“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness . . .We all have the drum major instinct.”
Excerpt from The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Drum Major Instinct” sermon, given on February 4, 1968.
USDA employees came together for an inspirational ceremony last week to commemorate today’s day of remembrance and service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Secretary Vilsack declared the first ever USDA Day of Service and challenged all employees to volunteer in their communities. Secretary Vilsack reminded the audience of Dr. King’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and the importance of keeping his legacy of service alive. He challenged everyone to make service a part of their everyday lives.
Read more »
Working as an Earth Team volunteer, Cartographic Technician Jonathan Bowlin pulls trash from a stream near his office in Greensboro, N.C.
Employees of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) work every day to help private landowners improve environmental quality on their properties. So when staff at the NRCS East Remote Sensing Lab (ERSL) in Greensboro, N.C. noticed a stream near their building had become a dumping ground, they took it upon themselves to address the problem. Read more »
Last week, I announced a Blueprint for Stronger Service at USDA. It is our effort to make sure that in this era of reduced budgets, the folks who live, work and raise their families in rural America don’t see reduced services from the Department.
Over the past three years, USDA has made significant investments in rural America and supported farmers and ranchers. Today the farm economy is thriving, with record income and exports – and the unemployment figure in rural America has fallen faster than in other parts of the country. Read more »
Okay, Times Square, you had your big New Year’s Eve bash. Now it’s time to usher in the Asian Lunar New Year—the Year of the Dragon—which starts on January 23. Many Asian Americans and their friends are looking forward to enjoying traditional foods, gifts, and parades during this holiday of great cultural significance.
If you’re in on the celebration, you may find it tempting to import tastes of Asia for the festivities. You may be ordering online or bringing food back from a trip overseas. USDA is eager to provide you with the information you need to ensure that these items won’t harm America’s agricultural and natural resources. Some agricultural items from certain Asian countries could be carrying pests or diseases that could seriously damage America’s crops, livestock, forests, rangeland, or community landscapes. Avoiding these items will help make the Year of the Dragon a prosperous and happy one. Read more »
Mark Twery, a supervisory research forester on the Northern Research Station
How does a former dancer and theater technician end up in a career in forestry? Meet Mark Twery, a supervisory research forester on the Northern Research Station in Burlington, Vt., who is not only all of the above, but loves his unique job that incorporates forestry with dance. Read more »
Mahogany seeds, one of the species the Dominican Republic is trying to reforest. (Photo courtesy of Toby Bloom, U.S. Forest Service)
Everyone wants to have a full bank account — including bank accounts that hold seeds.
The U.S. Forest Service recently held a workshop with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources in Dry Branch, Ga., focusing on ways to increase the capacity to develop and maintain a seed bank for reforestation in the Dominican Republic.
The workshop discussed methods and approaches to compiling the seeds and best practices for preservation. The workshop included seed biology and procedures that contribute towards the success of the bank. Dry Branch is the home of the USFS National Seed Laboratory. Participants of the workshop will manage the Nigua Seed Bank in the Dominican Republic. Official protocols for seed purity throughout the Dominican Republic were drafted for the new seed bank based on workshop outcomes.
Technical expertise was provided by the Forest Service with the help of an agreement with the US Agency for International Development. Through the agreement, the Forest Service aids in equipment administration as well as the training of staff and facility management.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Dominican Republic enacted the Forestry Action Plan in 1991 that established the goal of becoming a self-sufficient timber and fuelwood producer by 2016. The seed laboratory work will contribute to the achievement of this goal and the forestry improvements that the nation plans to make towards reforestation.
In November, an unprecedented Presidential Decree was passed to solidify the Government’s commitment to biological diversity and protected area habitat conservation. The seed bank workshop contributed to these goals.
For more information on these and other projects, take a look at the U.S. Forest Service International Programs website.