Wednesday, April 04, 2007

News

A Letter from the Executive Director

Dear friends of Rural Action,

It has been an honor serving as the Executive Director of Rural Action for the last three years, and I want to thank you for your unending support for me, my family and Rural Action. While I will always value my time here, I recently received a career opportunity that I could not refuse.

I have accepted a rural policy staff position with Ohio Jobs and Family Services in the Columbus office of Director Helen Jones-Kelley. As a result, I will be leaving my position at Rural Action.

This was a very difficult decision to make, but this is a great opportunity for me. I will be staying in the Athens area and hope to stay involved with Rural Action in some capacity.

Your support for the new Rural Renewal Strategy and the 25th anniversary celebration of AOPIC/Rural Action is still needed. Please consider donating your time, money and renewed commitment to this work as the organization plans for the future.

I value every day I have spent serving you, the people of the region, and our streams, forests, farms and lively towns. I thank you for your support toward these efforts.

Peace to You!
Jane


Volunteer Plant Rescue and Tree Planting a Huge Success
Submitted by Matt Miller, AmeriCorps*VISTA with the Monday Creek Restoration Project

On Saturday March 24th, nearly 30 volunteers met at the Wayne National Forest headquarters building to undertake the first Plant Rescue of 2007. These volunteers, working under the guidance of Rural Action Sustainable Forestry personnel, removed an estimated 1500 native hardwood tree seedlings from the Nelsonville Hwy. 33 bypass area.

These seedlings, including tulip poplars, sycamores, prickly ash, and hickories were transplanted later that day to a reclamation site in Lost Run Hollow, off State Route 595 near New Straitsville. By planting trees in this area, the volunteers helped to stabilize the soils at the Lost Run site, where Monday Creek Restoration Project is implementing a grant-funded project to reduce discharges of Acid Mine Drainage into the main branch of Monday Creek.

Rural Action Sustainable publicly acknowledge and thank these dedicated volunteers. Forestry and the Monday Creek Restoration Project would like toDespite challenging work conditions, including deep mud and steep and slippery hillsides, this Plant Rescue was a huge success thanks to their efforts. The volunteers, who included students from Ohio University, did an outstanding job with this transplanting project. We would also like to thank Cheryl Coon of the Wayne National Forest and Phil Cantino of Ohio University for their assistance with and support of the project.

For more information about upcoming Plant Rescues and other Rural Action Sustainable Forestry events, contact Tanner Filyaw or Elise George at (740) 767-2090. For more information on Monday Creek Restoration Project meetings and events, contact Matt Miller at (740) 394-2047.


Youth Act Bake Sales a Success!

Submitted by Liz Bonny, AmeriCorps*VISTA with Youth Act

Two Youth Act programs held bake sales this past week. Trimble High School sold candy and baked goods after school on Thursday, making $36 in profit. The best selling items? Buckeyes! The funds will go toward purchasing Garbage cans for downtown Glouster, a project that the Trimble Youth Act groups are working on in partnership with Sunday Creek Watershed Group.

Alexander Middle School sold baked goods at the Athens Kroger on Sunday, and made $150. The proceeds will go toward an incentive for the 8th graders at Alexander Middle School who are participating in the Recycling Program that the group has begun as a service learning project.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to make goodies for the sales and to everyone who purchased!


Partner Spotlight: Friends of the Lower Muskingum River

Submitted by Katy Sulfridge, AmeriCorps*VISTA for Media

Rural Action partners with several local organizations as a means of staying connected with the community. One such organization is the Friends of the Lower Muskingum River (FLMR), in Marietta. The organization has many upcoming projects and programs, and it seemed fitting to feature them in this edition of the Rural Rambler.

The Friends of the Lower Muskingum River is a partnership of organizations and individuals whose mission is to “restore, protect and maintain the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the Muskingum River and to protect and promote its natural, cultural, historic and socioeconomic resources.”

Currently, FLMR is trying to increase watershed awareness among the residents that it serves. Kim Klosterman, Outreach and Education VISTA says, “We have been giving approximately weekly presentation to schools, science fairs and after school clubs on a variety of topics ranging from the water cycle, turbidity, non-point source pollution and watersheds in general.” Working with students is only one aspect of the education, however. FMLR recently received a “Watershed Awareness to Watershed Action Grant” sponsored by the Ohio Dept of Natural Resources. FMLR will be partnering with the Washington Soil and Water Conservation District to apply decals to storm drains that read "Don't Dump-Drains to River" in Marietta, Belpre, Lowell and Beverly with the assistance of volunteers.

In addition to these projects, a grant from the Ohio Environmental Education Fund has made it possible to offer a series of workshops for watershed residents starting with a Drive It Yourself Watershed Tour of the Meigs Creek Watershed on Earth Day, Sunday April 22. The tour will will be held at Miner's Memorial Park, which is the home of 'Big Muskie' on SR 78 near Bristol in AEP ReCreation Land.

According to Watershed Quality Coordinator Kristyn Robinson, the theme for the workshop series is "The ABC's of Water Quality" In addition to the Watershed Tour, on May 12th there will be a workshop on Habitat Assessment, The series will continue on June 9th with a workshop on Biological Sampling, and July 14th there will be a workshop on Chemical Monitoring. The culmination of these workshops will be on June 23rd, where there will be an all day hike on the Buckeye Trail. These three aspects of monitoring in a one-day workshop will be covered during the hike. People who attend these three core workshops will be trained volunteer monitors who can help collect data for our new "Stream Team" volunteer monitoring project.

FLMR is also expecting to begin work on a 319 grant groundwater project over the summer that involves four local water districts; Tri County Rural Water & Sewer, the Village of Beverly, The Village of Lowell, and Putnam Community Water Association. These water districts have elevated nitrate levels in the groundwater supply above the EPA's "concentration of concern.”

The Friends of the Lower Muskginum River has been very busy in other areas of the community as well. “I must add that our land trust has been very busy over the winter,” says Robinson. “We have been using the Clean Ohio Fund for the purchase of additional river frontage, and we have received a donation of a piece of property in Fairfield Township along the Little Hocking River, preserving land along the river that was slated to be logged.”

For more information on the Friends of the Lower Musgingum River, or to volunteer, call (740) 374-4170, or visit www.muskingumriver.org.

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