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Tree Planting Crew Group Photo
animal plant
Image by USDA NRCS South Dakota
Beadle Conservation District, the Mayor and Council members of the Town of Wolsey, NRCS employees and individuals commemorated the 75th anniversary of the creation of South Dakota conservation districts by planting 75 trees along the new walking path in the town of Wolsey, SD, on April 20, 2012.

Planting Event Marks History of Conservation

On April 20, 2012, 75 trees were planted along the new walking path in Wolsey, SD. What makes this action significant? The event commemorates almost eight decades of a unique partnership between landowners, public and private entities to protect our natural resources. Beadle Conservation District, the Town of Wolsey, 4-H’ers, employees of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other partners joined together that day to plant the trees in recognition of Earth Day, to honor of conservation efforts across South Dakota and to mark a significant time in our state’s history.

Led by the Beadle Conservation District, Town of Wolsey and the NRCS planned the tree planting event as a commemorating the 75th anniversary of the creation of South Dakota conservation districts. July 1, 2012, marks the enacting of South Dakota Law that created South Dakota’s conservation districts. Born of the Dust Bowl era, NRCS and conservation districts have played a key role in public-private conservation efforts across the nation. “In South Dakota, 69 conservation districts are known for many services, including water quality and watershed projects, no-till and residue management, as well as, their tree planting efforts,” says Fran Fritz, farmer and past President of the SD Association of Conservation Districts (SDACD), Iroquois. “Starting with Earth Day and throughout the year, we are encouraging local districts and communities to plant 75 trees as a public tribute recognizing conservation success, and, more importantly, teach their children the importance of people working together to conserve natural resources.”

Paul Flynn, NRCS South Dakota Acting State Conservationist, of St. Paul, MN, says, “Earth Day, and every day, for that matter, is appropriate to recognize conservation efforts of natural resources. Each of us can see the importance of caring for the soil, water, air, plants and animals for a sustainable future. This tree planting is historically symbolic because the Town of Wolsey is an agricultural community and located in an area hit hard by the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.”

Craig Rearick, local farmer and a Board Supervisor with the Beadle Conservation District says, “What’s neat about this is…understanding that 75 years ago people came together each with their respective talents to address the horrible erosion problems. Times were very tough but their cooperative spirit helped producers learn farming and ranching conservation techniques for keeping soil in place. It’s amazing to realize the devastation of the ‘Dust Bowl,’ and today, look at these same acres, seeing productive agriculture land.”

Conservation districts have a unique partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture. NRCS works hand-in-hand with conservation districts who are local units of government established under state law to carry out natural resource management programs at the local level. The NRCS is the federal agency that provides technical and financial assistance to help people help the land and other natural resources. Nationwide, NRCS and districts work with millions of cooperating landowners and operators on a voluntary basis to help them manage and protect land and water resources on all private lands and many public lands in the United States.

South Dakota farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land and have done much since the “Dirty 30s” to help resources heal from the decade-long drought. Flynn explains, “The science and technology of conservation has become more sophisticated as NRCS and partners work with landowners to address the complexities of modern farming and ranching operations. Last year (Fiscal Year 2011), we and our partners helped South Dakota landowners implement hundreds of different conservation practices on over 1.6 million acres across the state. This is an exciting time to be in agriculture,” says Flynn.

Photo by Brenda Cano, NRCS, Wolsey.

Georgina Camouflaged
animal plant
Image by Keith Marshall
There used to be a plant living in that pot.. Oh well.

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