June 2021 EBCI Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Newsletter

— Written By Benjamin Collette
en Español / em Português

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Here is the June edition of our Agriculture and Natural Resources newsletter! See the images below.

Moles and Voles, Oh My! — Written By Rob Hawk and updated by Melissa Vaughn and Chumper Walker   Woodland or Pine Vole   rodent   Voles eat roots from garden vegetables, bulbs, and bark. You most likely deal with pine and meadow voles. Meadow voles spend most of their time above ground while pine/woodland voles are more burrow dwelling and usually have an extensive subsurface trail system that is excavated about 1 to 2 inches deep. These burrows open to the surface and often connect to above-ground runways. These burrows are small since voles are the size of plump mice. They can be a serious outdoor pest, damaging the root system on many landscape and garden plants or even girdling trees when feeding on their bark. The best way to control a vole epidemic is to set large spring loaded mice traps baited with apple slices or peanut butter near the tunnels. You can also discourage voles from invading your yard by keeping the grass mowed short and reducing the amount of thatch in the lawn. There are also poisons that can be used to kill voles but one must consider potential risks with pets, children, or non-target animals. Read the label in its entirety before using any vole poison products to avoid illegal usage and/or unintended harms. Mole   Moles have large paddle-like forefeet used for digging. Image by Michael David Hill, Wikimedia   Moles eat insects, worms, and other invertebrates living in your soil. Moles are not considered rodents. The tell-tale sign of moles is the visible ridges that are seen as a result of tunneling in the lawn. There is a tendency to try to control moles by applying grub killer to your lawn. Sometimes this isn’t a recommended approach since moles eat more than just grubs. The star-nosed mole, found mostly in the mountains and coastal plains, is listed as a NC Special Concern Specie and is protected by law. Reference NC law 15A NCAC 10B .0106 WILDLIFE TAKEN FOR DEPREDATIONS, found on the NCDA website for more info. The eastern mole and the hairy-tailed mole are under consideration for designation as pests. Currently, the use of poison is not labeled for moles in North Carolina. A easy control method is to simply put on your heavy boots and stomp on the ridge tunnels to flatten them. In the meantime, trapping is the recommended avenue for mole control. Article submitted by Chumper Walker, EBCI N.C. Cooperative Extension Director   Original Article by Rob Hawk, Swain and Jackson County NCCE Director

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Greeting’s EBCI Community the following is an update on the Tribal Natural Resources Office current and on-going forestry related projects. We have completed year three of Sochan harvest in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We filled all 36 permits this year and continue to learn on how we can continue to improve this unique government to government relationship. Thank You to all who participated this year, and we hope to hear more from you in the future. In relation to this culturally significant plant initiative, we continue to expand or traditional relationship to lands that we once occupied. These efforts include establishing opportunities with National Forest districts within the region for Tribal influenced management on the National Forest Lands. Such forest products as materials used for baskets are being prioritized from the artisan community for access and management. We continue to assist in the possessory holder land scape on the boundary for timber harvest procedures as we hope to increase improvement of logging operations. To date we have a standing contract to eradicate invasive plants on one parcel holder prior to harvest. This treatment will help mitigate the transport and presence of invasives as the logging operation gets under way. As we explore on how to improve the over all practices of forest management, we are also implementing what forest management meant to us historically as Cherokee. An example of this is the use of fire in our forested landscape as a management tool. The BIA Fire Management Officer is on board with the efforts to place fire back in our landscape and is providing good information on how this objective can be done to improve forest health. For the sake of time and scape that concludes this report. For more information and questions please contact The Office of Natural Resources. SGI,   Tommy Cabe    Forest Resource Specialist


It is canning season! So, whether you are new to canning or have been canning for years, there are a few things to remember before starting home food preservation. As you begin planning your canning projects, remember that low acid foods such as vegetables and meats need to be processed in a pressure canner. If you are planning to use a pressure canner with a dial gauge, it is important to get your gauge inspected for accuracy before you begin canning low acid foods. If you use a weighted gauge canner, these canners are designed to maintain accuracy over time and do not need to be tested. So, why is it important to have your pressure dial gauge tested? Handling, use and storage of the canner can affect the accuracy of the gauge and eventually the safety of the food you want to preserve. Research-based recipes for low acid foods are tested for specific times and temperatures of food items required to kill harmful bacteria and spores that produces toxins that can lead to illness or even death. If the pressure on the dial is lower than the recommended pressure, the internal temperature of the food will reach the temperature needed to destroy harmful bacteria or toxins produced by spores. However, if the dial gauge is processing at a higher temperature than the recommendation, the food may become overcooked and affect the quality of the food item. Dial gauge testing can be done at the Extension office. If you would like to set up an appointment to have your pressure dial gauge tested, please call the Cooperative Extension office at 359-6937 to set up a time to have your gauge tested.


