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Skaggs: Stewardship Week puts focus on conservation
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The Hall County Soil & Water Conservation District encourages you to think about your personal responsibility to be a good steward of natural resources during its annual Stewardship Week celebration. The National Association of Conservation Districts has proclaimed April 25–May 2 as Stewardship Week, marking the 55th year of the national event.

The 2010 Stewardship Week is themed “Conservation Habits = Healthy Habitats,” encouraging citizens, schools and communities to develop and maintain habitat areas using good conservation practices.

“Being good stewards of our natural resources at home and in our communities is an important task for each citizen. When we think about protecting and managing our natural resources, we can provide healthy habitats for the ecosystems on our planet,” NACD President Steve Robinson said. “Each of us can make a difference by developing habitat areas in our own backyards, our schools or in our communities”.

What is conservation? And how does it affect me?

Conservation is careful management of the environment and of our natural resources. How can you expand or add habits to develop healthy habitats?

A habit is a pattern of behavior that is repeated so often that it becomes typical of somebody, although he or she may be unaware of it. Develop conservation habits so that it becomes second nature and increase healthy habitats.

What is a habitat? A habitat is the place where something lives because it is adapted to find food, water, shelter and space. It could be a plant, animal or other small organism. People, plants and animals all need a place to live and food to eat. A habitat is where people, animals and plants grow and live. People, plants and animals all need each other and they all need clean water, air and soil.

Most of the flowering plants we need and enjoy are pollinated by insects. When these pollinating insects start shrinking in number, many plants either produce fewer seeds or no seed at all. When pollinating animals start disappearing, plants start disappearing.

We need to protect pollinating insects. Pollinators aren’t just annoying insects; they are an important part of the web of life that we all depend upon for our very survival. More than 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants wouldn’t survive if it weren’t for pollinators.

Why do you need those flowering plants? A lot of fruits and vegetables come from flowering plants. Many medicines come from flowering plants. Animals and birds that are an important part of the ecosystem seek food and shelter in flowering plants and trees.

Pollinators are fast disappearing. We need to establish and protect the habitats of pollinators.

The Hall County Soil & Water Conservation District is a member of the National Association of Conservation Districts (www.nacdnet.org) which oversees the Stewardship Week program. Stewardship Week is one of the largest national annual programs to promote conservation. NACD represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, which were established to encourage resource conservation across the country.

For information about Stewardship Week and conservation, visit the NACD website at www.nacdnet.org.

Billy Skaggs is a Hall County extension agent. He can be reached at 770-531-6988. His column on agribusiness appears biweekly and at gainesvilletimes.com.
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