Happy New Year! Join us as we embark on a year of transformative endeavors to reconnect food systems with ecosystems. Coming up in February, we are hosting and presenting at three events. See details and registration information below for our field day and conferences. Also in this newsletter, we introduce our newest team member, Courtney Tchida, and share an avian research project that is analyzing the impact of insectivorous birds on vineyard pests. Finally, in case you missed it, we showcase our 2023 Impact Report and the newest issue of Connecting With Wild Neighbors. We are so grateful for your support last year and we look forward to another year of growth and success. If you didn’t get a chance to donate in our year-end campaign, consider a donation to jump start our work together!
Enjoy this month’s News from the Wild Side!
King & King Ranch Field Day: Habitat, Beneficial Insects & Pollinators to Optimize Production
February 29, 2024 from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm
Join King & King Ranch and WFA out in the field in Fillmore, CA! The event will feature a bird walk, a series of talks given by growers, researchers and agricultural professionals, and a tour of a newly planted hedgerow, followed by lunch.
Tickets are $22 each, which includes lunch. Sliding scale options are available.
2024 California Plant and Soil Conference
WFA is participating in the California Plant and Soil Conference in Fresno, CA February 6-7. The conference promotes human welfare through sharing of scientific knowledge concerning the nature, use, improvement, and interrelationship of plants, soil, and the environment.
The annual conference provides an opportunity for students, professionals, and other attendees to increase their knowledge of current topics of agronomic importance. Many Certified Crop Advisors and Pest Control Advisors attend the conference to earn continuing education units that are important to their professional standing.
WFA’s Jo Ann Baumgartner will give a presentation on February 7 about why incorporating pollinator habitat on the farm not only helps with seed set but is crucial for effective IPM.
35th Annual Marbleseed Organic Farming Conference
Join WFA’s Shelly Connor and Courtney Tchida in La Crosse, Wisconsin February 22-24 for the Marbleseed Organic Farming Conference. This year’s theme is Roots and Rhizomes: Growing Together. The conference convenes farmers, researchers, and agriculture professionals to learn the latest organic production practices and build a supportive community of resilient organic, sustainable, and regenerative farms.
WFA will give a presentation called “Supporting Beneficial Birds with Habitat on the Farm to Increase Ecosystem Benefits” on February 23 with Joy Miller and Rufus Haucke from Keewaydin Farms and Driftless Curiosity.
WFA Welcomes New Team Member Courtney Tchida
Wild Farm Alliance has embarked on an inspiring new chapter by expanding our on-the-ground work into the Midwest. This strategic move reflects our commitment to fostering resilient and sustainable food systems across U.S. agricultural landscapes.
This month, we welcomed our new Midwest Program Associate, Courtney Tchida, to the team. Courtney brings over 20 years of experience as an organic farmer, community organizer, educator, researcher and collaborator. She played a pivotal role in founding and managing the Cornercopia Student Organic Farm at the University of Minnesota. While at the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, Courtney provided support to community gardeners, school gardens and growers across the region. She also co-created the MN SEED Project to help connect people to free, locally adapted, native seeds. Throughout her career Courtney has actively engaged with interns, volunteers and youth programs, dedicated to imparting knowledge about farming and the environmental stewardship to the next generation.
Researchers Assess Avian Pest Management in Vineyards
This recently released graphic showcases an ongoing project to assess the role of insectivorous birds in pest management for vineyards. Use the QR code to see an interactive map of some of the tracked birds. WFA will be helping with additional outreach once results have been analyzed, including a field day this summer. Stay tuned!
WFA’s 2023 Impact Report
If you haven’t had a chance to review our 2023 Impact Report yet, take a look! The report outlines the work we did together: we expanded our work to the Upper Midwest, added more staff members and reached tens of thousands with educational events and resources. We are beyond grateful for your support in helping to foster this incredible growth and to join us in bringing nature back to our farms and ranches.
Connecting with Wild Neighbors: Striped Skunks
Distinguished by their striking black and white patterns, fluffy tails, and unsteady gait, skunks are readily identifiable. Of course, they are best known for their notorious odor.
What you might not know is that they are great foragers of insect pests like grubs, beetles and caterpillars and are excellent hunters of rats and mice. This makes skunks important pest control allies!
Learn more about skunks and how to successfully co-exist in our newest issue of Connecting with Wild Neighbors.
We Can’t Do This Without You!
Thank you to those who support, sponsor, and engage with Wild Farm Alliance! All of our work is made possible by you, from hosting educational field days to installing habitat for beneficial birds and natural enemies. Please consider making a gift to WFA so we can continue to work with farmers to support nature and grow change!