Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Lots of Fall Events To Keep On Your Radar

Can you believe that it is September already? As sad as it is to see summer end, with fall comes crisp sweater weather, autumn leaves, and plenty of activities to keep you busy. Here are lots upcoming events to keep on your radar this fall.

Saturday, September 8: Farm Tour at Brick Barn Farm in Meigs County, 1-4 pm. This grass-based dairy is building an on-site creamery. They process local milk and sell locally, which creates a fresher, more energy efficient product. Contact Tom Redfern for more information.

September 15th and 16th: Ninth Annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival at Lake Snowden. There will also be a Pawpaw Cook-Off, Pawpaw Eating Contest, and Community Marketplace. The world's only pawpaw festival, this is a unique and fun event for the whole family. $5/person, $8 for both days. Rural Action will host a kids’ area (to volunteer contact Liz Bonny) and have an information table (to volunteer contact Tori Patterson).

Saturday, September 22: Adopt-A-Highway Trash Pick Up, Meet at Huff Run Office at 9 AM, lunch around 11:30 at the Crossroads Restaurant. Bring work gloves and dress for the weather. ODOT will be providing visibility vests.

Wednesday, September 26 – Sunday Creek Watershed Group Monthly Meeting, 6:30 p.m. potluck, 7 p.m. presentation, SCWG office in Glouster. Presentation topic: "Mercury: The relationship between air and water quality in our region" by Gary Conley.

September 28-September 30: The Seventh Annual Athens Area Sustainability Festival at land between the Athens Public Library and the Hocking River. The festival celebrates the many small businesses, organizations, individuals, and initiatives in the region dedicated to building community identity rooted in the principles of sustainability. Learn about alternative building and energy, natural food and agricultural practices, sustainable living ideas, and wellness and natural healing.

Rural Action Benefit Concerts:
-Friday, September 6: The Union Bar and Grille, featuring The Snails, Silo Circuit, and The Paper Machetes- LOUD music to benefit Rural Action (pictured: The Paper Machetes)
-Thursday, October 4- Jackie O’s, featuring Bram RiddleBarger & His Lonsesome Band and Casual Future and more! to benefit Rural Action
-Friday, October 5- The Casa Cantina, Songwriters Showcase featuring Rural Action’s own Chris Tomazic, Andrew Wieland, Chris Biester, JJ Reed, and Mike Elliot- local original songwriting to benefit Rural Action

Saturday, September 22: Sunday Creek Watershed Group's 5th Annual Benefit Dinner and Chinese Auction at the Moose Lodge in Glouster. The proceeds from the event will help pay for SCWG’s youth education programs, including a project started by Trimble Middle School and High School students in the Youth Act program. Tickets for the dinner are available at the Sunday Creek Watershed Group office at 69 High Street in Glouster or can be purchased at the door on the night of the event. The Sunday Creek Watershed Group will award a $40 gas voucher to the person selling the most tickets to the dinner.

Saturday, September 29th: Talking Forest Trails System Opening Day at the RARE Center in Meigs County. An afternoon open house featuring the interpretive trails system developed this summer, over 200 signs showcase examples of wood plants in different life cycle stages.

October 5-7: National Timber and Outdoor Show, at Hocking College in Nelsonville, combines the outdoors with familiar woodland related activities. Representatives from the Rural Action Sustainable Forestry Program will do hikes, and exhibit in the Natural Resource tent.

October 5-7: Paul Bunyan Show in Cambridge, Sponsored by the Ohio Forestry Association

October 12, 13- The Rural Action Sustainable Forestry and Agriculture programs will be hosting trainings on Invasive Plant Identification, Control, and related issues (time and place to be announced). The Oct. 12th date will be geared towards Natural Resource Professionals, and Continuing Education Units will be available. Speakers will include Dr.Brian McCarthy of the Ohio University Department of Environmental and Plant Biology, Ann Bonner State Urban Forester, Rory Lewandowski of OSU Extension, Cheryl Coon, Botanist for the Wayne National Forest, and Doug Albaugh from Friends of the Lower Muskingum. Topics will include Tree of Heaven control and current research, controlling invasive plants with livestock, and information on Poison Hemlock. For more information please contact Jeff Hardin at 740 767 4938, or Tom Redfern at 740 742 4401.

Saturday, October 13- Save Our Streams (S.O.S) Festival, Glouster Park. The Sunday Creek, Monday Creek and Federal Valley Watershed Groups will host this first annual festival. Events include a walk-a-thon in the morning (starting at 9AM), activities featuring representatives from State Parks and local universities, a dog show at noon, and a fall pie baking competition, watershed-related activities for kids, and live music. For more information, contact Chris Zdinak.