Horticulture Office Updates   The month of May at the Horticulture Office was for stickball. Hickory trees are an important native plant species that serve an important ecological role in the landscape of the Qualla Boundary, but they also play an important role in Cherokee culture. As stickball season kicks off there is always a need for more sticks, and as more men have begun to play stickball, and hickory populations have declined, there could be a potential void in artisan resources. The Horticulture Office began growing hickory trees two years ago to giveaway to the stickball teams for plantings in their respected communities and sites. The hope for this project was to increase the hickory population on the Qualla Boundary for artisan resources, ecological restoration, and seed banking. Through a partnership with the NC Wildlife Federation, the Horticulture Office was able to donate mockernut (Carya tomentosa) and shagbark (Carya ovata), to all the stickball teams to plant at respected sites of their choosing. We want to express our gratitude to the NC Wildlife Federation for their willingness to assist with this project and for the purchase of the trees. Seed banking is an increased interest and need for cultural preservation on the Qualla Boundary. While there are many types of seed banks that have many different purposes, the Horticulture Office is working to develop a living seed bank. A living seed bank for the office means that the material in the seed bank will be used for propagation, community giveaways, and educational outreach. The seed bank for example will be able to hold native plant materials collected on tribal lands that then can be grown out in the Jessie Owle Dugan Native Plant & Greenhouse Facility. It will also include cultivated crops such as White Flour Corn, Cherokee Tan Pumpkins, October Beans, and will be very much like the work Mr. Kevin Welch accomplished over the years with his original seed bank initiatives. It is important to grow these crops on a consistent basis to keep them alive. We hope through this work that many traditional foods can be revitalized and more readily available in the Cherokee community, as well as to encourage new and young tribal farmers to participate in the production of these culturally valuable foods. We are excited to announce that our monarch habitat project is continuing this year. A partnership with BASF-Living Acres led to the donation of 890 milkweed transplants, 6 different native milkweed species, that will be installed in the Natural Resources field at Kituwah, for the creation of monarch butterfly habitat. We also plan to expand out into the community this year with plantings at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and at the community clubs. In the fall of the year the Qualla Boundary is located along the “Butterfly Highway”, an annual migration route of monarch butterflies from the eastern United States and Canada to Mexico. If you have any questions for the Horticulture Office, please contact the Horticulture Operations Supervisor David Anderson at his office 828-359-6099, or cell 828-788-3960, or by email at daviande@nc-cherokee.com.


Dr. Gary Bachmann with Mississippi State University Extension says ‘Like many home gardeners, I used to put plants in my landscape without worrying about labels because I was sure I’d remember what was planted where. And like most of you, I would end up scratching my head wondering what I had planted where. Source: Homemade Plant Tags Give Gardens Personality Spring is already here! Blackberry winter will soon pass and it will be time to plant our summer gardens. Engaging the children in your family in planning the garden will give them ownership and make them more likely to see the garden through to the harvest. One way to have kids help with the garden planning is to create plant signs in English and Cherokee! Here are some great resources from the Internet to use recycled and low-cost items to create kid-friendly plant signs for your garden. Happy crafting and gardening! Use canning lids  Use scrap wood or wood blocks Use old metal spoons  Use tree branches Use painted rocks  Use paint sticks from the hardware store Below is a list of common crops found in Cherokee family gardens and other useful garden words in English, Cherokee phonetics, and Cherokee syllabary provided by the team at the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program. Read more at: https://ebci.ces.ncsu.edu/2020/04/get-kids-excited-about-gardening-by-making-plant-signs-in-english-and-cherokee/


Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers that the deadline to report planting of corn, soybeans, and most fruit and vegetable crops, and to report hay and grazing land, is July 15th, 2021. Please contact us as soon as you are done planting to ensure your crop report is filed timely.
Also, the deadline for trout producers to sign up for 2022 coverage under the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) is September 30th, 2021. FSA reminds all farmers with NAP coverage to report any crop damage or losses within 72 hours of the loss being apparent. Notices of loss can be filed by contacting your FSA office.
Finally, please maintain accurate livestock records, including records of purchase, sale, and births. These records will be helpful if a livestock producer has a weather-related livestock loss, for which assistance is available through the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). Please document any losses with photographs and receipts for burial/disposal expenses, and immediately report the loss to your FSA office.
The FSA office at 100 Brendle Street in Bryson City is open by appointment Thursdays and Fridays from 8:00 to 4:30, and can be reached at (828) 488-2684, extension 2. Mondays through Wednesdays, FSA can be reached in the Franklin office, at (828) 524-3175, extension 2 or in Murphy Monday thru Friday from 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. at 828-837-2721 Extension 2.