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Students Aid Invasive Species Control While Learning

High School welding students gained hands-on fabrication experience while contributing to the collaborative state-wide effort to manage an invasive species.

High School welding students gained hands-on fabrication experience while contributing to the collaborative state-wide effort to manage an invasive species.

USDA Wildlife Services (WS) employees in New Mexico have been fabricating the traps and tools for their jobs for many years.  As feral swine management work began in the state, naturally we began to build our own traps and gates to contain this invasive and damaging mammal. Read more »

Saipan Students Set Conservation Example

Northern Marianas College in Saipan has an extraordinary group of student volunteers eager to answer conservation’s call.

These students, members of a college club called Environmental & Natural Resource Organization, are known throughout the community for their environmental work. Whether cleaning beaches and city streets or tending public gardens, they are role models and valuable volunteers in the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Earth Team program. Earth Team is the volunteer workforce of NRCS.

A faculty member in the NMC Math, Science, & Health Department founded ENRO in 2009. Since then, students have led, planned and organized conservation activities. These students log countless volunteer hours cleaning up and improving the environment of Saipan. In addition to picking up trash and weeding, they spend their free time learning about more complex methods of conservation. Read more »

Let Me Be Clear: Plain Writing Matters

“Clear, direct and easy to understand” may not be the first words most Americans associate with government publications and documents, but that is changing. Thanks to the Plain Writing Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, all federal agencies must now put their readers first when writing new documents or revising old ones.  That means before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, we must first think hard about how our language connects with customers and helps them get the most from USDA’s services and programs.

Secretary Vilsack has asked us at USDA to improve our writing to better serve the public.  He believes we cannot carry out our mission effectively if we cannot communicate clearly with those whom we serve. He has made plain writing a cornerstone of his efforts to transform USDA’s culture. Now all of us—even our lawyers—are making our writing easier for the public to read and understand.

This is good news for the American people whose lives are affected every day by USDA’s  leadership on issues from agriculture, to nutrition, trade, and energy. The public uses the information in our documents to build strong rural communities, to protect the environment, and to produce our safe and abundant food supply.  Read more »

U.S. Dairy Industry: Leading the Way in Sustainable Innovation

Secretary Vilsack renewed an historic agreement to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects & energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms

Secretary Vilsack renewed an historic agreement to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects & energy efficiency improvements on U.S. dairy farms

Cross posted from The Huffington Post:

U.S. dairy producers are leading the way in productivity and innovation when it comes to sustainable practices. Earlier this afternoon, I joined Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy CEO Tom Gallagher to renew an historic agreement with the dairy industry to lower greenhouse gas emissions and to accelerate the adoption of innovative waste-to-energy projects on U.S. dairy farms which help producers diversify revenues and reduce utility expenses on their operations. Today’s extension of the Memorandum of Understanding is an acknowledgement of the dairy industry’s legacy of stewardship and its ongoing commitment to improve our farms. Read more »

Smokey Goes In for Checkup, Cleaning

Smokey Bear’s lasting message – Only You Can Prevent Wildfires! – resonates with 97 percent of adults.

Smokey Bear’s lasting message – Only You Can Prevent Wildfires! – resonates with 97 percent of adults.

One of America’s most well-known, beloved and important icons is going to have a little work done over the next several weeks in preparation for his upcoming 70th birthday in 2014.

The mechanical Smokey Bear that welcomes scores of visitors to the U.S. Forest Service headquarters building in Washington, D.C., is going in to have his fur checked, his motor – er, “heart” – fine-tuned and will undergo a thorough cleaning. Read more »

Forest Service Plants Disease-Resistant Trees at 9/11 Memorial in Pennsylvania

 

Looking up at the canopy of an American elm Tree. (USDA photo)

Looking up at the canopy of an American elm Tree. (USDA photo)

U.S. Forest Service-grown American elm trees were planted recently at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., where a hijacked flight headed toward the U.S. Capitol crashed Sept. 11, 2001, after passengers and crew overpowered the terrorists onboard.

In conjunction with National Park Week, the National Park Service conducted the tree planting at the Flight 93 National Memorial on April 20, one of four tree planting days planned at the site this year. Read more »