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A Healthier Future for our Nation’s Children

A recent USDA HUSSC event featured a rousing finale in which the entire gymnasium-filled with jumping and cheering students, teachers, administrators and partners- were showered with gold confetti.

A recent USDA HUSSC event featured a rousing finale in which the entire gymnasium-filled with jumping and cheering students, teachers, administrators and partners- were showered with gold confetti.

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

In the President’s recent State of Union Address, he spoke candidly about winning the future.  I can’t think of a better way to achieve that than by ensuring our Nation’s children are provided a healthy school environment to learn, grow and thrive. Read more »

Continuing the Conservation Legacy: Centennial of the Weeks Act of 1911

The legacy of the Weeks Act is shown by looking at photos of the White Mountain National Forest a century apart. Nearly a 100 years later after being decimated by logging, this photo depicts a healthy restored forest at the same location.

The legacy of the Weeks Act is shown by looking at photos of the White Mountain National Forest a century apart. Nearly a 100 years later after being decimated by logging, this photo depicts a healthy restored forest at the same location.

The Weeks Act, which went into effect on March 1, 1911, has been identified as one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation in American history.

In the early 1900s the public began to embrace a more proactive attitude toward conserving public lands. Just the year before, in 1910, Gifford Pinchot started the Forest Service. Before the Weeks Act, lands set aside for conservation were all located in the West and were created from large blocks of land in the public domain. Millions of acres of bare, eroded lands dotted the Eastern states from cut-over and farmed-out lands. In the West, the epic wildfires of 1910 fueled support for the Act. Read more »

Forecasting Western Waters – Carrying on a Tradition

This sign is posted at all officials snow course sites.

This sign is posted at all officials snow course sites.

Once a month in winter and spring, snow surveyors from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) head for the hills to measure the mountain snowpack. These trained observers ski, snowshoe or snowmobile to established snow measurement courses to record snow data the old fashioned way – by hand. Read more »

Broadband: The Linchpin of the Future for Rural Economies

I was honored to host a panel last week at the Department of Agriculture’s Ag Outlook Forum to showcase the impact of USDA broadband programs on so many in rural communities. Our February 25th Rural Development panel, “Building a Stronger Rural Infrastructure: Broadband,” portrayed the ripple effect these investments have.

We heard from Luis Reyes, CEO of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, which has provided electric power to consumers since WWII. They got into the broadband business because they recognized a need. Like many with a sense of community and knowledge of how broadband affects economic development, they successfully applied for Recovery Act broadband funding from USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency. “This will ultimately change the landscape of New Mexico,” Luis told the audience. “This is an opportunity for us to partner with colleges, health care facilities and the community to expand businesses, hire more employees, build markets and improve healthcare. To think that a small co-op in New Mexico can turn a project into a model program nationwide is exciting.” Read more »