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Coast To Coast National GO Day Events Occurred In Support Of Let’s Move Outside

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

The U.S. Forest Service and community partners have been encouraging children and their families across the country to spend time reconnecting with nature, trying new recreation activities and just having some good fun. The effort is called National Get Outdoors Day, or GO Day.

The Forest Service has a bounty of children’s programs to help connect children to their natural environment, all of which support two key priorities of the Obama administration: President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative that seeks to connect people to the outdoors and creates partnerships between the federal government and American communities on conservation issues; and the Let’s Move! Outside campaign launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, which strives to offset childhood obesity through outdoor activities and healthier lifestyles. The agency also has collaborated with the Ad Council to develop a new public service announcement called “Unplug,” which is part of Discover the Forest campaign. Nationwide, more than 80 Forest Service locations will be providing free recreational and educational activities. Many events are designed to better engage urban and multicultural youth in nature-based activities and attract first-time visitors to public lands. Read more »

National Pollinator Week Success Story: NRCS Helps Farmer Create Pollinator Habitat in Mississippi

A butterfly gathers nectar from a mimosa flower in Adams County.

A butterfly gathers nectar from a mimosa flower in Adams County.

Along the lush banks of the Sunflower River, Steve Martens has a slice of paradise. The Madison, Miss. resident owns 1,600 acres of farmland and forests, hospitable not only to soybeans and corn, but also to whitetail deer and bobwhite quail. Read more »

June Is Dairy Month: A Time to Salute America’s Dairy Farmers

America’s dairy cows, putting milk, cheese, butter and yogurt on the table. (Photo courtesy of NRCS)

America’s dairy cows, putting milk, cheese, butter and yogurt on the table. (Photo courtesy of NRCS)

As we celebrate National Dairy Month, I’d like to recognize dairy producers across California and around the nation for their productivity and innovation. Read more »

Saving Taxpayer Money through Nutrition Assistance Delivery

Saving taxpayer money is an important focal point today, not just here in Washington, but in living rooms all across the country.  At USDA, we’re achieving this by improving the way Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are being delivered to millions of low-income Americans.

Providing nutrition for struggling individuals and families is the primary focus of the program, but the June 16 announcement of SNAP payment accuracy rates documented by states underscores the Obama administration’s ongoing effort to make government more accountable to the American people. Read more »

Old Fashioned Success in the 21st Century

Todnechia Mitchell, NRCS district conservationist in Milam County, works the reins to control the only horsepower used to plow and cultivate fields on Sand Creek Farm in Cameron, Texas. Ben Godfrey, farm owner and organic producer, walks behind Mitchell, guiding the draft horses that are pulling a potato planter.

Todnechia Mitchell, NRCS district conservationist in Milam County, works the reins to control the only horsepower used to plow and cultivate fields on Sand Creek Farm in Cameron, Texas. Ben Godfrey, farm owner and organic producer, walks behind Mitchell, guiding the draft horses that are pulling a potato planter.

“Out with the old, in with the new” isn’t the rule of thumb at Sand Creek Farm in Cameron, Texas. Ben Godfrey, the organic farmer who owns the farm, has used the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a conservation program administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), to help increase the environmental benefits on his farm in Milam County. Read more »

APHIS Pleased With Animal Evacuations At Two Flood-Ravaged North Dakota Zoos

In late May, two zoos in central North Dakota were hit hard by flooding.  The disaster prompted the need for a swift evacuation of the animals.  In Bismarck, the Missouri River threatened to submerge the Dakota Zoo and its 500+ animals under as much as seven feet of water, and in Minot the Roosevelt Park Zoo was a potential target of the rising Souris River, which runs directly through the city.

During the height of the flooding, APHIS’ Animal Care Program monitored reports coming from the zoos and kept abreast of river levels.  Inspector Amy Jirsa-Smith contacted zoo officials regularly. She was on-site at both facilities, and helped corral some animals at the Dakota Zoo so they could be transported to other facilities.  However, she is quick to point out that the zoo staff at both facilities, with the assistance of several cooperating state and local agencies, state veterinarians, four neighboring zoos and the National Guard, had everything under control. Read more »