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Thanks to USDA, Rural Alaskan Native Villages are Receiving Safe Water for the First Time

Many communities in remote rural Alaska are only accessible by plane or boat and essentially inaccessible during the long, hard winters. They lag far behind the lower 48 states in having safe and dependable drinking water and suitable waste disposal systems available.  The Rural Alaska Village Grant (RAVG) program supports the development and construction of water and wastewater systems to correct dire health and sanitation conditions in those villages. I had the recent opportunity to accompany USDA Water and Environmental Program RAVG Manager Tasha Deardorff and other program partners on site visits of two such remote rural communities to check the status of current projects.

It’s nearly 400 miles from Anchorage to Bethel, the regional hub.  Our first destination from Bethel was the remote Native village of Toksook  Bay some 114 miles away.  We were greeted by a resident who transported us via four-wheeler  (all terain vehicle) to the city office. Read more »

Wild Horses Take APHIS Veterinarian to New Heights

APHIS Veterinarian Brianna Schur works at the Warm Springs facility.

APHIS Veterinarian Brianna Schur works at the Warm Springs facility.

It’s been a tough year for members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon. The drought-blistered landscape of parched earth and wilting crops shows it. Then there’s the underlying damage created by two other forces of nature – menacing wildfires and wild horses. Read more »

President Obama Proclaims National Forest Products Week

Most American’s don’t realize that Forest products are a part of daily life. From buildings, bridges, and paper, to energy, chemicals and even jobs, our society depends on trees to provide for us.  In recognition of the importance of forest products to our nation, President Obama has proclaimed the week of October 21-27, 2012 as National Forest Products Week.

The Forest Service has been conducting forest products research for more than 100 years in support of its mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the Nation’s forests. Forest products research promotes the responsible use of wood. New products and technologies that are developed through this research create jobs, especially in rural areas, and stimulate economic growth. Read more »

Looking for an Internship? USDA Provides Outreach to STEM Students in Arizona

STEM – the fields of study in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

No one had trouble communicating despite the acronym overload at a STEM Internship Expo hosted recently at Phoenix College in Arizona.

Several USDA agencies gathered under the shade of a canopy with tables packed with information on internship programs and career opportunities for STEM students. USDA Rural Development staff was joined by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Forest Service. Other USDA agencies were also represented. Read more »

Forest Service Partners with Wilderness Inquiry Program in D.C. Area

Wilderness Inquiry staff member Emily Walz leads a group in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on the Superior National Forest, Minnesota

Wilderness Inquiry staff member Emily Walz leads a group in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on the Superior National Forest, Minnesota

You don’t have to be in a lake or river, on a forest or in a wilderness area to participate in the outdoors.

If you live in a city, a fun and interesting outdoor experience can be right in your own backyard.

Through the Forest Service’s partnership with the Wilderness Inquiry’s Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program, hundreds of inner city youth from the Washington, D.C. area are exploring the beauty of the Anacostia River in voyageur canoes Oct. 23-27. Read more »

Feds Feed Families Helps End Hunger in Tennessee

The fourth annual Feds Feed Families food drive has come to a close and USDA employees helped to bolster local efforts to feed those in need in a big way.  USDA employees, farmers, and friends donated 2.77 million pounds of food this summer and the federal-government-wide total was 7.29 million pounds of food!  This week, USDA is recognizing the great work of its employees and community partners who volunteered to make the food drive a success.

Beyond donating much-needed perishable and non-perishable foods, USDA employees showed their generosity in other ways as well. As the Rural Development state office in Nashville, Tennessee demonstrated, donations of time can be very valuable in helping an organization in your community. Read more »