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Urban Trees are Hard at Work in Washington, D.C.

My team at the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station recently completed a study of the District of Columbia’s urban forest using the publicly available, free iTree software suite. Understanding an urban forest’s structure, function and value can promote management decisions that will improve human health and environmental quality. Urban trees clean our air, capture stormwater and provide huge energy savings. Read more »

Let the Voting Begin – Recipes for Healthy Kids Competition Advances

Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:

We know that to win the future, we have to ensure that our kids have access to nutritious meals and healthy lifestyles.

Last September, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition to bring together chefs, school nutrition professionals, students and parents who work in teams to develop nutritious, delicious, kid-approved recipes for use in schools. Read more »

Pet Waste Disposal Systems Help Protect Water Quality

Dog waste that isn’t cleaned up isn’t just a hazard for the bottom of your shoes—it is also a cause of pollution in creeks, rivers and lakes across the country. Dog waste contains nitrogen and phosphorus, which can deplete oxygen that fish and other water-based life need to survive, as well as encourage the growth of harmful algae. It is also considered a significant source of pathogens like fecal coliform, a disease-causing bacteria. Read more »

Flood – and Drought – Tolerant Rice Feeds the World

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the U.S. Department of Agriculture blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the agency’s rich science and research portfolio.

I had it for dinner last night, and I’m sure more than a few of you did as well. For billions of people around the world, rice is the cornerstone of their diet. When so many people depend upon a particular crop it becomes even more important to protect it, especially from problems we can’t control, like the weather. Researchers have worked for years to breed rice that can withstand unpredictable flooding, and recently have they been successful. Read more »

Breaking Ground for the New Milton Public Library in Pennsylvania Funded by USDA through the Recovery Act

Jack Kauffman, USDA Rural Development Area Director (left), Board members of the Milton Public Library: Amy DeHart Woodcock (center)  and John Meckley (right) and local resident Spencer Garvey (front) at the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Milton Public Library.

Jack Kauffman, USDA Rural Development Area Director (left), Board members of the Milton Public Library: Amy DeHart Woodcock (center) and John Meckley (right) and local resident Spencer Garvey (front) at the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Milton Public Library.

Spencer Garvey, a young resident of Milton, Pennsylvania, is looking forward to visiting the children’s library at the new Milton Public Library at Rose Hill, where stakeholders and local officials broke ground last week.  By early next year, the historic mansion in the heart of Milton will be transformed into an 11,000 square-foot library and community center with dedicated space for educational and cultural programs. Read more »

School Breakfast Week Signals a Time to Invest in our Future

Breakfast matters!  And starting the day on a nutritious note enables our children to learn better and acquire the energy needed for academic success.

To amplify that message, this week USDA celebrates School Breakfast Week to ensure our nation’s children have the best opportunity to prosper in school and in their futures. Read more »