Would you like to become more involved with the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District? If so, we have the perfect opportunity for you! The DSWCD is currently accepting applications for new Affiliate members. Our affiliate members play a crucial role within the District by advising our supervisors as well as assisting them in their duties and responsibilities. If you are interested, please fill out our Affiliate Member application (Click Here to view) and submit to our Chairman, Allen L. Moore at 260 U.S. 301 North , Baldwin, FL 32340. If you have any questions or comments you can reach Allen at (904)465-0678 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Stewardship Week? NACD Stewardship Week is one of the largest national programs to promote natural resource conservation. Celebrated annually since 1955 between the last Sunday in April and the first Sunday in May, NACD Stewardship Week reminds us of our individual responsibilities to care for natural resources. 2019 marks the 64th year to celebrate NACD Stewardship Week.
Why Stewardship Week? Each spring, NACD and thousands of dedicated conservationists organize a multitude of outreach events and educational learning experiences for students and adults in order to increase awareness about the importance of natural resource conservation. During Stewardship Week, local conservation districts and their state associations educate the public on the importance of soil health, water quality, pollinator habitat and other conservation topics. Different classroom activities, field visits and community events are hosted to honor and recognize efforts in conservation at the local level.
The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District will be hosting a special screening of the documentary film, Living Soil. The screening will be held this Wednesday, May 1 at 3:30 p.m. at UF / IFAS Extension Duval County Agriculture.This informative documentary is about U.S. conservation and the agricultural heroes who nurture our soil. The screening will be followed by a brief discussion of stewardship efforts in Duval County.
Thank you to the Jacksonville City Council for adopting a resolution to recognize Stewardship Week from the last Sunday in April to the first Sunday in May. (Click to view) Jacksonville City Council member Sam Newby attended our April Regular meeting to recognize the District's 2019 Stewardship Week.
We were pleased to host our "Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper" Speech & Poster Contest in March.
Congratulations to our winners!
1st (Grades 2-3) - Colton Gokey, Seacoast Charter Academy
1st (Grades 4-6) - Shonday Dominique, The Foundation Academy
1st (Grades 7-9) - Mallory Smith, Father's H.a.r.b.o.r. Academy
1st - Anyse-Leanna Martin, The Foundation Academy
2nd - Shye Tapley, The Foundation Academy
3rd - Nichol Scott, The Foundation Academy
Our 1st place winner, Anyse-Leanna Martin, represented Duval County at the Area II level of competition this month. She took home second place!
Thank you to our judges, Shelton Hull and Brett Waller, and to our presenting sponsor, Allen Skinner of Soil Life Organics.
Over 125 high school students from Duval and Nassau counties competed on March 7th at the Fred B. Miller, Jr. Regional Envirothon 2019 hosted by the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District! They used critical thinking skills to answer written questions and conduct hands-on investigations about a range of environmental issues. Team Dasher from Darnell Cookman Middle/High School took home 1st place overall. As a result, Team Dasher was our representative at the Florida Envirothon this past month. They won the current issue oral presentation speech on ways to mitigate nutrient pollution from agricultural runoff. Congratulations, Team Dasher! We look forward to beginning preparations for next year's competition!
The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District is proud to stand with the St. Johns Water Management District in proclaiming April as Water Conservation Month! The DSWCD passed a proclamation (view below) at our March Board Meeting to recognize this designation. Municipalities and boards from across the district are partnering with the SJWMD to help increase awareness about the importance of water conservation and to increase efforts to conserve water. (See the full list here!)
WHEREAS, water is a basic and essential need of every living creature; and
WHEREAS, The State of Florida, Water Management Districts and Duval Soil and Water Conservation District are working together to increase awareness about the importance of water conservation; and
WHEREAS, Duval County and the State of Florida has designated April, typically a dry month when water demands are most acute, Florida’s Water Conservation Month, to educate citizens about how they can help save Florida’s precious water resources; and
WHEREAS, Duval Soil and Water Conservation District has always encouraged and supported water conservation, through various educational programs and special events; and
WHEREAS, every business, industry, school and citizen can make a difference when it comes to conserving water; and
WHEREAS, every business, industry, school and citizen can help by saving water and thus promote a healthy economy and community; and
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that by virtue of the authority vested in me as Chairman, Allen L. Moore of the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District do hereby proclaim the month of April as
Water Conservation Month
NOW, THEREFORE, the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District hereby proclaims the month of April 2019 as Water Conservation Month.
The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District is calling upon each citizen and business to help protect our precious resource by practicing water saving measures and becoming more aware of the need to save water.
Allen L. Moore, Chairman
PASSED AND ADOPTED this 20th day of March 2019.
The second annual Start Farming: Panel Discussion and Farmers Market featured Duval County Farmers showcasing both products and guidance to the public. This event began as a way to glean insight from the farmers in our county that have gone through the challenge of starting a farming endeavor. Panelists in our 2018 event also featured insight from Natasha Parks, lead for the Homestead Entrepreneurs program at Duval County IFAS, helping residents navigate the laws and requirements behind selling homemade products.
