Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District has completed 65 years of service in Putnam County. In many ways this year is no different than any other except we have planned many new programs, field days and events and encourage folks to join us. This is just a short list of upcoming events for the near future but well worth penciling in on your calendar.
We will be having our annual winter cropping systems meeting on Feb. 22 at McCormick's Creek. We will be hosting this in collaboration with Owen County SWCD. It will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and run until around 11:30. PARP credits will be offered, so please bring your pesticide card. The meeting speaker will be Barry Fisher, NRCS state soil health specialist, discussing topics of cover crop management in spring and soil health/soil quality. A complimentary breakfast will be furnished, however, registration is required to have enough materials for the participants. PARP credits will cost $10.
New this year the SWCD will be hosting brown bag luncheons at the Putnam County Library. The first series will be devoted to trees / timber stand improvement. Join us on Febr. 15 for a session with Allen Royer, IDNR district forester, on "Tree Plantings -- what is the best tree selection, why and where should I plant that tree?"
The luncheons are open to everyone, just bring your lunch and join us from 11 a.m. until noon in the Kiwanis Room. The other dates are set as May 16, Aug. 15, and Nov. 14. Topics and speakers are still being developed but will be shared as soon as we firm up details. Join us for one or all of the sessions.
In addition to the brown bag luncheons, we are offering our second annual tree sale from Feb. 1 -- March 23. These dates are to place orders for your selection of trees and native plants. They will be available for pick up on April 14 at the Putnam County Fairgrounds in the goat barn. Please watch for signs. We can only place orders accompanied with payment. Trees are limited so please reserve your choices early. Order forms and pictures of this year's choices are on our website at http://putnam.iaswcd.org/ or you may call the office or pick up forms throughout various businesses in Greencastle.
One of our more intriguing programs this year is our inaugural fundraiser -- a mystery dinner with silent auction. The mystery dinner is scheduled March 10 at the Dixie Chopper Business Center at the Putnam County Airport is from 6-9 p.m. Dinner entertainment will be by the Drive By Comedy Group in "The Mystery of Muckduck Mountain." Audience participation will be included in this "who-dunit" that promises an entertaining evening. All proceeds will go to build our SWCD endowment fund with the Community Foundation. The tickets are $18 per person. Please call early with your reservations to join us.
March 6 will find us out in the field ... literally, viewing fall planted cover crops. Barry Fisher will again be with us to discuss the types of cover crops, pros and cons of aerial seeding vs. drilled seeding and what to do in the spring with cover crops to get ready for planting. This is the rescheduled date from last fall when the weather was less than ideal. Quad L Farms and Britton Farms have graciously agreed to host us again. In case of inclement weather the event will be held at Quad L Farms.
Skipping ahead during the week of the Putnam County Fair, July 20-27, we will be offering private well sampling at a reduced cost. Putnam County has 4,056 private wells.
About 15 percent of Americans have their own sources of drinking water, such as wells, cisterns and springs. Unlike public drinking water systems serving many people, they do not have experts regularly checking the water's source and its quality before it is sent through pipes to the community.
Why you should test? When you pour a glass of water, you expect it to be pure and safe. However, absolutely pure water rarely exists in nature. Water absorbs minerals, organic materials and organisms as it moves through the air and soil into surface and ground water supplies. So, while most water appears clean and free of problems at the tap, it may not be safe for drinking or acceptable for household activities. Taste and odor are not always indicators of water quality.
Testing will help confirm if a problem exists. It is recommended that water testing should be done annually. The Putnam County SWCD will cost share with well owners to have their water tested for Total Coliform/E-Coli. If you would like your water tested for nitrates we will cost share on that as well. Other tests are available at additional costs should you want or need these tests. Results are strictly confidential and will be mailed directly to you. Brochures are available at the office with more information.
There will be more field days, workshops, cost-share programs and activities going on at the Soil and Water Conservation District. Our fundraising opportunities will continue to provide education and outreach programs to all citizens of Putnam County.
Our mission is to Protect the soil, water and natural resources of Putnam County. We strive to make that mission a reality for future generations through education, outreach and cost-share programming that your generosity makes possible. You can contact the SWCD office at 653-7454 for questions or more information on any of these events listed or others coming in the near future.