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Public TV Showcases Conservation Efforts in California to Clean & Conserve Water

Ann Johnson grows wine grapes in El Dorado County, Calif., where she carefully uses each drop of water. Water is imperative to her operation, and using it wisely and keeping it clean are important to private landowners like her.

Conservation practices, like a drip irrigation system, help her care for this natural resource. A public television series, “This American Land,” will showcase Johnson and other California farmers and ranchers who are working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to put conservation on the ground.

The segment, “Precious Sierra Water,” is included in the season’s sixth episode, being released this month to public TV stations across the country. Read more »

Tribes Remember the Nome Cult Trail

Members of the Round Valley Indian Tribe retrace the 1863 route of the Nome Cult walk, a forced relocation of Indians from Chico, Calif., to Covelo, Calif. (U.S. Forest Service)

Members of the Round Valley Indian Tribe retrace the 1863 route of the Nome Cult walk, a forced relocation of Indians from Chico, Calif., to Covelo, Calif. (U.S. Forest Service)

Many of us may think of the forest as a place to reflect upon times long past. There may even be a bit of nostalgia in those ruminations. Yet for members of the Round Valley Tribes, a recent walk through the Mendocino National Forest in California was more than a time to contemplate—it was a time to remember an agonizing event in history.

This autumn marked the 150th anniversary of the Nome Cult Walk, a forced relocation of 461 Native Americans from Chico, Calif., to the Nome Cult Reservation, near Covelo, Calif. Only 277 of those completed the forced march that passed through what is the heart of today’s Mendocino National Forest. Those who did not complete the journey were too sick to go on, some escaped, and others were killed. Read more »

To Wash or Not to Wash… Your Turkey?

Washing anything makes it cleaner and safer, right? Not necessarily.

Wash your hands, but not the turkey!  Many consumers think that washing their turkey will remove bacteria and make it safer.  However, it’s virtually impossible to wash bacteria off the bird. Instead, juices that splash during washing can transfer bacteria onto the surfaces of your kitchen, other foods and utensils. This is called cross-contamination, which can make you and your guests very sick.  Washing your hands before and after handling your turkey and its packaging is crucial to avoid spreading harmful bacteria. Read more »

¿Lavar o No el Pavo?

Lavar cualquier cosa lo hace más limpio y seguro, ¿verdad?

Lave sus manos, ¡pero NO el pavo! Los consumidores piensan que lavar sus pavos ha de remover las bacterias y hacerlos más seguros. Sin embargo, resulta virtualmente imposible lavar la bacteria del ave. Sin embargo, los fluidos que salpican durante el lavado pueden transferir bacteria a superficies de su cocina, otros alimentos, y utensilios. Esto es llamado “contaminación cruzada”, lo cual puede enfermarle mucho a usted y a sus invitados. El lavarse sus manos antes y después de manejar su pavo y su empaque es crucial para evitar propagar la bacterias dañinas. Read more »

Make Small Changes for a Healthy Holiday – Makeover Your Holiday Plate with MyPlate

MyPlate Holiday Makeover. Click to Enlarge.

MyPlate Holiday Makeover. Click to Enlarge.

We all cherish time-honored holiday traditions; yet want to make healthier choices when celebrating the holiday season. Simple swaps or ingredient substitutions are a great way to revamp classic favorites – making them healthier without sacrificing the memories.

The MyPlate Holiday Makeover infographic provides ideas to help you make great choices. From baking to seasoning, this new resource can show you an easier way to make your meals healthier. Choose recipes that include unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Boost the flavor of foods with spices and herbs such as cinnamon, cumin, or thyme and cut back the sugar and salt. Brighten up your meals with fruits and vegetables and go easy on the sauces, gravies, and cream. Read more »

New Issue Papers: Exploring Environmental Markets

All of us rely on nature’s benefits during our daily routines, but few stop to think about how we can sustain those benefits over time. Luckily, there are economists, resource managers, and policymakers working on tools to help manage resources—and environmental markets are one of those tools. Environmental markets allow people who use ecosystem services to pay those who provide environmental benefits. In some cases, the environmental stewards who can provide benefits (like clean water, air and habitats) are farmers. While there is promise in environmental markets, there are a lot of kinks to work out.

Two new issue papers by the World Resources Institute, take a deep dive into the mechanics of water quality trading and other environmental markets by exploring options for market development.  The papers were produced with support from the USDA Office of Environmental Markets, and were released earlier this month. Read more »