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Thurgood Marshall College Fund Students Gain Experience with APHIS Wildlife Services

Thurgood Marshall College Fund interns Joseph Williams (left) and Aaron Thomas.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund interns Joseph Williams (left) and Aaron Thomas.

For Joseph Williams and Aaron Thomas, the experience couldn’t have been better.

“I’m from Tuskegee University in Alabama, and I never thought I’d experience all four seasons in one day,” notes Aaron, a student intern with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) program. Read more »

US Forest Service Uses Old Land Deeds to See Forests of Long Ago

Trees on historic survey maps were used to determine property lines (photo credit: Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy, U.S. Forest Service)

Trees on historic survey maps were used to determine property lines (photo credit: Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy, U.S. Forest Service)

Forest restoration would be a lot easier if people who lived a couple of centuries ago could just tell us about the forest as they knew it.

For Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy, a U.S. Forest Service scientist, using original land deeds from colonial America is as close as you can get to actually being there. Based in Parsons, W.Va., Thomas-Van Gundy is using a unique digitized dataset built with original land deeds to determine what a West Virginia forest looked like before European settlement. Read more »

AMS Dairy Program’s Virtual Intern Program Recognized as a “Bright Idea”

AMS Dairy Virtual Intern Program Team Lead Dora Flores communicates with virtual intern Daman Wandke.  The team was one of 111 programs honored with a 2012 Harvard University Bright Ideas initiative award.

AMS Dairy Virtual Intern Program Team Leads Sarah Buikema and Dora Flores communicate with their student interns. The program allows interns to work with the agency on a part-time basis as they continue their education at schools all across the country.

I am pleased to say that our Dairy Programs’ Virtual Intern Program (VIP) was recently honored by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Our team was among 111 programs honored by the school’s Bright Ideas initiative.  The initiative, part of the Innovations in American Government Awards program, promotes creative government ventures and partnerships while creating an online community where innovative ideas can be proposed, shared and disseminated. Read more »

USDA, Other Federal Partners, Meet with Tribal Leaders at Alaska’s Capital

Last month, representatives of several federal agencies held a meeting with the federally recognized tribes in Southeast Alaska. The meeting, in Alaska’s capital city of Juneau, was the fifth in a series of government-to-government Tribal Collaboration Meetings scheduled with tribes in Alaska. The venue for the meeting between federal officials and tribal leaders was the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Vocational Training and Resource Center.

Tribal representatives and other partners from the region used the session to discuss issues affecting their villages. Leaders from USDA Rural Development, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, Small Business Administration, Housing and Urban Development, the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and Intertribal Agriculture Council were on hand to listen and participate in the dialogue. Read more »

Five Tips for the Kickoff to Citrus Health

Ready, set, hike! With football season upon us, we want to help you “kick off” your citrus’ health. Whether you are a rookie or seasoned veteran when it comes to growing fruit, following these simple tips can help your citrus have a winning season.

1. Draft an all-pro citrus team

Dwarf varieties are often preferable for backyard growing because they take up less space, do not grow as tall, and are easier and safer to pick. When purchasing citrus trees, buying a healthy tree from a reputable seller is critical. If you are ordering a citrus tree, make sure the nursery or shipper is in compliance with federal quarantine restrictions. Read more »

USDA Rural Development Energy Funds Help a Puerto Rican Paint Manufacturer run on 100 percent Solar Power

This solar electric system, funded in part through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program has reduced a Puerto Rican Paint company’s electric bill from $180,000/year to zero.

This solar electric system, funded in part through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program has reduced a Puerto Rican Paint company’s electric bill from $180,000/year to zero.

On September 13, Master Paints & Chemical Corporation located in the Municipality of Guayanila, Puerto Rico realized their goal when they became independent of the use of fossil fuel sources energy.

Master Paint & Chemical Corp is a local rural paint manufacturer that employs 260 people. This company represents one of the main jobs sources in the municipality. In the past, the cost of electricity totaled more than $180,000 annually. Energy savings in this area became a priority to grantee. With the installation of this system, the company will save 100 percent in yearly energy costs. Read more »