By Lori Larsen
Do you have a yard? Or do you garden? Are you a local farmer or grower? Do you own a wooded area? Are you interested in sharing your nature experience with the youth of today? Then the Newaygo Conservation District (NCD) has something for you!
The Newaygo Conservation District has been around for a long time, 72 years to be exact. And it has a lot to offer our community, from the commercial growers to the backyard gardener. In the past it has been operating quietly behind the scenes, but there is enough going on now that it is time to begin making some noise.
I am new to Newaygo County. When I moved here I knew nothing about this organization and the people who dedicate their time, energy and talent to it.
Luke Cotton is the executive director. When I called the NCD office to request assistance with an invasion of non-native plants, Luke visited my son’s property to assess the invasion of non-native plants. Luke responded. He was knowledgeable and helpful. We walked the property and had great conversations. I was impressed.
Fast forward six months. I received a phone call from Luke asking me if I might consider assuming a position as a member of the NCD Board of Directors. I did some research, attended a couple board meetings, asked many questions and was again impressed with the board, the staff, the organization's resources and the amazing possibilities that are offered to the community.
The programs within the NCD are cooperative and collaborative, I like that. The outcome and product of one program supports another, that seems like a good way to conduct dynamic, sustainable programming. The staff of each program has their own area of expertise, but they rely on each other to create a complete and diverse approach to environmental solutions. That is one of the best examples of teamwork that I can imagine.
The NCD supports and offers the benefits of the NCD Nursery, which has distributed literally millions of bare root seedlings. The Kropscott Farm Environmental Center and the S. F. Wessling Observatory are educational, place-based learning centers for Newaygo County and beyond. What a great opportunity for our youth.
The NCD is centrally located to offer these combined services. The NCD is also uniquely positioned to provide research opportunities in areas such as soil health and management, watershed management, pollinator protections and agricultural practices.
For me personally, the Newaygo Conservation District has been a retired person’s dream come true. I have many years of experience and a driving passion to protect this beautiful planet. This commitment to NCD has given me an opportunity to continue my contribution to planet Earth and I cannot think of a way I would rather spend my time.
Truly, the opportunities for our community through NCD are limited only by the effort and the imagination of the people who are involved. That is why I am inviting you to join the effort. There is nothing more powerful than a group of individuals who are all focused and dedicated to a mission. And there is no human resource better prepared than us, the retired individuals of our community.
Over the next four weeks we will explore the resources and opportunities of the Newaygo Conservation District. Then we will invite you to join us for the open houses at the nursery and at Kropscott Farm Environmental Center.
The Nursery open house will be held on March 12th from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm. We will offer a tour of the nursery and provide an introduction to this valuable resource. We will invite you to be involved. The NCD nursery is located at 1725 E. 72nd Street, Newaygo.
The open house for the Kropscott Farm Environmental Center (KFEC) will be held on April 16th from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm. We will tour the facility and discuss the upcoming program opportunities. Again, we will ask you to be a part of our efforts. The KFEC is located at 6523 W. Baseline Road, north of Fremont.
You don’t have to choose, you are welcome to explore both facilities.
And, yes, you guessed it, there will be coffee and donuts.
For more information call Luke Cotton at (231)349-4455.
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