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Learn How to Play Smart Against Spreading Invasive Species

As spring awakens across the country, outdoor recreation enthusiasts are beginning to look again for opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. America’s spectacular national forests and national grasslands provide some of the greatest opportunities for outdoor recreation in the world.

The emerald ash borer, highly destructive to ash trees, is one of the most destructive non-native insects in the U.S. Photo credit:  Invasive.org

The emerald ash borer, highly destructive to ash trees, is one of the most destructive non-native insects in the U.S. Photo credit: Invasive.org

But these beautiful and inspiring natural places are also under attack from hundreds of invasive plants, animals and pathogens. These exotic invaders disrupt natural ecological balance and can negatively impact the quality of outdoor recreation experiences. Invasives can threaten human health and safety and possibly reduce access to some areas. Read more »

Columbia Heights Built It, Now the Fruit Will Come

Students from Columbia Heights Educational Campus participate in the symbolic first dig in their new garden.  The People’s Garden will grow food for both the school and people in need.

Students from Columbia Heights Educational Campus participate in the symbolic first dig in their new garden. The People’s Garden will grow food for both the school and people in need.

Students at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC) will soon be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  The District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution (D.C. DAR) partnered with USDA to bring a People’s Garden to this school in Washington, D.C. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses Build Trade Relationships, Seek Export Success in China

It is my pleasure to be in China, leading USDA’s largest-ever agricultural trade mission in the cities of Chengdu and Shanghai from March 23-28.

Left to right: Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China Mr. Zhang Zhi Gang, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China  He Ji Hai, Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Hua Zhangand at the opening of Tang Jiu Hui Trade Show in Chengdu.  Scuse is currently leading USDA’s largest-ever trade mission delegation in China. Photo Credit: Kirsten Allen

Left to right: Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China Mr. Zhang Zhi Gang, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Ji Hai, Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, Former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce for China He Hua Zhangand at the opening of Tang Jiu Hui Trade Show in Chengdu. Scuse is currently leading USDA’s largest-ever trade mission delegation in China. Photo Credit: Kirsten Allen

I am joined by 39 U.S. businesses representing a wide variety of products, including fresh and frozen produce, dairy, wine, consumer-oriented products, forestry products, and more. Representatives from six state departments of agriculture are also participating, including Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese, and representatives from North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas, and South Dakota. Read more »

D.C. Chef Helps Cultivate Good Nutrition Through Partnership with GreenSchools!, U.S. Forest Service

Forest Service and American Forest Foundation officials help students plant a garden at Barnard Elementary School in Washington, DC.

Mark Haskell has perfected the school garden recipe: a green thumb, a passion for home-grown food, culinary expertise and partnerships with GreenSchools! and the U.S. Forest Service to whip up the excitement of urban school children connecting their garden to the food they eat. Read more »

Minnesota Senior Living Facility Leads to Job Creation, Improved Healthcare Service

Dr. Steven Mulder can’t enter Harmony River Living Center in rural Minnesota without smiling.

Harmony River Senior Living Center, shown in a photo in late February, was financed through USDA’s Community Facilities Program.

Harmony River Senior Living Center, shown in a photo in late February, was financed through USDA’s Community Facilities Program.

The CEO and president of Hutchinson Area Health Care wore an especially large smile during a dedication ceremony for the new senior living facility in late February. “When we broke ground, we imagined what could be,” Mulder said. “We didn’t imagine this.” Read more »

Moroccan Delegation Visits the National Forests in Florida

Fire Management Officer Mike Drayton, left, escorts Driss Misbah, a regional forester in northern Morocco during a prescribe fire demonstration on the Ocala National Forest. Photo Credit: Susan Blake, Public Affairs Specialist, National Forests in Florida

Fire Management Officer Mike Drayton, left, escorts Driss Misbah, a regional forester in northern Morocco during a prescribe fire demonstration on the Ocala National Forest. Photo Credit: Susan Blake, Public Affairs Specialist, National Forests in Florida

Fire experts from the Ocala National Forest and instructors from the Prescribed Fire Training Center in Tallahassee, Fla., recently hosted a delegation of natural resource specialists from the Moroccan Government.

The three-day long program in Florida focused on fire management techniques and observing actual prescribed burns.

“We’ve been cooperating with a Moroccan government agency called the High Commission, an agency akin to the Forest Service as they manage forests and watersheds across their country,” said Natasha Marwah, Middle East and North African Program Specialist with the U.S. Forest Service. “For the past five years, we’ve been providing technical assistance on forest conservation and health, rangeland and watershed management, and most recently, fire management.”

Read more »