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Forest Service Engineer, Former Student Intern, Triumphs Over Early Life Hardships

“It’s a pleasure to get up in the morning and go to work,” said Toniette “Toni” Addison, a civil engineer for the National Forests in Florida. “I spend the majority of my time designing recreation sites on some of the most beautiful and remote areas of our forests.”

Toni Addison, a civil engineer for the National Forests in Florida, is pictured here at Leon Sink Geological Area on the Apalachicola National Forest. The renovation of Leon Sinks was one of several projects completed in 2011 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Addison inspected the work of local contractors and businesses to ensure that contract specifications were adhered to and the project was completed in a timely manner. Photo Credit: Susan Blake, Public Affairs Specialist, National Forests in Florida

Toni Addison, a civil engineer for the National Forests in Florida, is pictured here at Leon Sink Geological Area on the Apalachicola National Forest. The renovation of Leon Sinks was one of several projects completed in 2011 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Addison inspected the work of local contractors and businesses to ensure that contract specifications were adhered to and the project was completed in a timely manner. Photo Credit: Susan Blake, Public Affairs Specialist, National Forests in Florida

But things were not always so rosy for Addison. One of six children, she recalls a difficult life growing up as a young African-American girl in the projects of Fort Myers, Fla. Her single-parent mother frequently left Toni and her siblings at home alone to fend for themselves – at times for as long as two weeks. Read more »

Slice of Albuquerque Will be Turned into the Children’s Bosque: More Kids in the Woods Projects and Children’s Forests Nationwide Receive $1 Million Funding

Urban children in Albuquerque, N.M., will soon be able to descend on 20 acres of forestland along the Rio Grande River, where they will have the freedom to climb onto an elevated fort, hike on a trail through the cottonwood forest to learn about the different plants and animals and do what all children are supposed to do: play outside.

Children looking through microscopes in a forest.

Children looking through microscopes in a forest.

Children’s Bosque – Spanish for forest – is one of eight Children’s Forests and 23 More Kids in the Woods projects in 18 states awarded a total of $1 million in cost-share grants from the U.S. Forest Service. Each of the winning projects has the backing of partners and local communities, and winning proposals either expand current projects or create new ones. Read more »

Like a Kid in a Candy Store, Lincoln Bramwell Loves History and the Forest Service

Originally, the young Lincoln Bramwell wanted to be a garbage man, what we call a sanitation engineer today.

Lincoln Bramwell of the U.S. Forest Service.

Lincoln Bramwell of the U.S. Forest Service.

“They swing on the back of trucks, find cool stuff occasionally.  I thought that was the coolest job ever,” he said. Bramwell explained that it changed later once “I had to take the trash out as a kid.” Read more »

USDA Official Reads The Lorax to Assembly of Children, Encourages Them to Take Care of Forests

Imagine being a kid and having a senior government official come to your school to share the joy of reading and storytelling. Then imagine the excitement when an actual Dr. Seuss character enters the room!

Arthur “Butch” Blazer and the Lorax.

Arthur “Butch” Blazer and the Lorax.

That’s what happened when Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, recently spoke to more than 300 students at James K. Polk Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. about the importance of trees and forests. Read more »

USDA Encourages Farmers, Developers and Business Leaders to Learn How Anaerobic Digesters Can Reduce Pollution, Cut Energy Costs and Diversify Income

In 2009, during climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a historic “Memorandum of Understanding” with dairy producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms by capturing methane with enhanced manure management practices and turning it into electricity.

While much has been done to encourage deployment of anaerobic digester technology in the United States, more needs to be accomplished, and with that in mind, USDA will join with the Farm Foundation, NFP, the AgStar Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative of the University of Wisconsin to hold webinars from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus later this month. Read more »