Thursday October 18- Tour of Huff Run Watershed for Agency Professionals, Local Officials, and Interested Citizens, 10 am-3pm, Meet at the Huff Run Watershed 8728 N. High St, Lunch at a local restaurant.

Thursday, November15: Renewing Our Communities Fundraising Breakfast, Athens Community Center 8-9 am. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn about Rural Action’s vision for the future and how you can contribute to making that vision reality. If you’re interested in hosting a table at our annual benefit breakfast, please contact Tori Patterson.

Watershed Tour Will Illustrate Benefits of Streamside Forest Buffers

Sunday Creek Watershed Group and Monday Creek Restoration Project will host a Streamside Forest Buffer Tour on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Streamside forest buffers are areas of trees and other vegetation that grow adjacent to water sources such as streams and creeks. Buffers protect water sources and provide many benefits to the environment:

· Buffers filter out pollutants from surrounding land that would otherwise flow into the water, increasing water quality;
· Roots of the buffer’s trees hold soil in place, reducing streambank erosion;
· Shade provided by buffer vegetation reduces water temperatures.

Forest buffers also nurture the vital habitats located near and within water sources. By providing healthy habitats for diverse wildlife, including birds and fish, forest buffers improve the quality of watersheds.

Individuals interested in learning how to increase the number of forest buffers in the Sunday Creek and Monday Creek Watershed regions will be provided with valuable information at the Streamside Forest Buffer Tour.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation District offer cost-share opportunities to landowners, which help offset costs for buffer development. Such cost-share opportunities provide financial benefits to landowners and countless benefits to the watershed. The Streamside Forest Buffer Tour will highlight cost-sharing programs and increase awareness about the many ways forest buffers can be enhanced in the community.

“Tree farmers, people who own large tracks of forested land in the watershed, and the general public who are interested in participating in tree buffer cost-share programs will benefit greatly from this tour,” Kaabe Shaw, Sunday Creek Watershed Group Coordinator said.

Individuals interested in participating in the Streamside Forest Buffer Tour should meet at 9 a.m. at the Monday Creek Restoration Project office located in New Straitsville.

(Picture from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.)

Appalachian Regional Commission Conference Provides Insight on Clean Energy

In mid-August, Interim Executive Director Mary Steinmaus attended the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Conference in Johnson City, Tennessee. The Conference focused on Strategies for Rural Development. A major track at the conference focused on Clean Energy Development.

“People are very interested in clean energy, but it’s in a developmental phase. They’re still trying to figure out what is going to work, and so are trying a lot of different things,” Steinmaus said.

Among the many ideas presented at the conference, Steinmaus said that the story of a small faming community, Reynolds, Indiana, gave her the most insight on clean energy.

Reynolds, Indiana is home to just over 540 people, who are now calling their community "BioTown". Developed by the Indiana Office of Energy and Defense Development and private investors as a model clean energy town, the citizens of BioTown are driving flex-fuel cars, using biofuels, and utilizing agricultural and municipal wastes to make electricity. Generating national news coverage, BioTown is an micro-example of the town-by-town effort that will (hopefully) stimulate the national movement for clean energy.

Steinmaus said that she asked the developers of BioTown how they stimulated involvement within the community. The developers said that they got to know individuals and built trusting relationships, then illustrated the economic opportunities that the BioTown initiative could provide.

“We—especially our Energy learning circle—could take a look at this and see what lessons we could learn from what they’ve done,” Steinmaus said.

BioTown Flowchart:

Volunteer Action In Review

Volunteer Action, the weekly radio show project produced by Rural Action on WATH with Ray Wagner (970 AM at 10:06 am), features local volunteers who are making a difference in their communities.

On August 28, Damon Krane, Executive Director of People Might, a youth community organizing development non-profit based in Athens, came on the show to discuss local progressive publication The InterActivist. The magazine features local news and commentary and is produced by over twenty student and community volunteers. Krane discussed student free speech, activism on campus, and the many ways community members can volunteer for the publication. For more information, contact Damon Krane,

On September 4, Arlene Sheak and Warren Haydon of the Southeast Ohio Single-Payer Action Network discussed the importance of improving the American health care system. Both Sheak and Haydon have a long history of experience in social work, and are committed to appealing to the state legislature to instate a single-payer health insurance system in Ohio. For more information, visit SPAN Ohio.

Coming up on September 11, Amy Swart, coordinator of the new Nelsonville Meals on Wheels program, and on September 18, Linda Andrews of the Athens County Dog Shelter will discuss their experiences in volunteer work and how you can get involved.