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Resolve to Build Healthy Soils on Rented Land

Five questions.

Five questions.

Do you rent out your land for agriculture? If you do, don’t forget about your farm when you’re making your New Year’s resolutions. Here are five questions from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that you need to ask the folks who rent your land: Do you build organic matter in the soil? Do you test the soil at least once every four years? Do you use no-till practices? Do you use cover crops? What can we do together to improve soil health on your land?

If you’re lucky, you have a renter like John Z. Beiler who rented acres of prime farmland in Port Royal, Pennsylvania. At the landowner’s encouragement John worked with NRCS to address gully erosion, test the farm’s soils, control noxious weeds and comply with highly erodible land and conservation plan requirements. Read more »

Welcome to the MyPlate New Year’s Challenge

The 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge lets you earn points for making small changes that add up to big wins.  Find your #MyPlateMyWins at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyWins.

The 5-week MyPlate New Year’s Challenge lets you earn points for making small changes that add up to big wins. Find your #MyPlateMyWins at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyWins.

The MyPlate Team welcomes you to join us for a fun and competitive way to start the New Year—join our MyPlate New Year’s Challenge! The MyPlate Team is hosting a 5-week challenge, featuring a new food group each week along with physical activity. Join our New Year’s Challenge now by visiting our MyPlate New Year’s Challenge page or by searching for “MYPLATE” on SuperTracker’s Join Group page. It’s never too late to join, so make sure to share this opportunity with your friends, family, and coworkers!

The first food group featured in the Challenge is the Dairy Food Group. Dairy foods include all fluid milk products as well as foods made from milk that retain their calcium content, like cheese and yogurt. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy Group. Calcium is a mineral that helps us to build bones and teeth, and maintain bone mass. Choosing low-fat or fat-free dairy options helps lower your intake of saturated fat.  Read more »

Bringing Back Diversity in Eastern Forests for Landowners, Wildlife

Cerulean warblers spend part of the year in the Appalachian Mountains of North America as well as the Andes Mountains of South America. Photo by DJ McNeil.

Cerulean warblers spend part of the year in the Appalachian Mountains of North America as well as the Andes Mountains of South America. Photo by DJ McNeil.

What do biologists look for in a healthy forest? A diversity in the ages and composition of trees and occasional breaks in canopy to allow sunlight to reach understory plants. Healthy forests, just like healthy human populations, are sustained by a diversity of ages. Each group has a role to play in maintaining the whole community over the long term.

But healthy, diverse forests are on the decline across the eastern United States. A lack of natural and human-induced disturbances because of fire suppression and certain timber harvest methods have led the forested landscape to become largely homogenous. Read more »

Canoemobile inspires future conservation leaders!

As the traveling Forest Service representative, Teresa Butel helped facilitate the migration station by talking to students about different native bird species (Photo Credit: Julia Schwitzer, Wilderness Inquiry).

As the traveling Forest Service representative, Teresa Butel helped facilitate the migration station by talking to students about different native bird species (Photo Credit: Julia Schwitzer, Wilderness Inquiry).

A young girl looks fearfully at the large wooden canoe bobbing on the water. She steps into the canoe and it moves. She yelps, and is given a reassuring smile by her boat captain. She gets settled holding her paddle tightly, convinced with every movement that the canoe will capsize.

The canoe takes off as everyone starts to paddle in sync in order to glide across the water. She begins to relax and enjoy herself, soaking up the sun, blue sky and fresh air. Before she knows it, the canoe is coming to dock, and she’s imagining her next adventure on the water. Read more »

Between Two Worlds: Frank Lake heals the land using modern science and traditional ecological knowledge

 

Frank Lake, research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Station, jots down some field notes after visiting a forest study plot in northern California. (Photo Credit: Kenny Sauve, Western Klamath Restoration Partnership).

Frank Lake, research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Station, jots down some field notes after visiting a forest study plot in northern California. (Photo Credit: Kenny Sauve, Western Klamath Restoration Partnership).

Frank Lake grew up learning traditional practices from the Karuk and Yurok Tribes. He developed an interest in science which led to his career choice as a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station. As a young man, he didn’t realize how unusual the experience was of spending time in two parallel worlds.

The Megram Fire of 1999 was a turning point for Lake, and the Forest Service as well. It was one of California’s largest wildland fires ever and the agency grappled with how to restore salmon in the burned over watershed. Lake knew that local tribal elders considered “fire as medicine,” and an important part of the ecosystem. The link between fire and fish is through water, they told him, and “water is sacred to all life.” Fires could reduce the number of trees in overly dense forests and improve spring flow needed by rivers to support healthy fisheries. Read more »

How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey

 

Approximate Turkey Roasting Times

Approximate Turkey Roasting Times

As with many things in life, when cooking a turkey you can do it the easy way, or you can do it the hard way. Read more »