Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day, Everyday!

Earth Day, April 22, 2010 was really great for me this year! I tend to get pretty excited about Earth Day, it’s true. My friends and family think I'm crazy and there is no doubt that they are right about that, however for professionals who work in the environmental/conservation world, it's our day! I look at April 22nd, each year, as a day for reflection on my personal actions on the environment and I take a moment to really appreciate the work that is done on behalf of conserving our natural resources.

- First, Earth Day serves to remind us all to reflect on our own actions and the impact we, as individuals, are making on the environment. With new technologies and greening efforts there are many ways to minimize our environmental footprint with our everyday behaviors such as recycling, over or improper fertilizer application, wildlife habitat establishment or enhancement, and water/energy conservation. Over the years there have been some really interesting campaigns regarding environmental stewardship for the everyday citizen, such as this
poster with a guy fertilizing improperly and check out this video from our Indiana Department of Environmental Management. After all, Earth Day really is Everyday! My fellow ISDA blogger The Ag Grant Guru has is right this week, check out her blog!

- Second, Earth Day provides an excellent opportunity to show our appreciation for the many Hoosier conservation professionals, advocates, and partners who have spent years dedicated to the common purpose of making this planet a more ecologically sound/sustainable civilization. I can think of no better group to honor for this dedication than our own ISDA, Conservation staff. Our staff of just over 30 individuals do everything from working with farmers/landowners to install conservation practices on the land, to helping each of the 92 Soil and Water Conservation Districts effectively provide conservation services, to developing the very programs that encourage more and more protection of our precious natural resources. I can't begin to explain how proud I am to be to the director of such an important area and such a quality class of people who share my passion for conservation.
Kenny preaching soil conservation!
I had the opportunity on Earth Day to spend some time out in the field with one of our Resource Specialists, George Reger. We were mostly working with earthwork contractors who were busy constructing Grassed Waterways (designed swales in the field which alleviate gully erosion and minimize sediment/nutrient runoff). One of the contractors hard at work was Kenny "Cornfield" Cain. Kenny has been a great friend and advocate for conservation efforts and is well-known as a conservation farmer. Kenny took a few moments to discuss the current soil conditions with George and I along with the progress of corn planting in the area. It was a great day watching our conservation efforts coming to fruition right in front of us!

My thanks to George and Kenny for the great Earth Day! Thanks again to our Conservation staff and our supporters at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture!
Next week is Soil and Water Stewardship Week!!!

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