This week in Wise County, blueberry farmers have been super busy. This is because some berries are ripe enough to pick. With this being said, a local farmer allowed us and some Master Gardeners to pick blueberries for ourselves. Furthermore, we learned about the different types of blueberries and how each had a unique flavor. Also, he had bird netting all the way around his field of blueberries to keep unwanted animals out. This seemed to work well for him. However, some brave deer still try to find their way in. Additionally, we picked our own berries and had plenty to take home. I am sure that most people shared with family and friends because we had so many. Overall, I enjoyed meeting new farmers in the community and building connections with people in the Master Gardener Association through this gathering. 

Grow Wise Program

As a summer intern, I have had the opportunity to meet individuals in the Grow Wise program, which is funded through Grow Appalachia. This program provides garden help and advice for people enrolled. Furthermore, all people in this program farm organically and are required to turn in harvest reports each year. With this being said, this week we had a meeting at a local farm store. In fact, I presented on the topic of bee decline and we had a weed identification activity for them to participate in. Also, we gave out prizes to individuals who correctly named the most weeds. I enjoyed this meeting and found that is was very educational and fun. I am happy that we were able to come together as a group and interact with one another.  

Animal Biodiversity and Wildlife Conservation

For the past couple of weeks, I have made some educational videos for the Wise County Extension’s YouTube page. Recently, the topic of one video was animal biodiversity and wildlife conservation. So, what does biodiversity mean? Basically, it is the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and other organisms that make up our natural world. Wildlife Conservation, on the other hand, is the practice of protecting plant and animal species and their habitats. With this being said, a part of my video was an interview with a local farmer that has had a decrease in deer population over the past few years. He found out that the population has suffered from bluetongue disease. This disease is vectored through a midge and spreads rapidly throughout a population. Currently, the deer are still recovering and the population is increasing little by little. Here is the link to the video to find out more about animal biodiversity and wildlife conservation: