Conservation Update: November 2023

In October we had the pleasure of having Kate Fritz, CEO of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, speak at our monthly meeting. Her talk focused on things we can do in our community to help improve water quality.

She shared with us companies that support conservation and clean water like Giant Food, Hershey Chocolate, and Turkey Hill Ice cream. I’m certainly doing my part in supporting clean water by eating lots of Turkey Hill ice cream!

For the last 50 years, the Alliance has worked to bring together communities, companies, and conservationists to improve the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay. PVFF has been participating in Project Clean Stream for many years, sponsored by this organization. 

Also in October, we had the Lefty Kreh lecture series where we heard from Joe Starinchak, conservationist, who spoke about the need for actions to combat climate change. 

We learned how forever chemicals in the Potomac River are affecting the bass. He talked about the need to dispose of prescription drugs responsibility and encouraged us to get involved with our local government. His presentation led to more discussions regarding choices that we make each day that can affect our climate.

This author believes conventional farming that includes Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, (CAFOs) and farming monocultures of annual crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat are negatively affecting our soil, climate, waterways and our health. Tilling soil is an antiquated practice that releases C02, causes erosion and disrupts beneficial microbial and fungal activity. Changing our farming practices from conventional farming to regenerative farming could help heal our soils and begin to reverse years of damage. Regenerative farming builds healthy soils by integrating animals with rotational grazing, discourages tilling of soil, and eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers. Below are a few links exploring the benefits of regenerative farming.

Here are some things you can do this fall to help conserve resources and protect our environment:

Let your leaves lay! Yea, your neighbors may talk about you and your husband or wife may think you’re getting lazy, but leaving the leaves lay has many benefits. Many insects and other organisms depend on overwintering leaf litter for survival. Bumble bee queens borough down into the soil to overwinter, and a thick layer of leaves is extremely beneficial to their survival. If you need to get them off your lawn, rake them into a pile or into your gardens. This will help return vital nutrients, carbon, and organic matter back to the soil. Bagging and removing leaves from your property is depleting your soil of much needed organic matter. Healthy soil absorbs more carbon and water than poor compacted soil.

Plant a native tree. Planting in the fall is the best time to plant a tree and the cool weather allows the tree roots to establish. Trees provide so many environmental benefits including cooling, stormwater control, carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat. 

Get to know a local farmer that practices regenerative agriculture. Make the choice to buy your products from local farms rather than the big box stores that most likely truck their goods across the country.

Stop buying bottled water and other single use plastic items. Purchase a high quality made in the USA stainless steel or glass re-usable water bottle. 

— Dave Keane