The site for a Great Plains Windbreak Renovation and Innovation Conference, July 24-26, will be the International Peace Garden -- a 2,339-acre botanical garden, memorial, conference center and tourist destination on the border between North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba.
Conference hosts are the Plains and Prairie Forestry Association and an array of North American national and provincial/state forestry agencies. The three-day event is open to anyone interested in the topic.
"To lead the discussions and field tour, we're bringing together experts with both technical expertise and years of experience. They'll address current and future needs, the issues involved, and windbreaks' ability to be multifunctional. The event's learning and sharing will also speak to innovation in windbreak design and management," said Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator for the Kansas Forest Service, host partner based at Kansas State University.
Since early settlers began planting trees, windbreaks have been an integral part of Great Plains conservation and quality of life, Atchison said. They've helped reduce wind- and water-caused soil erosion. They've increased wildlife habitat and general biodiversity. They've lessened the effects Plains winds can have on people, their homes, roads, livestock and crops during blizzard-prone winters and searing summer weather.
"Since then, researchers have been finding more and more ways in which windbreaks affect our well-being," he added. "The plantings can be vital in preserving waterways and in reducing both air and water pollution. They can have a real impact on agriculture's bottom line. They nearly always reduce our energy use. They even absorb carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we animals need to survive."
To register or learn more about the Great Plains Windbreak Renovation and Innovation Conference, interested persons can visit the website at www.unl.edu/nac/renovation.htm or contact Rich Straight at 402-437-5178, ext. 4024. More about the International Peace Garden is at http://www.peacegarden.com/.
(File art of International Peace Garden should be out there somewhere)