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Farm, Garden & Outdoors calendar published Aug. 13, 2022

Events and classes scheduled in the outdoors, gardening and farming. Submit your event at news@wctrib.com by noon on Tuesday.

Round hay bales in a field
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Farming

Central Minnesota Dairy Field Day: Aug. 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Janski Farm, 3731 200th St., St. Augusta. The University of Minnesota Extension event will focus on dairy management and the production of forages for farming operations in central Minnesota. It will highlight the farm's utilization of robots, forage management, and the use of cover crops on the land and in the dairy cattle ration. Lunch will be provided at 1 p.m. Register for the meal at z.umn.edu/DairyFDCentral22 or by calling Dana Adams at 320-204-2968 .

Cover Crop Field Day: Aug. 18, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., free, Southwest Research and Outreach Center, Lamberton. “Setting up for Success” is for farmers and those who work with farmers, with or without cover crop experience, and anyone else who would like to learn more about cover crops. The field tour will start at 9 a.m., rain or shine. Register by Aug. 12 to ensure a meal at z.umn.edu/covercropfieldday . Later registrations and walk-ins are welcome but timely registration is required to reserve a meal.

Prescribed Grazing Field Day: Aug. 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Greg and Rebecca Symanietz family farm, near Avon. Day will focus on forage species, fencing techniques, grazing/cost-share programs and calculating forage rations for those interested in implementing prescribed grazing in their operation. A pasture walk will follow several presentations. Lunch is provided for those registered by Aug. 18 on the Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation District website at stearnscountyswcd.net or by calling the office at 320-251-7800, ext. 3.

Strategic farming: Field Notes: Wednesdays, 8 a.m., free, 30-minute University of Minnesota Extension webinar over Zoom for farmers and ag professionals. Register for the live sessions at z.umn.edu/strategic-farming . The program will feature a live webinar with interactive discussion with attendees, addressing in-season cropping issues as they arise. Weekly topics will be announced on the week of the program, maintaining the flexibility to react to issues that come up in 2022. For those unable to attend live, the discussion-based series will be posted immediately following the webinar to podcast-streaming services. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or Google podcasts.

Farm Beginnings: Sept. 1 is the deadline for applications for the Farm Beginnings class, which will take place in an online setting November through March with on-farm educational events to follow later in 2023. The training session helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan and start building their operation. It is designed for new and prospective farmers who want to plan a profitable farm business. The class cost is $1,000, which covers up to two individuals per farm, and scholarships are available. More information and registration is on the Land Stewardship Project website at landstewardshipproject.org or email Annelie Livingston-Anderson at annelie@landstewardshipproject.org.

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Gardening

New Master Gardener training: Oct. 1 is the application deadline to become a University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteer. Extension Master Gardeners bring science-based horticulture knowledge and practices to Minnesota, promoting healthy landscapes and building communities through volunteer efforts. Master Gardeners are reliable sources of gardening information for Minnesotans. Becoming a Master Gardener gives volunteers a chance to expand their interests in areas including sustainability, local foods, pollinators and climate change. Master Gardeners also put their skills to work conserving green spaces, native plants and clean water. The training will be all online and spread out over 14 weeks. To become a Master Gardener, individuals commit to complete online training and 50 hours of volunteering in the first year. After the first year, they commit 25 hours to annual volunteer work; many choose to devote more time to the program. Master Gardeners come from all ages and backgrounds. To learn more about the program and apply, visit z.umn.edu/MG_info or call 612-625-9864 .

Dykstras: Bill and Helene Dykstra will have their garden open from noon until dark daily until frost. Freewill donations for Guatemala will be accepted. Take Kandiyohi County Road 5 south of Roseland for one mile, go east on 210th Avenue and turn south on 37th Street.

Horticulture Display Garden: Open daily from dawn to dusk, University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy. 329, Morris.

Hands on Hort: Sept. 10, 1 to 4 p.m., Horticulture Display Garden, University of Minnesota West Central Research & Outreach Center, 46352 State Hwy. 329 in Morris. Hands-on demonstrations on all things gardening. Space is limited; advance registration required by contacting Heidi Olson-Manska at 320-589-1711 or olsonh@umn.edu. More information online at wcroc.cfans.umn.edu .

Outdoors

Starry Trek 2022: Aug. 20, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., statewide, advance registration is required online at www.StarryTrek.org . Volunteers are needed to participate in a search for starry stonewort, one of Minnesota’s newest aquatic invasive species. Volunteers will gather at local training sites to learn how to identify starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species. They will be sent to nearby public water accesses to check for starry stonewort and return to the local training site to report their findings. Starry stonewort is an invasive algae that was first found in Minnesota at Lake Koronis in 2015 and has since spread to 19 Minnesota lakes. Early detection of this species is critical for control. No experience or equipment is necessary to participate in Starry Trek. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Sites include West Ripley Park in Litchfield and sites in Paynesville, Alexandria and Ortonville.

Sibley State Park: A vehicle permit is required to enter the park and is available online. Sibley State Park is west of New London just off U.S. Highway 71. For more information, visit the state Department of Natural Resources website at www.dnr.state.mn.us .

  • Mammals of Minnesota: Aug. 14, noon to 2 p.m. Stop by the Interpretive Center to learn about the amazing mammals of Minnesota, including a few you might find around the park, what habitat they call home, some of their favorite foods and a few fun facts about each mammal. This program is great for kids because there is no set time to stay. Stroller and wheelchair friendly.

Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center: Trails at the rural Spicer center may be used during daylight hours at no cost. A bathroom with composting toilets is open by the pavilion. Pets should be on a leash. All equipment rentals (fat-tire bikes, kayaks, canoes) will be handled on a reservation basis, made at least 24 hours in advance. To reserve equipment for the weekend, please call by noon Friday. Two-hour equipment rental is $20 for adults, $10 for members and $5 for all youth. Call 320-354-5894 .

Volunteer water monitors: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is recruiting volunteers to measure water clarity in numerous lakes and streams — including several high-priority sites in the Willmar area — and then report back to the agency. Volunteers do a simple water clarity test in a body of water twice a month during the summer. Lake monitors boat or paddle to a designated spot in the lake to check the clarity, while stream monitors record data from the stream bank or a bridge over it. All equipment and training is provided, no experience is needed. The program relies on the volunteers to help monitor Minnesota’s 12,000-plus lakes and 92,000-plus miles of streams. This is the perfect opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and those interested in helping protect the state’s natural resources. The MPCA uses the data to help determine whether lakes and streams are meeting water quality standards designed to protect aquatic life and recreational activities like fishing and swimming. In some cases, the information gathered by volunteers is the only monitoring done on a particular lake or stream.

Donna Middleton started working at the West Central Tribune in 1975 and has been the news assistant since 1992. She compiles the arts, health, farm and community page calendars, as well as rewrites and works on the special sections.
She can be contacted at dmiddleton@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4341.
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Dr. William F. "Billy" Holland Jr. is an ordained minister, community chaplain and author of the "Living on Purpose" faith column. He lives in central Kentucky with his wife, Cheryl.
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