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Category: Forestry

Citizen Science is Sound Science Provided by You

Volunteers traversing the North Cascades Mountains

Volunteers traversing the North Cascades Mountains looking to track butterflies. Photo credit: National Park Service

Have you ever seen a cool bird in your backyard and wondered if there was some way to share what you saw with others? Better yet, have you thought about sharing your observations and having them used to help study and conserve those birds? These thoughts are an indicator that you might have the makings of a great citizen scientist!

The Forest Service is engaged in a wide variety of citizen science projects that encourage public involvement in natural and cultural resource science and conservation. Volunteers can contribute by forming research questions, collecting and analyzing data, or interpreting results. If you have a sense of wonder and discovery, citizen science may be for you. Read more »

49 Historic Sites in the 49th State

A contemporary photo of the M/V Chugach ranger boat

A contemporary photo of the M/V Chugach ranger boat. The M/V Chugach served as an important transportation and communication link among the communities of Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska and was involved in many dramatic search and rescue operations. Photo credit: Forest Service

This year America celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. Alaska was still celebrating its first decade of statehood when the Preservation Act was passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. Since then, the act has empowered the U.S. Forest Service to identify and preserve the state’s rich cultural history, including heritage sites that date back to time immemorial.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary, the 49 Sites in the 49th State website was developed by the Alaska Region and partners such as the State of Alaska, Native corporations and tribes, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management, and others to help state residents and out-of-state visitors explore. The site features many historical sites and treasures such as the Iditarod National Historic Trail, Lost Whaling Ships in the Bering Strait, and M/V Chugach ranger boat, the last of 10 Forest Service ranger boats that once plied the waters of the Tongass and Chugach national forests. Read more »

Unauthorized Drones Near a Wildfire can Cost and Kill

If You Fly, We Can't infographic

If You Fly, We Can't infographic. Design credit: Mary Horning, US Forest Service (Click to view a larger version)

Recreational drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems sometimes called UAS have become increasingly popular in the past few years. While this is an interesting hobby and can allow you to get beautiful aerial photography, some activities pose a significant hazard.

The use of these drones to capture video footage of wildfires is one of those hazardous activities. Read more »

The Science Behind Fire

Researchers preparing for the next phase in examining physical fire processes

Researchers prepare for the next phase in examining physical fire processes by adding the effect of a slope. Photo credit: Mark Finney

In recent months, we have all become familiar with images in the media of wildland firefighters digging lines, air tankers dropping retardant and fire engines dispersing water. You may wonder “how do these firefighters know what it takes to fight fire?”

The short answer is: research.

Before a wildland firefighter sees his or her first fire, they are given the tools and training on how to fight fire and its behavior. The information passed onto them is not learned overnight but rather through years of research. Read more »

Celebrating a New Employee and the Congressional Act that Made it Possible

Matthew Martin sharpening his chainsaw

Matthew Martin sharpening his chainsaw prior to using it to clear debris off designated trails and to remove hazard trees from recreation areas. Photo credit: US Forest Service

Last June was one for the record books as Matthew Martin achieved his long-term goal of becoming a permanent employee with the U.S. Forest Service, an achievement made possible via a new hiring authority being used by the federal land management agency.

A second generation Forest Service employee, one could say that forestry was in Matthew’s DNA, which is certainly reflected in the hard work he did leading up to his permanent hire as a Forestry Technician on the Wayne National Forest. Read more »

U.S. Forest Service Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act

Passport in Time volunteers

Passport in Time volunteers use a wooden shaker to assist with excavations. Photo credit: Holly Krake

Signed by President Lyndon Johnson fifty years ago, the National Historic Preservation Act marked a fundamental shift in how Americans and the federal government regarded the role of historic preservation in modern life.

The U.S. Forest Service has a long history of protecting significant heritage resources, to share their values with the American people, and contribute relevant information and perspectives to natural resource management. Protecting these resources ensures that future generations have an opportunity to discover the human story etched on the landscapes of our national forests, grasslands and prairie. Read more »