Located in International Falls, MN, Koochiching Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) strives to serve the public when it comes to natural resources education. It is, in fact, in our mission statement! “The mission of the Koochiching SWCD is to conserve and protect the soil and water resources by educating and assisting land users in Koochiching County in being good stewards of the land and its natural resources.”

And who are these land users, you might ask? Anyone who lives or recreates within Koochiching County boundaries! That being said, we work to diversify our efforts in the same way that our population is diverse. This means conservation practice workshops, hosting public watershed participation meetings, and youth education!

Spring is our busiest education season. This is the time when we host watershed health updates for five different watersheds within our county boundaries and ask the public for input. We like to hold in-person workshops, with recent topics surrounding how to remove European Buckthorn from your property and forest stewardship programs available to you. In youth education, we have staff on the Area VIII Envirothon planning committee and assist teachers in getting teams set up. We love participating in school events such as Environmental Education Days (a county-wide event for all 5th graders), classroom visits by teacher request, and one of our favorite events, drain stencil painting!

We don’t do this work alone. Our natural resources don’t know political boundaries, therefore our education doesn’t know boundaries either. We partner with neighboring counties, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, and of course our friends in Canada on a regular basis! This not only makes us stronger in our message, but allows us to pool our resources.

For more information, contact Jolen Simon, Program Coordinator at   jolen.simon@co.koochiching.mn.us

Photo: Indus School students learn how natural filtration works during an education booth with Koochiching SWCD