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Pollinator Hedgerows, Cover Crops Education Slated

POSTED March 19, 2013 2:48 p.m.

 

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California will host an open house at the Lockeford Plant Materials Center (PMC) on Wednesday, March 27 from 10a.m. to 3p.m. The event, to be held in Lockeford will present opportunities to learn from conservation and science professionals about pollinator hedgerows, cover crops, soil health and related subjects in a setting focused on group learning and field tours.

Since 2009, California’s innovative landowners have added over 105 miles of hedgerows, more than half the nation’s total. Laid end-to-end, these targeted mixes of wildflowers and shrubs would stretch from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe, acting as habitat for more than 1,500 species of native pollinators and other birds and wildlife.

During the field tours, ample opportunity will be given to view and investigate the mature hedgerows that were planted at the PMC several years ago. Guest speakers will include Tom Moore, NRCS State Biologist; Jessa Guisse, Xerces Society; and Neal Williams and Kimiora Ward, Entomology Department, UC Davis.

Cover crops will be highlighted in another group tour led by Margaret Smither-Kopperl, PMC Manager. Cover crops are grown specifically to cover the ground to protect soil from erosion and loss of plant nutrients through leaching and runoff, and add soil nitrogen. Featured speakers will be Ceci Dale-Cesmat, NRCS State Rangeland Management Specialist, who will discuss the Sainfoin trial; Dennis Chessman, NRCS State Conservation Agronomist will talk about a demonstration cover crop; and Jim Briggs, NRCS Western Region Plant Materials Specialist, will discuss the National Soil Health Study.

Recently, soil health has been spotlighted in a new NRCS initiative entitled “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil” (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/soils/health/). As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance. So much so that NRCS believes improving the health of our nation’s soil is one of the most important endeavors of our time. The field tours will address this vitally important element as it relates to pollinator hedgerows, cover crops and related topics.

Lunch will be provided for $8. Please RSVP, including lunch request, by March 25 to Shawn Vue via e-mail at shawn.vue@ca.usda.gov. Following that date, visitors may still be accommodated, but are asked to bring their own lunches.

Since its inception in 1935, NRCS has worked in partnership with private landowners and a variety of local, state and federal conservation partners to deliver conservation based on specific, local needs. For more information about NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.

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