Thursday, February 26, 2015


Nominations are being sought for a $750 scholarship offered by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Administrative Professionals Association (NCCEAPA) through March 17, 2015.  The scholarship is available to North Carolina residents pursuing a college degree (Associates and/or Bachelors) in business or a business-related field of study.  Applicants must be enrolled to attend classes at a college during the 2015-2016 school year.

The scholarship is awarded annually to honor the work and dedication of Edith Herter and Frances O'Neal, co-leaders in forming the NCCEAPA in 1973.

Qualified applicants interested in applying for this scholarship can obtain an application packet by contacting the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Watauga County Center, at 828-264-3061 or by visiting the center at 971 West King Street in Boone.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Shade Your Stream Livestake Giveaway

Looking for something “Green” to do on the first day of spring this year?  If so, you are in luck!  

On March 21, 2015 from 10:30 am – 2:00pm, the Watauga County Cooperative Extension and Watauga River Partners are hosting a native plant demonstration and give-away for residents in the High Country.   All are welcome, but must register in order to receive free plants and lunch.   In partnership with the Appalachian Water Project, a joint venture between Wine to Water and Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB), workshop participants can walk away with tips on how to care for their stream/river, free native vegetation (live stakes), and a happy belly. 

Across Western North Carolina, streambank erosion—and the resulting build-up of sediment in stream channels—is having negative impacts on water quality and habitat for “critters”, including trout that live in the streams.   Live stakes are an effective way to reduce streambank erosion.   At this point you may be wondering, “What is a live stake?”  It is a long hardwood cutting from a native shrub, adapted to moist conditions, planted outdoors without rooting hormones.   In this area, we use silky dogwood, elderberry, ninebark, silky willow, and buttonbush. 
Participants from past workshop installing livestakes on the creek.
These woody plants have extensive root systems that stabilize the soil on stream banks during rainfall and high water flow.  The shade produced by the shrubs help maintain the cooler temperatures that our mountain fish and aquatic life need to survive, while the leaves help provide habitat and food for insects and fish. (Leaves fall into the stream, aquatic insects eat and live in the leaves, trout eat the insects) “Shading Your Stream” with vegetation is really important because it acts as a filter to prevent sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, pathogens, and heavy metals from entering our rivers.

The event will be held at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center where experts from the New River Conservancy, the Watauga River Partners, and Watauga County Cooperative Extension will share tips on stream care and available programs that can help landowners.  If you are unfamiliar with how to install livestakes, we will demonstrate by planting a 20ft section of Kraut Creek during the day. 

Interested in participating and receiving free plants for your creek bank?  Please call the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center at (828) 264-3061, or email  The workshop will begin at 10:30 am at 252 Poplar Grove Rd in Boone. 

“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
                                                                                                            ---- Wendell Berry

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 Rain Barrel Sale Now in Progress

Protect our Water Resources by Reusing Water Around the Home and Landscape
Go to the following website to order your rain barrel. 

Though the high country has had good precipitation amounts this past year, we still cannot take our water for granted.  As we saw a few years ago, supplies can be altered at the “drop of a hat” during drought conditions.  According to Wendy Patoprsty, Extension Agent for Watauga County, “rainwater in the high country represents a high quality source of water available to us, there is no reason we should let it flow away without using it.”  It can take a very long time for our natural groundwater to recharge.  Depending on the landscape, it can take anywhere from one year to 1,000 years to infiltrate into the aquifers. 

Lane Weiss of the Town of Boone Water Conservation Program says “harvesting rain water prevents water from pooling around the foundation of your home, and helps prevent erosion.  This harvested water can be used for various purposes including washing your dog, watering gardens, rinsing tools, washing cars and windows.”  There is no reason to use treated city water or groundwater for these types of uses. 

“Rain barrels are a great way to water your plants and shrubs or your raised bed veggie gardens.  They are so simple a kid can use them,” says Janie Poe, of Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District.  The Town of Boone, Watauga County Cooperative Extension, and the Watauga County Soil and Water Conservation District have partnered to provide rain barrels to the community at a reduced cost.   In order to get your savings, you must order your barrel online by April 24th.  We are able to offer the discounted rates because of bulk purchasing and delivery.  These barrels typically cost $129, but we are getting them for $75!  The pick up day will be Friday May 1st, 2015.

According to the EPA, 40% of household water usage in summer is from lawn and garden watering. Homeowners can save 1,300 gallons of tap water every summer by purchasing a rain barrel.

How to order:
Go to the following website to order your rain barrel. 
You must place your order by April 24th, 2015 in order to get the discount on the barrel.    The barrels will be available for pick up on Friday May 1st for the one-day pick up event. 

What sets this rain barrel apart from others?
* Made in NC from 100% recycled plastic.
* Mosquito proof
* Best in class overflow set up to withstand heavy rains so barrel won’t back up into gutters.  This barrel has optional flow direction with capabilities to attach multiple barrels.

Top 5 Reasons to Harvest Rainwater!
* Protect our rivers and streams from runoff pollution
* Divert water from the municipal storm drain system
* Conserve this vital natural resource and reduce your water bills
* Use the rain water to grow healthy and lush plants
* Control moisture levels around the foundation of your home

For more information call 264-3061(Cooperative Extension) 268-6250(Town of Boone), or 264-0842(Watauga County Soil and Water).