River Walk on the Farm: Boots and Binos

The Downstream Project will be co-sponsoring and capturing the “River Walk on the Farm” hosted by Bobby and Jeanne Whitescarver on their farm in Swoope, Virginia. The Downstream Crew will be videotaping this celebration event and documenting the many excellent presentations, in a feature-rich environment. Although the event is now full subscribed, we will be sharing the highlights with our conservation partners. Below is a copy of Bobby’s original blogpost describing the event.


In celebration of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week (June 4 – 12) Jeanne and I are hosting a “River Walk at the Farm” on Sunday, June 12th at 3pm.  Meet at the intersection of Boy Scout Lane and Trimbles Mill Road in Augusta County, Virginia.

Space is limited to the first 50 participants.  This event is now full (May 21).

 

Middle River at six miles from its source. This is our part of the river which we fenced off from cattle ten years ago.

This is Jeanne’s farm on Middle River at six miles from its source. We excluded cattle from the river and two unnamed tributaries in 2004.

Walk the River

Walk the stream banks with Jeanne and me to discover the rich biodiversity of the native, riparian plants including false indigo bush, catalpa, jewelweed, native grasses, and much more.  Yes, there are invasive plants as well that we will talk about and take out.  See the blooms and pollinators in action.  Hear and see the birds including Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Eastern Kingbirds, Grasshopper Sparrows, Tree Swallows, Warbling Vireos, Yellow Warblers, Orioles, and many more.  They will all be nesting by then.

Rotational Grazing

Tree Swallows nest on our farm at the river. This is a male guarding the nest.

Tree Swallows nest on our farm at the river. This is a male guarding the nest.

Our cows move to grazing unit #2 at the river. Just look at those cellulose digesting mobile protein and fertilzer factories. There is nothing prettier than black on green.

Our cows move to grazing unit #2 at the river. Just look at those cellulose digesting mobile protein and fertilizer factories. There is nothing prettier than black on green.

See rotational grazing of cattle in action.  This farm is divided into four grazing units.  One of them is a native grass pasture that was converted from tall fescue in 2012.  Two species of big bluestem and two species of switchgrass were planted and established in ONE year.

Save our Streams Protocol

We will sample the bugs in the river using the Save our Streams protocol to score its quality.  Middle River is one of the most polluted rivers in Augusta County.  It’s on the Commonwealth’s “dirty waters” list for E.coli and sediment.  But the E.coli counts are reduced in half by flowing a quarter mile through our farm.  Why?  The riparian forest buffer provides the aquatic ecosystem with the carbon it needs to process the in-stream pollution.  Learn more here.  Leaves from our trees are the corn silage of the aquatic ecosystem.

Riparian Forest Buffer

Walk through a twelve-year-old CREP hardwood tree planting that has actually had some management applied.  Tree canopy closure was achieved in seven years.  Swamp white oak, crabapple, river birch and many other riparian trees “made it” because we maintained tree shelters and suppressed invasive species like tall fescue.

Native leaves from trees like this Swamp White Oak will help bring back Brook Trout.

The leaves from this native Swamp White Oak on our farm will fall in the river and will provide the energy for a thriving aquatic ecosystem.

Bring your boots and binos for a wondrous walk along the river.  We will limit this event to the first 50 participants. This event is now Full.

Celebrate America’s Largest Estuary

Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week is June 4 – 12.  Championed by the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the legislatures of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania adopted resolutions celebrating the Bay.  Here is Virginia’s resolution.  Emmett Hanger, State Senator from the Shenandoah Valley is on the Commission.  Want to celebrate?  There are plenty of planned events throughout the sprawling 64,000 square mile watershed.  Here’s a link to The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s website with planned events you can join.

 

 

Sponsors for this event:

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, The Downstream Project, Friends of Middle River, Valley Conservation Council, Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District, Shenandoah Valley Network, Virginia Native Plant Society and Virginia Working Landscapes.

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