Awards
Joseph Yanez Wins Conservation Award

Joseph Yanez-Perez Wins Conservation Award

JosephTamika Brooks, senior at Quinter High School, competed against Joseph Yanez-Perez, senior at Golden Plains High School, at the regional conservation speech competition held at Oakley USDA office on Wednesday November 6th. Joseph placed 1st and Tamika was the runner up. This is the first regional competition that conservation District 1 has had. "I came in kind of nervous, but when I was called in I became confident and everything went very smoothly. I believe this is what lead me to win." - Joseph. He is excited to present at the state competition November 25th in Wichita at the annual state Conservation Conference. 
Below is Joseph's Letter to the Editor Dear Editor,

I am a student at USD 316 Golden Plains HS. Our speech class has been researching watersheds for an upcoming conservation speech. I would like to inform you and your readers about the importance of our watersheds and what you can do to help the conservation effort. 

Watersheds are basically anything that water touches before draining into a common waterway; so in essence, everything is part of the watershed system! Indirect contamination, or nonpoint pollution, is one of the most significant threats to waterways and aquatic ecosystems. An example of this is stormwater runoff. When it storms or rains, the water goes through the watershed and picks up contaminants, pollutants, and soil. According to Stacie Minson, a KSU watershed specialist, trash like diapers on the streets and parking lots are a big problem in towns because they get into the waterways when the rain picks them up. If the water runoff isn’t filtered or treated, these pollutants would go directly into our waterways. Pretty gross, huh? 

As we all know, agriculture is one of our primary sources of income, so we have pollution like pesticides, fertilizers, and animal waste that can get into our waterways. Problems that can result from not keeping our watersheds healthy include the loss of habitats, invasive species appearing, worsening water problems, and climate change. But what can we do to avoid these things from happening?

Water our lawns wisely, especially when we use pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. When you are farming or gardening, make sure that you use herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers sparingly and intelligently. Do not over-fertilize and do not water directly after applying chemicals. An undeniable way to help our watershed is not to dump anything into storm drains, and remember, your trash on the street ends up in our water! There are other simple things that we can do out in our yard like pick up and dispose of animal waste properly. If we don’t pay attention and let pet waste accumulate, then it could become a big problem.  Lastly, those of us who have wells on our land should contact your local conservation office to have them check your water because not checking it can directly affect the health of you and your family.

Creating these small changes in your life will create a big change in our waterways and future! Thank you. 

Sincerely,

Joseph Yanez-Perez