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NRCS participates in Amarillo Earth Fest Celebration

NRCS participates in Amarillo Earth Fest Celebration

Story by Kirk Whitehead and Quenna Terry

The 4th annual Earth Day Festival was held on April 17th at Wildcat Bluff Nature Center in Amarillo. Even with unusually wet and cold weather, the event was well attended by 1,400 people of all ages.

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, who is celebrating their 75th anniversary, was one of many participants providing education on the importance of conserving natural resources. Urban residents gained a better understanding for how the agency is helping people help the land through professional land management services.
Co-sponsored by Xcel Energy, Pantex, Allied Waste and Wildcat Bluff, the Earth Fest celebration was an opportunity for the public to see what steps major businesses in the area are taking to protect the environment and ensure sustainable resources for future generations.

Backyard conservation and native plants for wildlife were some of the hot topics of the day. Many residents wanted to learn more about the proper steps for small landowners to execute sound conservation practices on minimal acreages.

Residents were interested in conservation planning opportunities to reach their conservation goals working through the local soil and water conservation districts (SWCS) and the NRCS� technical assistance program for addressing natural resource concerns, including soil erosion, water quality and quantity, overgrazed pastures and air quality.

With the help of NRCS, conservation planning education allows farmers, ranchers and small landowners to make more effective decisions based on sound conservation planning principles and plans.

NRCS staff explained that by working with private landowners, the general public gains direct benefits of conservation that affects everyone in the Panhandle region and in other areas of the state.

According to NRCS in Texas, the state�s natural resources have improved due to conservation practices such as crop rotation, terraces, waterways, windbreaks, wetland restoration, no-till farming, buffers, watershed dams, rangeland management, ponds, nutrient and pest management, to name a few.

Technical assistance through the NRCS is free of charge to all landowners regardless of the number of acres involved. Many customers contact the local NRCS and soil and water conservation districts because they want professional advice for managing the natural resources on their land. While conservation cost-share can be beneficial, it serves no purpose without conservation technical assistance.

Wildcat Bluff Nature Center was opened in 1992 and annually hosts around 15,000 visitors. The center has an extensive network of hiking trails and various native reptiles and insects on display for visitors to learn about. Situated in the southern part of Potter County, the Nature Center is a perfect location to educate youth on the proper identification and usefulness of plants, animals and other natural resources in this part of the state.

Other participants at the event were; High Plains Food Bank Garden, Natural Grocers and Texas Master Naturalists.

Rhoda Breeden, supervisor at the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, organized the Earth Fest event to bring people together from the community to learn about environmental issues and the actions they can take to become better stewards of the environment.

Earth Fest activities were setup throughout the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center.
Rhoda Breeden, supervisor at the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, organized the Earth Fest event to bring people together from the community to learn about environmental issues and the actions they can take to become better stewards of the environment. Earth Fest activities were setup throughout the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center.
 
The public had the opportunity walk around the site to educational booths offering information on energy conservation, clean air, clean water, recycling, and more. NRCS participated in the 4th Annual Earth Fest celebration in Amarillo and provided a hands-on soils learning station and more.
The public had the opportunity walk around the site to educational booths offering information on energy conservation, clean air, clean water, recycling, and more. NRCS participated in the 4th Annual Earth Fest celebration in Amarillo and provided a hands-on soils learning station and more.