rd Madison McDonald 3rd Kaleidoscope 8 Mrs. Stroh
Grades 4-6            
1st Cloey Followell 5th Kaleidoscope 10 Mrs. Andrea
2nd Sadie Daly 6th Kaleidoscope 11 Ms. Hackbarth
3rd Virginia Orth 6th Kaleidoscope 11 Ms. Harper
Grades 7-9            
1st Jaedyn Gale 8th Connections 14 homeschool