Commonwealth Assets of Stafford County
July 20, 2016

Ogallala Commons places a large emphasis on commonwealth assets, and as such, made this the assignment for this blog. The 12 commonwealth assets are Soil and Mineral Cycle, Renewable Energy, History, Water Cycle, Health, Sense of Place, Spirituality, Foodshed, Leisure and Recreation, Education, Arts and Culture, and Wildlife and the Natural World.

As Stafford County is the definition of small and rural (about 4,200 residents in the entire county); I almost wondered if all the commonwealth assets would be available.  Each community on their own did not have all twelve assets, however, when you connect these smaller communities into a single county-wide community, the assets become much more visible.  Agriculture is extremely obvious as you drive anywhere within the county, and many farmers utilize no-till farming to prevent soil erosion and irrigation to increase crop yields.  These are examples of both Soil and Mineral Cycle and the Water Cycle.  For the foodshed we have a farmer’s market on Thursdays throughout the summer.  For history, we have a wonderful county historical society.  They are currently undertaking the restoration of a collection almost 30,000 glass negatives taken in the early to mid-1900’s.  No small town is complete without a church, and in Stafford County there are numerous churches.  For health we have several dentists, a county hospital, and a general practitioner.  For leisure and recreation, we have several pools, parks, and a community-operated movie theater. For education, we have three outstanding school districts.   For renewable energy, we have a local company that installed a wind turbine on their property.  For wildlife and the natural world, we have, I think, a pretty unique area.  We are located on the southern portion of the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway, and we are home to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge; this salt-water marsh is a significant migratory bird stopover point. We also have several local artists, as well as the restoration of a photo studio from the early 1900s into a place where artists can live while establishing their art.  The interconnectedness of the communities is what gives Stafford County our sense of place.

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a photo from the Farmer’s Market

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a photo of glass negatives from the Stafford County Historical Society