“How Soil Conservation Benefits My Community” by Joella Craft. Miss Craft, a sophomore in the Whitesburg High School, won second place in the recent Soil Conservation Essay Contest.
My home is situated in the grand old hills of Eastern Kentucky. God has bountifully supplied this region with scenic beauty and natural resources, and we must preserve these assets to prevent their becoming extinct.
The people in my community take advantage of one great source put here for our convenience — coal — Letcher County’s black gold.
Millstone is one of several coal-mining communities in Letcher County; therefore, many of the citizens dig and blast a living from the depths of these great mountains.
But, here, as every other place, there are people who must make a living by other means. In my community, this means is farming, an occupation handed down by our ancestors.
My ancestors reared large families and lived well by farming, but that was when the soil was young and capable of producing large crops.
Soil is the world’s greatest natural resource. Through carelessness, we have allowed this great resource to die. Not a death as we might participate in, but a death of erosion.
There are three types of erosion, but only sheet erosion and gully erosion prevail in my community.
In some places in my community, the soil is so badly eroded that only bare rocks stare through the earth’s surface.
This type of erosion is sheet erosion, and it is caused by water flowing down a slope. As the water progresses toward the foot of the slope, it sweeps away the topsoil leaving only bare rocks to mar my community’s scenic beauty.
Another type of erosion my community contends with is gully erosion. This soil menace is the result of water rushing down a slope. As the water rushes toward the foot of the slope, it cuts great gashes in the soil. If nothing is done about this, these gullies soon fill with water, and this presents another problem.
In my community, two farmers, Jesse S. Holbrook and Ben E. Craft, are to be commended for the great steps they have taken toward preventing these wastes of soil.
Their methods are sod crops used for grazing and a new one, reforestation. Besides these, there are many other ways of preventing to anchor the soil.
If a grass crop were sown after the regular crop has been harvested, sheep and cattle could be grazed, and the fattened livestock could be sold regularly at the stock market in our county. In this way, grazing would be very valuable.
When the first settlers came to Millstone, the forests were dense, and all forms of wildlife abided there in safety.
Today, a great portion of the woodlands has been cleared away. A new program, reforestation, has been introduced into Letcher County. Twenty-three people have purchased 87,500 seedling trees to replenish these barren spots in our forests.
The two farmers previously mentioned have bought trees to plant in my community.
Reforestation is a great conservation agent as it conserves both soil and water. By proper management, it can become a very valuable future asset. Trees planted today may enable us to obtain an education for our children.
By thinning our trees regularly, we can have a steady source of revenue, because there are conveniently located sawmills throughout the county that are constantly in need of good timber.
Every year, floods take their toll in my community. We lose many material things, but our greatest loss is the fertile topsoil of our bottomland.
My community is fairly level; therefore, a great part of it is under water every year when heavy spring rains fall.
As the water recedes it carries away the fertile topsoil of our bottomland. The river flows on downstate, and there this topsoil is deposited for the benefit of the tobacco growers.
How can this be conquered?
Everyone in my community must participate in a program to prevent erosion, damage done by floods.
Careful selection and cultivation of crops would help greatly. Planting coverage crops in the winter would banish much erosion.
Among the methods of farming that would help erase erosion and damage done by floods are: contour cultivation, strip-cropping, and land drainage.
Certain parts of my community stand under water after very light rains. This could be erased from the scenery by building fishponds in these areas. Besides being attractive, fishponds afford a great sport — a sport that the fishermen of my community are seeking elsewhere.
The youth in my community are sadly in need of a recreational center. Much of our leisure time could be centered around a 4-H club. In a 4-H club, we could practice conservation. Not only soil conservation, but conservation of all of our natural resources.
Besides spending our leisure time profitably, we would be paying tribute to this great state of Kentucky.
Football to get underway tomorrow night in county
Letcher County pigskin enthusiasts will have a busy and observing weekend as two of the major high school teams will play.
Whitesburg will play Prestonsburg Friday night as well as dedicate the new stadium that has been completed this summer. Supt. Dave L. Craft, Kenneth Boggs, and others will be speakers for the occasion.
The new stadium will seat about twelve hundred and was erected by the Athletic Association with contractor Joe Romeo in charge of construction.
This new seating space is a real improvement over the old outfield seats and will give many more seats as the seats that were formerly located on the Whitesburg side of the field have been moved to the opposite side of the field.
A fair team is expected in Whitesburg this year and some fans go as far to think this might be Whitesburg’s year to win the conference.
(The above article from the Sept. 3, 1953 Mountain Eagle.)
Whitesburg School seasonal activities
Preparation for the usual Christmas activities has both teachers and students of Whitesburg School busily and happily engaged. At most all times strains of Christmas music are audible. The following is a listing of the main events to precede Christmas vacation.
Tuesday, Dec. 8, at two o’clock the Whitesburg P.T.A. will be entertained with a Christmas program by the fifth and sixth grades. Assisting them will be Mrs. Bill Owens. Outstanding on the program will be “Christmas Memories from England,” by Mrs. Elizabeth Moncrief, a native of England. Parents, teachers and students will join in singing carols.
Wednesday, Dec. 9, on invitation of the Cumberland and Lynch high schools, the Mixed Chorus of the Whitesburg High School will visit these schools and present a Glee Club Christmas Program. The Cumberland program will be at 10 a.m., and the Lynch program at 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m., students of Mr. Hugh Adams will give a music recital.
Thursday, Dec. 17, the Mixed Chorus will present the annual Glee Club Christmas Program in the forenoon for the grade and high school students. At 7:00 p.m., the program will again be presented for the public.
Friday, Dec. 18, the school band will give a concert for the grades and high school.
On Monday, Dec. 21, many classes will participate in a gift exchange. The grade school children will be given a treat.
There will be no charge for any activity.
School will be dismissed at noon Dec. 21 to Monday, Jan. 4.
(The above article from the Dec. 10, 1953 Mountain Eagle.)