Chips’ savior - Mad River Hand Crew superintendent, Tad Hair. US Forest Service photo
While conducting patrol and mop-up operations on the north end of the Chips Fire burning on the Plumas and Lassen National Forests in Northern California on Aug. 25, the Mad River Hand Crew encountered a remarkable sight; a baby bobcat! It was found wandering along the side of the road, alone and dazed. “It seemed to be confused,” said Tad Hair, the Mad River Hand Crew superintendent who spotted the kit.
According to Hair, it was the size of a domestic kitten and seemed to have impaired vision, perhaps from the smoke and ash in its eyes. “It was walking in circles near a stump” said Hair. Once they verified that there were no obvious physical injuries on the kit the crew attempted to walk away, but she swiftly followed the sounds of their movements. Each time the crew would stop, she would curl up on Hair’s boots, snuggling into his chaps. Read more »
Local young people prepare the ground for tree plantings at the Urban Releaf ceremony in Oakland, Calif., on Aug. 20.
Urban forests are a vital part of our nation’s cities – they clean the air we breathe, capture pollution and stormwater and beautify our neighborhoods. Urban trees save cities millions of dollars in energy costs every year just from shade alone. U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has called urban trees “the hardest working trees in America.”
Tidwell underscored that statement during a recent visit Oakland, Calif. to view Urban Releaf’s greening and community-building efforts. He presented Kemba Shakur, executive director, a check for $181,000 to support education and demonstrations projects, as well as tree planting and maintenance throughout the Oakland area. Read more »
Deep inside the San Rafael Wilderness, employees from the Los Padres National Forest are working to inventory centuries-old Chumash sacred sites impacted by devastating wildfires.
Despite closure orders that restrict public access in America’s first congressionally designated wilderness, forest officials are concerned that site barriers and interpretive signs charred in the fires no longer adequately protect these vulnerable sites from further degradation.
Los Padres Tribal Liaison Pete Crowheart and Forest Archaeologist Loreen Lomax recently led a team of resource specialists on a 10-mile, nine-hour hike to evaluate two sites scorched in the 2007 Zaca Fire. They documented the extent of the damage and developed ideas for repairing the barriers and signs. One of California’s largest wildfires, the Zaca burned 237,000 acres over nine weeks. Fire-cost recovery funds recently secured by the forest are fueling restoration projects within the Zaca’s massive footprint. Read more »
A Kids Zone added fun with face painting and other activities during planting at the Urban Tilth Edible Forest in Richmond, Calif. Other highlights were the community barbeque and a “make your own soda” used to teach children how much sugar goes into their favorite beverage.
This year, more than 80 volunteers worked together to plant 20 trees, 117 native and edible understory plants, and more than 600 butterfly garden plants as part of the Cesar Chavez Community Garden Day celebration at the Edible Forest garden on the Richmond Greenway, a 2.8-mile trail in Contra Costa County, Calif. Read more »
Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan tours Driscoll’s Cassin Ranch in Watsonville, Calif on May 18.
Last Friday I visited Watsonville, California. As people know, I like to get outside the Beltway and visit with people to see how USDA programs are working. My first stop was Driscoll’s Cassin Ranch, the site of the company’s plant breeding program. We had a roundtable discussion about the many water management challenges faced in the Pajaro Valley watershed. The Pajaro Valley aquifer, like too many others, is over-drafted and saltwater is intruding into the groundwater. But action is being taken. The Pajaro Valley Community Water Dialogue, a multi-stakeholder forum, is engaged in a series of managed aquifer recharge projects. Not only does Driscoll’s participate in the Dialogue, but on its own, the company is also creating a new water monitoring process that is sure to improve irrigation efficiency amongst its growers. Following our roundtable, I joined Carmela Beck (to my left) and others on a tour of the Bokariza recharge project. Carmela is a member of the USDA National Organic Standards Board and is the manager of Driscoll’s national organic program. Read more »
During an early April annual volunteer awards ceremony held in Clovis, Calif., the Sierra National Forest recognized the dedication, commitment and accomplishments of more than 400 individuals and groups that provided services valued at more than $770,000 to the forest in 2011.
“Our volunteers contributed over 35,000 hours of their personal time. Their contributions are essential to our mission of ensuring forest health,” said Scott G. Armentrout, Forest Supervisor for the Sierra National Forest. “Their great ideas, hard work and inspiration toward ‘caring for the land and serving people’ helps to ensure our success.” Read more »