To The Daily Sun,
A valentine to volunteers:
They love and loved the land, the water and where they meet in wetlands, streambanks and shorelines. Over the last seven decades, thousands of volunteers have donated their time to the Belknap County Conservation District. The Conservation District’s 73rd birthday is on Valentine’s Day.
Clearly local residents who fostered the state's establishment of conservation districts in 1946, also loved the county’s natural resources and human habitat enough to create the Belknap County Conservation District. Records show the district has done hundreds of projects to improve farmland, help create parks and golf courses, and reduce flooding, erosion and runoff pollutants. This legacy of projects includes the Wetlands Walk at Gunstock, improvements of wildlife and fish habitat, and streambank improvements which all benefited from volunteer assistance in 2018.
Valentine’s Day seems a good time to thank all the people and businesses that donated time and materials for conservation projects in 2018. The Wetlands Walk is a good example of this volunteer spirit. It took from 1995-98 to construct the Wetlands Walk and will take at least as many years to complete areas of reconstruction and repairs. We are awaiting word on an important grant which will allow us to do a major portion of our reconstruction work. When it is finished, general maintenance will need to continue but it should avoid major repairs for 40-50 years! Volunteers have hauled and installed materials, local stores have donated materials and provided discounts, and markets donated lunch materials. They have all helped make it possible to make repairs. This has allowed many people to visit the Wetlands Walk and to learn the values wetlands provide like flood protection, groundwater recharge, nesting sites, water quality improvement and nitrogen recycling. It has been very rewarding to meet the people of all ages who enjoy the boardwalk, notably those with mobility problems.
The Conservation District will be seeking both financial match and continued community assistance along with grants and donations. County funding is an important part of that support. The other types of projects that impact land, water and related natural resources will always continue as funding allows. Growing or raising food, fishing, hunting, recreating or building, we all can contribute to conservation of land, water and related natural resources. Whether you have been an enrolled volunteer with the district or another group, or do things on your own, thanks for helping care for our shared human habitat.
Belknap County Conservation District Volunteer