Last year we celebrated 50 years of water quality improvements for the Cuyahoga River and last week we celebrated 50 years of Earth Day and we also we celebrated Arbor Day. This week, conservation districts across the country are celebrating Stewardship Week.

Stewardship Week provides opportunities for thousands of dedicated conservationists to organize outreach events and educational learning experiences for students and adults in order to increase awareness about the importance of natural resource conservation. During Stewardship Week, local conservation districts educate the public on the importance of soil health, water quality, pollinator habitat and other conservation topics. Classroom activities, field visits and community events are usually hosted to honor and recognize efforts in conservation at the local level. But, sadly, not this year.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly limited the capability of the Cuyahoga SWCD staff to offer school programs and conservation projects in the public arena, it has not limited the staff’s enthusiasm or desire to spread the conservation message. Over these last few weeks, the staff has been hard at work developing programs, videos, contests and challenges for the public.

The native plant of the day campaign is underway, this year’s poster contest winners have been selected, the new Master Rain Gardeners class is ready to go, we participated in Arbor Day activities and our Stormwater Program staff is continuing to ensure that active construction sites are implementing pollution prevention best practices.

The signs of spring are all around us: A bald eagle soaring above the Shaker Lakes, Peregrine Falcons building nests in the city, the return of the early migrant birds, a smattering of small butterflies at the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, spring flowers in the forests and in our yards and newly planted trees that are beginning to bud. More importantly, humans are coming out of winter hibernation, albeit with some pandemic era best practices in place.

So, during this this strange time, what will you do for Stewardship Week? Why not try at least one Individual Act of Conservation. Plant a rain garden, create a pollinator pathway, feed the birds, plant a tree, ditch the straw, compost or help pick up litter. Or you can “like” us on Facebook and share our posts with your friends! There are so many ways to get involved.

As Spring blends into Summer, keep your eye on our website. The Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District has advocated for conservation of our natural resources for more than 70 years. No matter that it was a subdued Earth Day and it will be an entirely different type of Stewardship Week, conservation always matters and never goes out of style. The SWCD finds joy in our efforts, so we will continue to bring conservation programs to you in any way possible. Stay well!.

Blog author: Janine Rybka, Director

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