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Forest Service Partners with Shedd Aquarium on Great Lakes Exhibit

You can actually feel the wonder while discovering a new side of the U.S. Forest Service at Shedd Aquarium’s new Great Lakes Exhibit At Home on the Great Lakes.

The Shedd Aquarium, on famous Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, unveiled the exhibit as part of its renovation of the facility’s historic Local Waters Gallery. The exhibit features exciting new interactive components. Visitors experience a connection to the Great Lakes through hands-on learning and up-close encounters with native Great Lakes species.

“There is a strong connection between the health of national forests and the health of the Great Lakes,” said Regional Forester Kathleen Atkinson. “The Forest Service is thrilled to collaborate with the Shedd Aquarium to raise awareness about the interconnectedness of these resources.” Read more »

A Makeover for a House Loaded with Memories

Nellie Buckman is the daughter of a migrant worker.  Growing up her family moved from place to place a lot.  She never really had a place to call home until her adult years when she moved into a little tiny house that was originally from Igloo, South Dakota, which incidentally  is  located on the same lot line as her current residence which was built by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1979.  Over the years, the Buckmans raised 10 children in this home.  The transition from the little small house to the HUD house was quite an experience for the family.  The HUD house was much bigger and in the beginning, the children all slept in one bedroom until they got used to having extra space.  Her children now grown, Buckman’s home continues to be a gathering place for her large family.

“I love having a place to call home, to care for, and have all of my trinkets and memories surround me,” said Nellie Buckman. Read more »

Packed House in Tucson, Arizona for Energy Round Table Listening Session with Rural Utilities Administrator

Sorry Mr. Wolfe. As it turns out, you actually CAN go home again…and John Padalino recently did.

Padalino is the Administrator for the USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a branch of USDA Rural Development. Born in south Tucson, Padalino grew up along the border where his father was a customs agent. Recently he was back in Tucson to facilitate a Rural Development Energy Round Table.

The round table was filled to capacity with participants that represented small businesses, solar companies, utilities, community action groups, tribes, contractors, and local governments. Read more »

Spreading Sustainable Seafood Practices Overseas

Last month, the Foreign Agricultural Service office in The Hague, Netherlands, partnered with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to highlight the institute’s commitment to sustainable fishing and introduce its new sustainability certification.

There is a growing interest among European consumers in sustainable seafood. Many European retailers require their suppliers to demonstrate that their products don’t deplete ocean fisheries. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: Breaking the Gridlock and Securing Our Economic Future

This week, President Obama laid out a vision for America’s economic future.   Since day one, the Obama Administration has been focused on our nation’s economic recovery, and over recent years we’ve seen positive signs of growth.

Businesses have created more than 7 million new jobs over the past 40 months. The housing market is coming back. Led by the tremendous productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers, our nation’s exports are growing.

But we also know that much remains to be done, and there’s no excuse for letting up. The President is squarely focused on building a strong middle class. He is committed to ensuring that every American has the opportunity to secure a good job, a quality education, a dependable place to call home, a secure path to retirement and affordable health care with decent benefits. Read more »

USDA Officials Talk about New Meal and Snack Standards at New York City School

Our children are our most prized possessions and we must do whatever it takes to help them excel in the future. Leading them on the path to becoming part of a healthier generation, USDA revised the standards for meals and snacks served in their schools. Recently, I had the pleasure of traveling to a New York City high school to see first-hand how students were adjusting to the new standards.

The changes to the meal and snack standards are in response to the passing of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Implemented in the 2012 school year, the new meal standards made several changes. Now, the 32 million students participating in the National School Lunch Program can enjoy more fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grain foods and leaner proteins. The new smart snack standards, which will be implemented July 1, 2014, set minimum requirements for snacks sold in vending machines or as part of a la carte meals sold on campus during school hours. Read more »