Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rural Action News

See Local Natural Resource Conservation In Action with the Athens County Conservation Connection Tour
By Tom Redfern, Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator

Athens Soil and Water Conservation District, The Athens County Farm Bureau, OSU Extension and Sunday Creek Watershed Group are hosting the 2008 Conservation Connection Tour. This is a drive-it -yourself tour, Saturday April 19th from 1-5:00pm. Four sites in and around the Amesville area are being featured, each site offers unique examples of natural resource conservation in action.

Windy Hills Farm on Ste. Rte. 550 is a 150 acre Paso Fino Horse Farm. This stop will feature horse nutrition, hay and pasture management, the Parelli method of horse handling, and Riparian buffers in a pasture management system.

The home of Geoff and Michelle Greenfield (pictured right), owners of Third Sun Solar and Wind Power, on Hooper Ridge Rd., is an "off the grid" residence, producing clean energy and serving as a great introduction to the world of alternative energy. Anyone interested in reducing energy bills while increasing efficiency will find the tour of this private residence invaluable.

Greenedge Organic Gardens on Henry Road (pictured left), is a 120 acre certified organic vegetable farm. Famous for their year-around availability of salad greens, and seasonal vegetables, owners Kip and Becky Rondy have been pioneers in sustainable agriculture. This stop will be open from 1:00 to 3:30pm and will feature a vegetable production research update from Dr. Matt Kleinhenz, OSU Extension Vegetable Production Specialist. Wildlife control options, worm composting, and Community Supported Agriculture will also be featured.

The historic village of Amesville has long been on the cutting edge of Athens County innovations. The most recent innovation is a public wastewater system featuring a decentralized approach. With construction set to be finished in July of 2008, this sewage system is being looked to as a statewide model. Tour highlights will include floodplain management, explanations of backyard sewage systems, and a tour of a portion of the new Amesville Sewage treatment system. A petting zoo will also be available for children of all ages.

For more information, or to recieve a Conservation Connection tour pamphlet with a map, contact Athens SWCD (800) 582-8890, Athens County Farm Bureau (800) 777-9226, OSU Extension-Athens County (740) 592-4800 or Sunday Creek Watershed Group (740) 767-2225.

Click Here
for more information from OSU Extension-Athens County, and to download the brochure.

Don't Miss the Adventure Auction on April 19
Tickets Are Still Available!

We hope you are as excited as we are for the Adventure Auction! It is right around the corner on April 19 at 6:30 at the Inn at Hocking College. If you haven't checked out the online auction catalog, make sure you do soon! There is a wide variety of auction packages, including:
One-of-a-Kind Opportunities: cabin getaways, guided bird watching tour, mountain bike trek, private dinners hosted by community members, and more

Outdoor Pursuits: moonlight kayaking, whitewater rafting, ski trips, golfing, a sunset safari, tandem sky-diving and more

s: The Lion King, The Police in Concert with Elvis Costello, Cleveland Indians vs. L.A. Angels, The Late Show with David Letterman, and more
Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture will be incorporating many local growers into a fantastic menu that includes a wide variety of seasonal foods. Plus, local roots musicians Woody Pines and the Lonesome Two will be performing their boot-stompin' dancing tunes.

You won't want to miss this great opportunity to
Break Away from the Everyday!

Buy you tickets online at www.adventureauction.org or call Jordan at 740-767-4938. Hope to see you there!

Energy Learning Circle Update
By Katie Durham, Rural Action VISTA for Rural Renewal

Our Energy Learning Circle just keeps on moving along! We’re gaining momentum in both our committee members and concepts, which have the real likelihood of developing into strong programming arms of Rural Action. At our last meeting, finger-food in abundance, we discussed a variety of topics—anywhere from the regional and national buzz regarding the most recent research and initiatives, to what services Rural Action can provide to our local learning community and it’s impoverished constituencies.

We briefly digested both the House and Senate energy bills in Ohio. While we generally agreed that the Senate Bill does in fact have benchmarks, a much-needed tenant of any long-term bill, definitions have recently been distorted to define these benchmarks in fluid ways. The House bill has some very solid end goals, yet lacks the benchmarks needed to make a real start.

The Energy Learning Circle is seriously considering the option of Rural Action offering energy audits at a scaled-to-income price. While we understand that other organizations are certifying energy auditors at a nominal fee, Rural Action would seek to provide a more in-depth training process, so that one could possibly perform audits on local and regional businesses. It’s a win-win for both parties! Rural Action would gain an income-generating arm and offer a useful skill to the community, while businesses would certainly save funds over the long time just by going green.

The Rural Action Energy Learning Circle meets regularly, about every 4 weeks, at the Ridges, Building #22. Scott Miller is our official leader, although every single committee member brings devotion to the table and seeks to progress not only the Learning Circle, but Appalachian Ohio. Contact Katie at katied@ruralaction.org for more information!

Learn About Options and Resources for Your Woodlands

Free Site Visits and Land Consultations Now Available

The Federal Valley Watershed Group and Rural Action Sustainable Forestry Program are currently offering site visits to interested Forest Landowners. This is a great opportunity for landowners to look at their property with knowledgeable professionals, and discuss options for sustainable management, and economic opportunities. For example, one possibility for forest land use is growing and cultivating ginseng, a high value medicinal herb (pictured left).

Dave Schatz, a retired Division of Forestry Service Forester, and Chip Carroll a Non-Timber Forest Products consultant, are both available for these site visits. Through funding by the Ohio Environmental Education Fund these consultations are available free of charge to residents of the Federal Valley Watershed. They are available with a current Rural Action membership and a small mileage fee to landowners living outside of the Federal Valley.

These site visits are a great way to identify options and resources for your woodlands. They are available on a first come first serve basis, so contact Heather Sheets heather@ruralaction.org 740-767-4938, or Chris Zdinak chris@fvwgvista 740-767-4938, to discus your specific interests and arrange for a site visit.

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