COLDWATER — two major events are at hand that speak to the rural nature of Branch County; Farmer’s Day on Monday and the Branch County Conservation District’s annual meeting and Expo on March 3. The district asks that all who plan to attend the meeting and Expo reserve a spot by contacting District Manager Kathy Worst by Feb. 23 at (517) 278-2725, extension 5.
While there is no charge for admission for Farmer’s Day, the Conservation District is asking for a donation of $8 per adult and $2 per child to help cover refreshments, lunch and the program.
Farmer’s Day events will be held at the Branch Area Careers Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday.
Vendor booths will be open the duration of the event with morning sessions running from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and afternoon sessions from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Lunch will be serves at 11:30 a.m. for $3 per person. The event guest speaker this year will be Dr. Ray Guarendi with “The Sanity of Family.”
More information on the Farmers Day schedule is available through the local Michigan State University Extension.
For those interested in environmental matters, the lineup of speakers at the Conservation Expo includes Greg Willis of the Michigan Beekeeper Association and JoAnne Foremen of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, who will be speaking about “invasive species on your landscape.”
The Michigan Beekeepers Association, a supporter of Michigan bees and beekeepers, is the oldest operating agricultural organization in as well as one of the oldest beekeeping clubs in the United States. It works closely with researchers and policymakers to promote proper husbandry.
Erick Elgin of the MSU Extension will discuss “the management of aquatic plants, a holistic approach.”
With the district’s annual tree and shrub sale underway, Andy Hendrickson, a State Forester, will speak on which trees and shrubs are good for planting projects.
Nate Simon of Blue Heron Ministries will speak on “benefits of prescribed fire – why burn?”
Blue Heron focuses on the “lake country ecoregion,” spanning northeast Indiana, parts of northwest Ohio and south-central and southwest Michigan.
Meri Bryant of U.S. Fish and Wildlife will return to the Expo to talk about the creation and management of wildlife and farmland ponds.
Lastly, Ken Kesson, an area biologist with the Michigan DNR, will bring information on farmland wildlife management challenges and opportunities.
The annual meeting board elections will run from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and while the district has been saying a fond farewell to long time Board Vice Chairperson Mary Ellen Newton, up for board elections are Diana Lutz and Bing Johnson, who has been working for many years with the BACC envirothon.
Lutz is an accomplished birder who has also worked as a naturalist for Pokagon State Park, holding a degree in horticulture and a Masters degree in zoology from MSU.
Farm Bill Biologist Tyler Tankersley will not be at the event, as he has taken a position in the Upper Peninsula, being replaced by Lindsay Morrison, a graduate of Central Michigan University with a bachelor degree in biology and natural resources and a minor in geographic information sciences.
She has served as a wildlife assistant for the Michigan DNR and has also worked as an AmeriCorps member for the MDNR in Gladwin. She interned at Seney National Wildlife refuge and can be reached by phone at the district offices or by email at email@example.com.