Watch Our Presentation on Planting for a Changing World

Our Technical Director Aleta McKeage gives a fascinating and far reaching talk on climate change, loss of biodiversity and the hopeful actions that all growers, planters and gardeners can engage in to help living systems survive and thrive in the future. Click here to watch the presentation.

Watch our Annual Gathering and Drone Presentation

A family visits the Wales Park Community Garden, one of the projects the District was instrumental in bringing to fruition this year.

We held our 2020 Annual Gathering on December 4th, which included Dr. Jim Killarney’s excellent presentation on using drones to assess water quality on Lake Winnecook (Unity Pond), slides and an update on our work this year, a meet and greet with Ron Desrosiers of the Waldo NRCS office and our new staff member Tom Mullin, as well as our Conservationist of the Year award.

Click here to view the event.

Don’t miss our Dec. 4th presentation: Water Quality, Lake Sedimentation and Drones: New Technology for Old Challenges

Dr. James Killarney will share his insights and expertise on how water quality monitoring and research have incorporated new technologies to expand our knowledge of the health of Maine’s lakes and ponds. Along with his colleagues in the Center for Wildlife Studies and with the support of foundations and NASA grants, he has incorporated the use of drones into the research methods for assessing the water quality and lake sedimentation of Lake Winnecook in Unity. Maine. He will share the successes, challenges and stories of how this and other new technologies are being added to the scientist’s tool bag.

This presentation will be offered at our Annual Gathering Friday, December 4th at 3pm. The event will be held virtually. We hope you will join us for this fascinating presentation and our annual gathering!

Register here (this event is free).

Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Planning Consultant Services for Impaired Lake Watershed Plan Development

(PLEASE NOTE: THE APPLICATION PERIOD FOR SUBMITTING PROPOSALS UNDER THIS RFQ HAS ENDED) The Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District (District) is requesting Statements of Qualifications from interested and qualified Consultants for Professional Planning Consultant Services in order to assist in the development of an update to the Unity Pond (Lake Winnecook) Watershed-Based Management Plan.  The purpose of the Unity Pond (Lake Winnecook) Watershed-Based Management Plan Project is to create a comprehensive plan for Unity Pond (Lake Winnecook) with well-developed implementation strategies that effectively improve the water quality of the lake over the next 10 years.

The purpose of this project is to develop an updated watershed-based management plan (WBMP) for Unity Pond that includes EPA’s nine minimum planning elements. The project will collect information about lake water quality and watershed hydrology, inventory NPS problems, evaluate septic systems, assess the external and internal phosphorus load, and bring together a diverse group of watershed stakeholders to develop locally-supported water quality targets and watershed goals, objectives and action strategies for restoring the pond. The project will integrate project findings into an updated WBMP which will be used to guide watershed restoration efforts over the next 10-year planning period (2022-2032).

For Full RFQ click here.

Leave the Leaves…You Can Be Neat While Being Messy!

Well right now we are looking at our yards and thinking about how messy they look, from leaves everywhere to dead stems in the gardens. But turn your thinking around for a moment to the idea that this mess is vital to many of the creatures we love, such as songbirds, and those we don’t see but keep our yard healthy and resilient.  It’s much better to leave fallen leaves, branches, stems, and seedheads where they are rather than blowing, shredding, or raking them away. That organic matter is essential forage and cover for butterflies, moths, bees, salamanders, birds, and other creatures. It also insulates plant roots through the cold winter months and then decomposes to build up living soil that’s so important to a healthy ecosystem.

If you want to follow these healthy practices but also have your yard looking neat and cared for, you can do some of the things that have worked for me. My yard is a very visible place in a neighborhood, so I have been learning ways to strike a balance between leaving all of these valuable materials in place and looking neat. For my pollinator garden, I leave tall meadow plants standing, but rake away leaves from the edges where I have lower plants and mulch. I also rake the grass turf area. I keep these raked leaves on site in a compost area in back. Many of these plants such as coneflowers, sunflowers and asters look lovely standing in winter with frost and snow on them. For some stems that don’t stand up as well, I trim them and leave them in place in visible areas. Next spring, I will add mulch right over the top of this rich organic layer in areas I want to look neat.

Learn more about why it’s important to leave your yard “cleanup” until spring in this article from the Ecological Landscape Alliance.