As the fall season slowly matriculates and the autumn equinox makes its debut, volunteers are encouraged to give back by participating in the annual National Public Lands Day.
National Public Lands Day, in its 22nd year, is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands. Last year, more than 175,000 volunteers served at over 2,000 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Since it’s inception in 1994, with only three sites and 700 volunteers, the event has garnered community support year-after-year. Read more »
Greg and Karon Nettekoven manage an 800-acre vegetable farm in the Fox River watershed in Wisconsin where they use a variety of conservation practices. Photo: Tivoli Gough.
Some people are born to farm. Others grow to love it. Greg Nettekoven was born into a farm family, and he and his wife, Karon, have grown to love farming.
Greg is a second-generation farmer, and when he took the reins of the family farm in 1988, he changed the livestock operation into a vegetable farm – growing peas, sweet corn and beans. Read more »
ARS ecologist Debra Peters (left) and New Mexico State University ecologist Jin Yao evaluate vegetation before estimating plant production at the Jornada Experimental Range. Photo by Stacey Peters.
Vast acreage of dry lands may evoke images of a desolate, scorched desert that is uninhabitable to humans. But the arid and semi-arid dry lands of about half of both the United States’ and the world’s land surfaces actually are complex ecosystems made up variously of grasses, shrubs, agriculture, and even urban dwellers. Now, ecological education about these complex dry lands has taken a step forward with the publication of a special issue of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Read more »
- Wind-devastated farmland in Kansas during the Dust Bowl.
The U.S. Southern Plains states have always been known for their wild weather. Stories of the volatile climate of this region abound. Whether you’re talking about Pecos Bill roping a tornado in Texas, Dorothy being blown away by a twister to the Land of Oz, or the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma where “the wind comes sweeping down the plains,” all three of the Southern Plains states have a well-deserved reputation for extreme weather events. Never has this been more on display than in 2015. At the beginning of this year, the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas had suffered through four long years of an extreme drought greater even than those that ravaged the region during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. This extreme weather cost agriculture in the region well over $20 billion and put an incredible strain on the available water supplies of numerous communities. Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, in a repeat of what has happened so many times in the past, the extreme drought on the Southern Plains was finally broken by extreme rainfall. Read more »
Ryan Pulley and his son look at Pine Creek, which flows through the land where he raises beef cattle in southeastern Minnesota. Photo: Julie MacSwain.
Pine Creek wanders through prairies and rocky bluffs, and forests and pastures, including the land where Ryan Pulley raises beef in southeastern Minnesota. Pine Creek is beautiful – fed by limestone springs and home to freshwater trout.
Coldwater streams like Pine Creek flow throughout the Driftless Area, a unique Midwestern landscape marked by its craggy limestone, sandstone valleys and steep hillsides. This terrain, which was bypassed by the glaciers, is blessed with one of the highest concentrations of limestone spring creeks in the world. Read more »
Graphic - Food Safety Before, During and After a Power Outage
Disaster can strike at anytime and any place. You might live in a region of the country that already has experienced some form of extreme weather event, such as wildfires, extreme cold and snow, or obstructive tornadoes, to name a few.
All of these events result in power outages for hundreds of thousands of households and communities, and as you know, no power can compromise food safety. The temperature and sanitation of food storage areas is crucial to preventing bacterial growth, and severe weather and other emergencies can compromise this. Knowing what to do in these instances can minimize the need to throw away food and the risk of getting sick. Read more »