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Celebrating World Water Day along the Eastern Continental Divide

Graphic showing the streamflow from the Monongahela National Forest to the Gulf of Mexico

Streamflow that originates on the Monongahela National Forest flows to the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. During that journey, it supplies drinking water to many municipalities in nine states and Washington, DC. (US Forest Service graphic)

Today, March 22, is World Water Day, and the U.S. Forest Service joins the international community in celebrating water and inspiring good stewardship of this vital resource. Forests are essential to our survival and well-being due in large part to the ecosystem services they provide, including our fresh water.

Surface water that originates on our national forests has many important purposes, one of which is providing drinking water for millions of people in the United States. Surface water is water in rivers, streams, creeks, lakes and reservoirs. Surrounding trees and forests play a major role in keeping these waterways clean and healthy. Read more »

Connection Between Children’s Emotions, Mental Skills and Eating Habits

Kids eating

Agricultural Research Service scientists are studying the relationship between eating behaviors and cognitive control as an avenue to address childhood obesity. ARS photo by Scott Bauer.

American children are gaining weight. Obesity now affects one in six children and adolescents in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a major concern because extra pounds can increase risk for developing serious health problems in children, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

While strategies to reduce childhood obesity include improving diet and increasing exercise, USDA scientists are looking for ways to prevent behaviors in children that may lead to obesity. Nutritionist Kevin Laugero, who works at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California, recently investigated the relationship between obesity, unhealthy eating behaviors and decreased mental skills in 3- to 6-year-olds. Read more »

Positive Trends in the WIC Program

New moms participating in a group discussion with a WIC counselor

New moms participating in a group discussion with a WIC counselor.

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

Here at WIC, we’re pretty excited!  During National WIC Breastfeeding Week, we blogged about all of our ongoing efforts to help promote healthy mothers and babies.  One of our focus areas is promoting breastfeeding as the optimal infant feeding choice for moms who are medically able, for its many proven health, nutritional, economical, and emotional benefits for both mother and baby. Read more »

International Day of Forests 2016

Alternare instructors demonstrating proactive land management practices

Alternare instructors demonstrating proactive land management practices. Photo credit: Alternare

March 21, 2016 marks the United Nations’ fourth annual International Day of Forests, a day to celebrate the important and diverse contributions of the world’s forests. As it has from the start, the U.S. Forest Service commemorates the day and works with international partners throughout the year to protect the health of forest ecosystems worldwide.

For over 50 years, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has partnered with Mexico and Canada through the North American Forest Commission, one of six regional forestry commissions under the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Read more »

Second-Generation Builds on a Father’s Legacy of Sustainability at Colvine Bison

Bobbi and Allen Lester with their daughter in front of their farm

Bison farmers Bobbi and Allen with their daughter in front of the family-run farm. Photo: Dastina Wallace.

Bison farmer Bobbi Lester cares for the land with just as much passion and love as her father. As a little girl growing up on the ranch in southern Delaware, she remembers learning the ropes of bison farming, often traveling with him to regional and national bison conferences. When Bobbi Lester’s father, Robert Collins, lost his battle to cancer in 2012, Bobbi, along with her husband Allen, stepped up to continue farming the way he would have wanted—as a family.

Bobbi recalls how her dad started with just three heifers and a bull on 88 acres in Greenwood, Delaware, and grew into the herd of 65 bison.

“Because of the bison’s population decline 30 years ago, Collins originally planned to breed the bison,” said Bobbi. Read more »

New State of the Art Food Bank Opens in West Texas

Kevin Concannon touring the new West Texas Food Bank

The new West Texas Food Bank facility has a dedicated client service area to help fulfill patrons’ nutritional needs.

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

West Texans fighting food insecurity have a new resource to combat hunger. The West Texas Food Bank held the grand opening of their new 60,000 square foot location during a recent ceremony in Odessa.

In operation since 1985, the West Texas Food Bank saw the need for food grow exponentially in their communities, requiring them to expand their services. The new facility replaces the East 2nd Street building, and is a first-of-its-kind in West Texas. Thanks to generous donations from area philanthropists committed to fighting hunger locally, the facility will help meet the nutritional needs of more than 31,000 people living in poverty or food insecurity in Midland County, while serving 18 other West Texas counties.  According to the West Texas Food Bank Executive Director, Libby Campbell, the new facility offers more program opportunities for seniors, children, families and the homeless. Read more »