The 2018 panelists included Freddie Bacon, Bacon's Select Produce; Michael Leach, Bee Friends Farm; Val Herrmann, White Harvest Farms & Farmers Market; and Natasha Parks, Homestead Entrepreneurs, Duval IFAS.
Bacon's Select Produce discussed their long standing participation in local farmers markets and how that helped provide name recognition for networking with local chefs and restaurants. Michael Leach of Bee Friends Farm discussed their unique land use needs. Bee hives can be transported from area farms and help pollinate ag areas while creating several varieties of local honey. Bee Friends offers several products made from bees including pollinator services. Val Herrmann of White Harvest Farm discussed their most recent activities to convert the farm into organic production. This transition is facilitated by a conservation grant from the NRCS. Natasha Parks discussed the many things graduates of her Homestead Entrepreneurs courses have learned and how upcoming courses can help those interested in understanding the laws that govern at home food production.
The farmers market portion of the event was a time for farmers, potential farmers, and the public to ask questions from agency personnel that offer conservation funding assistance to growers and producers. We had representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Service - Florida (NRCS-USDA), Duval County Agricultural Extension, and information from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD).
Learn more about the Duval County farmers making a difference in both urban and rural parts of the district in local, sustainable food production today. #golo #jaxsoilandwater
Outdoors, lawn and landscape irrigation accounts for more than half of all residential water use. If everyone skipped one week of irrigation this season, it could save nearly 1 billion gallons of water.
During cooler months in fall and winter, your lawn doesn’t need watering every week. It’s the best time to train your yard to need less water. So, only water your lawn every other week — and only if it needs it.
Too much irrigation…
The poster contest is an additional way to compete in the competition for grades K-12. The topic for both competitions is "Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper" and speeches are to be no more than 5-7 minutes. Independent research on the topic works to further educate students in conservation and natural resources, while public speaking provides a host of additional benefits. Artistic skills are called on for the poster contest, and all ages are encouraged to participate. Cash prizes for top winners!
Learn more with this guide. Posters and entry forms can be dropped off at the Duval County Extension Office during their regular operating hours and must be addressed to DSWCD.
We hope that you, a friend, a relative, or a student you know will consider entering in the 2019 annual
Joe B. Forshee, Jr. Speech Contest and Poster Contest for Duval County.
The Fred B. Miller, Jr. Regional Envirothon is a problem-solving, natural resource education program for high school students. This annual competition is a field-oriented program in which student teams learn to use critical thinking skills to answer written questions or conduct hands-on investigations about environmental issues.
If you are unfamiliar with the Envirothon, this event isn't new. We are proud to help bring this educational competition to Duval and surrounding counties for more than 20 years with the help of volunteers and agency leaders! If you are a student, parent or teacher interested in this event, we hope you will consider reaching out to us for details. This event is ideal for high school science, environmental science, forestry, agriculture or wildlife courses. Assemble a team of 5-7 students and register today. We will provide you with online guides AND in classroom resource professionals (the earlier you sign up and schedule - the better) to help learn in each of the resource categories.
Learn more about last year's winners on our website or the Duval County Envirothon Facebook page for links and pictures. Registration is $5 per participant, and requires 7 team members and 1 adviser for a total of $40. It includes one boxed lunch per person and access to electronic and in person resources.
Dr. Scott Sowell, center, being recognized at the 2018 Jacksonville Environmental Symposium
In 2018, the Duval Soil & Water Conservation District launched its Conservation Teacher of the Year award. This award recognizes the work of any K-12 teacher in Duval County who has been involved in both education and action during the past year. The ideal candidate is a principled conservationist who educates students on natural resource conservation practices and initiates student action in their community or school in order to improve quality of life for Duval County residents. All Duval County teachers who have participated in one of the District’s programs during the last year will be considered for recognition as our Conservation Teacher of the Year.
In 2018, the District has excitedly chosen Dr. Scott Sowell for our inaugural award!
Dr. Scott P. Sowell is an Environmental Science Teacher at Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School here in Duval County. Over the past 17 years, Dr. Sowell has demonstrated leadership, professionalism, and commitment to protecting the environment by helping young people understand and gain a deep appreciation for our natural resources. His innovative teaching methods and his love for helping students to learn about how things work in nature has earned him recognition among his peers and in the community.
In 2012, Dr. Sowell was named Florida Blue Teacher of the Year. He places the experience before the lecture so that his students create their own learning by exploring real-life scientific situations. In 2016 Dr. Sowell worked with a small team of students who took First Place in the Annual Fred B. Miller Envirothon hosted by the Duval Soil & Water Conservation District. In 2017, Dr. Sowell was named "Educator of the Year" from St. Johns Riverkeeper for his work in algae eutrophication experiments with his AP Environmental Science students.
Along with being named the “2018 Conservation Teacher of the Year”, we also nominated Dr. Sowell for the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board's Individual Environmental Achievement award, which he also won. Congratulations to Dr. Sowell, and thank you for your dedication to the environment through education.
To learn more about our Conservation Teacher of the Year award, click HERE.