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Oregon Forest Camp Gives Kids a Week-Long Outdoor Experience

It was chilly and wet when they arrived in western Oregon, but that didn’t dampen the excitement of the 165 sixth-grade students from six small schools who arrived via yellow buses, pick-up trucks, vans and even a horse trailer at this year’s Forest Camp Outdoor School near the small town of Lebanon.

They kicked off the first day with an all-camp meeting where students were introduced to staff, sang songs and learned camp rules. Campers met their counselors (one parent and one high school student) and moved into one of the 19 cabins. Then they spent the afternoon at challenge courses, cabin development classes and listening to encouraging stories to help gear them up for a successful week away from home. Read more »

Rural Development’s Key Partnerships Promote Economic Development on the Pine Ridge Reservation

USDA Rural Development has a long history of collaboration with the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.  I’ve seen the power of these collaborations first-hand, both in my current role as Under Secretary for Rural Development, as well back in the 1990s when I had the opportunity to serve as Rural Development’s State Director in South Dakota.

I recently returned to the tribe’s Pine Ridge Reservation, accompanied by twelve Midwestern USDA Rural Development state directors.   We traveled across the reservation, seeing both cultural landmarks and projects that have been impacted by USDA. Read more »

Longest Timber-Truss Pedestrian Bridge in the U.S. Will Link Recreation Visitors with Adventures

The longest, single-space timber truss bridge in North America is currently under construction on the Chugach National Forest in Alaska.  Photo Credit: Forest Service photo

The longest, single-space timber truss bridge in North America is currently under construction on the Chugach National Forest in Alaska. Photo Credit: Forest Service photo

A construction project will literally bridge the gap between dreams and real-world adventure on the Chugach National Forest. Read more »

ARMS: Informing Policy on the Farm Economy

Data collected in the Agricultural Resource Management Survey generates a broad array of information, analyses, and uses.

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 USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Nothing gives us a better insight into the U.S. farm economy than USDA’s annual Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). It’s the major source of information on production practices, resource use, and financial conditions among U.S. farms and farm households. Read more »

Summer Food in Indian Country

Last summer, my colleague Barbara Lopez and I traveled to South Dakota to document the great work two Native American Tribes were doing to feed their children during the summer months.  Feeding children during the summer is crucial in fighting childhood hunger because children are out of school and are not getting the school breakfast and lunch they normally receive when in school.  The Cheyenne River Sioux and Rosebud Sioux Tribes both have long-running summer feeding programs that have helped many families in these tight-knit communities keep their children well fed and physically active.

We captured video of children swimming at the community pool as part of the Youth Diabetes Program before they went next door to get a nutritious summer lunch that included a salad with bright pink radishes and a juicy plum.  We interviewed a hard-working teenager employed at a summer feeding site through his community’s summer youth work program.  By teaching these young people about their culture, giving them work opportunities, and making sure they receive a nutritious meal every day, the Tribes are helping to ensure that the future will be brighter for their people. Read more »