What do you do all winter?

Not gonna lie, we get asked that a lot! In the summer, we spend as much time as we possibly can out in the field doing site visits, planting trees or native seed or installing shoreline buffers, and as soon as the ground freezes we all get mopey and stare out the window wishing for a longer fall. But winter isn’t that slow and boring for us at the Soil and Water! Winter gives us a chance to catch up on all the things that fall by the wayside when the weather starts to warm up in the spring!

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What do we do all winter?

What do we do all winter?

March 16, 2020 by

What do you do all winter?

Not gonna lie, we get asked that a lot! In the summer, we spend as much time as we possibly can out in the field doing site visits, planting trees or native seed or installing shoreline buffers, and as soon as the ground freezes we all get mopey and stare out the window wishing for a longer fall. But winter isn’t that slow and boring for us at the Soil and Water! Winter gives us a chance to catch up on all the things that fall by the wayside when the weather starts to warm up in the spring!

Winter is a time to look back at the impact all of our projects have on the environment. Every shoreline project installed over the year is run through a pollution reduction calculator, which tells us how much phosphorus and nitrogen is saved from going into the lake, and we report back on the cost share dollars we used from the state.

But winter is also a time to look forward. Before the ground freezes we get all of our shoreline site visits done, during which we look at any resource concerns and measure up the potential planting area. In the winter we can sit down with the snow flying outside our window and pick out the plants we want there, what erosion control materials might be needed, and how much this is all going to cost. On a day that is hopefully not snowing too much, we meet with the landowners and paint them an image of what their shoreline could look like once it gets planted, and the images of summertime and blooming flowers and fluttering butterflies is enough to get us through the days when the windchill is cold enough to freeze your eyelids shut.

We take advantage of the slower days of winter to meet with our local farmers, sharing what we’ve done in the past year and what we hope to do in the coming. We share the most up-to-date research on best management practices and ways to build soil health, so that our farmers are ready to take on the newest technologies and management practices, all while conserving soil and water and at the same time increasing productivity.

And we attend meetings ourselves, making sure we stay up-to-date with the newest conservation technologies and managements practices, learning new skills that make us a better resource to our community.

For us, winter is a time of planning, designing, informing, and dreaming. Of those warmer days, of being by the lake or in the fields, of watching the native plants or the crops grow, of spending altogether too much time on the tractor. We take this time to reset, to look back, and to look ahead. And while you might think we don’t do much in the winter, don’t worry, we keep ourselves busy (and we drink plenty of coffee while doing it).

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