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Smokey Bear to Appear at 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll Event on South Lawn

For nearly 70 years, Smokey Bear has been a fixture in America’s history as the stalwart defender of our forests and his “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” resonates no matter how young or old you are.

So it is apropos that Smokey will help entertain children during the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. The 134th annual event kicks off April 9 with the theme, Let’s Go! Let’s Play!, Let’s Move!, a reference to First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to encourage healthy activities for children.

More than 35,000 people are expected to attend the day-long event. Activities will include egg rolling, sports courts, cooking demonstrations and “meet and greets” with Smokey and a host of other characters.

Smokey has been immortalized as a wildfire prevention symbol since 1944.

The Forest Service Conservation Education Program works closely with Smokey and other programs, such as the Junior Forest Ranger, to instill in young people their responsibility in helping to protect our natural resources. To find out more about the many programs designed for children and young adults, contact the Forest Service Conservation Education office.

Quality Monitoring Program Expands to Olive Oil

The Quality Monitoring Program will verify the quality and purity of extra virgin and organic extra virgin olive oil.  The program will help consumers know that the products they are buying will meet their expectations.  Photo courtesy of Pompeian, Inc.

The Quality Monitoring Program will verify the quality and purity of extra virgin and organic extra virgin olive oil. The program will help consumers know that the products they are buying will meet their expectations. Photo courtesy of Pompeian, Inc.

There have been a lot of questions over the last few years about the quality and purity of olive oil.  USDA has expanded our Quality Monitoring Program to include extra virgin and organic extra virgin olive oil.  This program already evaluates a variety of commodities including canned, frozen and certain fresh fruits and vegetables. Read more »

USDA and Hawai’i public charter school partner for local, traditional foods

With the help of a Community Facilities loan from USDA Rural Development, Kona Pacific Charter School will construct new classroom buildings and develop a traditional field system.

On the southwest coast of the big island of Hawai‘i, USDA is partnering with Kona Pacific Public Charter School on a project to restore eight acres of land to the ancient Kona Field System of agriculture and then use traditional cultivation techniques to produce traditional foods for students and the community. Read more »

The Sweet Scent of Economic Progress in Tillamook, Oregon

A yellow pipe transports the methane from the digester to the 1MW generator in the mechanical building.

A yellow pipe transports the methane from the digester to the 1MW generator in the mechanical building.

Tillamook County, located on Oregon’s northern coast, is home to a concentration of dairy operations and with them, plenty of cow manure. Advances in the renewable energy industry have proven that an abundance of livestock waste is opportunity for sustainable economic development through domestic energy production. Read more »

Washington Company Uses USDA SBIR Grant to Develop Erosion Control Material

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

In recent years, wildfires have become larger and more severe. After the fires, large areas are without protective vegetative cover, making them prone to soil erosion when rains come. The forest soils contain many plant seeds, but the soils need to be stabilized until these seeds have a chance to germinate and re-establish plant cover that can stabilize the soil. Read more »

Mount St. Helens Videos Receive National Awards

A Forest Service scientists searches for signs of aquatic life in a lake within the 1980 blast zone of Mount St. Helens. Photo from the video, “Mount St. Helens: A Living Laboratory.”

A Forest Service scientists searches for signs of aquatic life in a lake within the 1980 blast zone of Mount St. Helens. Photo from the video, “Mount St. Helens: A Living Laboratory.”

Two new Forest Service films have been honored with prestigious Silver Telly Awards for excellence in non-fiction filmmaking. Read more »