Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 Archaeofest at Brushy Lake

Here's a short video from the 2010 Archaeofest held at Brushy Lake in the Bankhead National Forest.  Despite the threat of rain, many exhibitors and participants showed up to enjoy this event.  Jean Allan, District Archaeologist, the Bankhead National Forest staff, and scores of volunteers pitched in to host a successful family-friendly event.

Photos have been posted here from this year's Archaeofest.

The Winston County Natural Resources Council was one of the sponsors of the event, providing the food and refreshments at no cost to participants.

Four New Cost-Share Practices Announced by Winston County Soil and Water Conservation District

Dianne Godsey, District Administrative Coordinator with the Winston County Soil and Water Conservation District, said that four new cost-share practices have been approved for Winston County landowners.  These new practices are Treatment of Invasive Species such as privet and kudzu, Plastic Culture for Vegetable Crops, Feral Hog Trap, and Treatment of Poultry Litter with Alum.  All of the practices have a 60% cost-share rate, meaning that 60% of the cost of implementing the practice is covered by the Soil and Water Conservation District and 40% is paid by the landowner.  Call Dianne Godsey at (205) 489-5227 for details about these new practices.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cattle Poisoned by Perilla Mint

I have gotten a number of calls about cattle being poisoned by perilla mint.  Dr. David Tyree, veterinarian and owner of Animal Health Services in Addison, told me that he knows of over 130 head of cattle that have been killed by perilla mint poisoning in this area.  Dr. Tyree said the symptoms of perilla mint poisoning are pneumonia, difficulty breathing, drooling, nasal discharge, and grunting upon exhaling.   He added that treatment is difficult and often unsuccessful.  Perilla mint is poisonous to cattle, goats, sheep, and horses.

The drought that we are experiencing is a major factor in the severity of this problem this year.  The plant is always present on Winston County farms, but the drought has driven the cattle to feed on this plant even though it is unpalatable.  Other poisonous plants may also become a problem if the drought continues.
We have a publication about perilla mint that is available free of charge by calling our office at (205) 489-5376 or by visiting our office in the John Nichols Building in Double Springs.

Mr. John Sudduth, a Winston County cattleman, explains how to identify perilla mint in this video that we made in a Winston County pasture.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September Council Meeting

LaVerne Matheson, President of WCSLAI, presents the
Council with a $1,000 check to support the FAWN
program for Winston County sixth graders.

The Winston County Natural Resources Council met at the U. S. Forest Service Building on September 16th.  Present at the meeting were:  Jim Hughes, John Creed, Charlie Meek, Allison Cochran, LaVerne Matheson, Tom Counts, Mike Henshaw, and Stephanie Love.  Chris Wright, Chairman, called the meeting to order.  The following topics were discussed:
  • Wildfire conditions in the area are a concern with the recent dry weather.  Chris and Allison reported on two recent wildfires.
  • Chris said that Johnna Franks is recouperating well, and hopes to be back to work on light duty soon.
  • Treasurer's Report-Current account balance is $9,725.
  • T-Shirts for the FAWN program have been ordered.  This will be an increased cost for the FAWN program this year.
  • Discussed having a tour of the Old Log Jail for the students from Lynn and Meek this year.  There are several individuals in the community that could be recruited to speak to the students.
  • The FAWN program was discussed at length.  Several changes were made to the program, and a tentative program for the October 13-14 dates will be sent to members soon.  The walk-thru for FAWN will be held on October 12, at 9:00 a.m. at Houston Recreation Area.
  • The Archaeofest 2010 will be held at Brushy Lake on Saturday, September 25th.  The WCNRC approved $350 for food for the event.  WCNRC members are encouraged to attend and assist with the program.
  • Allison said that the Forest Service will be sponsoring a Hunter Education Class on October 18, 19, and 21.  Participants must register online at
  • There will be a Fire Prevention Day at Houston on October 2nd.
  • Tom Counts reported on the Alabama Prescribed Fire Council Meeting in Eufaula.  He noted that there were over 400 applications for the new program to promote prescribed fire. 
  • LaVerne reported on the recent Smith Lake Clean-Up that Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Inc. (WCSLAI) conducted.  He said that Smith Lake was free from styrofoam from Duncan Bridge north.  He added that since the clean-ups had begun, over 170 tri-axle dumptruck loads of styrofoam had been removed from the lake, and over 130 abandoned boat houses had been removed.  LaVerne also stated that WCSLAI had made good progress on the signage for the tributaries on Smith Lake.  He said that one of their directors, Tom Grubbs, had been working very hard on that project.  LaVerne added that WCSLAI would also provide coloring books to all Winston County students in K-3rd grade, which would include about 1,400 students.  He gave us an update on the Rock Creek Watershed Grant and the PowerPoint Slide Presentation on Water Quality.
  • LaVerne also brought a $1,000 check from WCSLAI to be used for the FAWN program.  
  • Charlie gave us an update on the Pulling Together Initiative Grant to control invasive alien plants like privet and kudzu.  He said the final version of the grant would be submitted at the end of the month.  If funded, several sites will be selected for these demonstrations.
  • Charlie noted that the Winston County Assign-A-Highway program has been funded for another year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Visit National Timber Tax Website

Visit the National Timber Tax Website where Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for Tax Year 2010 will be posted soon.
This website offers information for timberland owners on the tax treatment of timber related activities.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 Archaeofest to be held at Brushy Lake on September 25th

Youth search for artifacts at an archaeological site
near Brushy Lake.

The USDA Forest Service, along with several national, state and local partners, is hosting an archaeology festival called “Archaeofest” in the Bankhead National Forest. The theme for Archaeofest 2010 is “Celebrating Our Heritage.” The free, public event is focused on people of the past and the things they left behind. “Living history” demonstrations will include civil war soldiers and civilians, Southeastern Indians, pioneer skills and even a bagpiper musician. Activities and exhibits are family oriented and will include a small working archaeological excavation, pottery and arrowhead making. Their will be learning stations on “What Can We Learn From Bones,” rock art and cave archaeology, as well as information about local history and Cherokee genealogy. Kids will enjoy Smokey Bear and Indiana Jones, and a free hot dog lunch will be provided. Please bring your lawn chair or blanket. The Archaeofest will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, September 25, 2010. Rainout date will be Saturday, October 9, at the same time. The Archaeofest will be held at Brushy Lake Campground Day Use Area. (Directions: From Alabama Highway 33, take paved Lawrence County Road 70 to Brushy Lake Campground.)  For more information, call Jean Allan at (205) 489-5111.