Launch of “Traveler’s Don’t Pack a Pest” outreach campaign at Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica. From left: Damion Crawford, Minister of State, Jamaica Ministry of Tourism; Shannon Shepp, Deputy Commissioner, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Dr. Raymond Brown, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of United States, Kingston, Jamaica; Jennifer Lemly, Director, Greater Caribbean Safeguarding Initiative, USDA/APHIS; Dr. Marc Panton, Chief Technical Director, Jamaica Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; and Major Richard Reese, Commissioner of Customs, Jamaica Customs.
The “Don’t Pack a Pest” campaign went international last month as Jamaica enthusiastically kicked off its own version of the outreach initiative in Montego Bay and Kingston. The Florida-based program warns the public about the risks of bringing undeclared agricultural products—and hitchhiking invasive pests—from one country to another. It’s a cooperative effort among the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and now the Jamaica Ministry of Agriculture. Read more »
The National Forests in Florida hosted Native American teenagers from the Florida Indian Youth Program on the Apalachicola National Forest. The program, sponsored by the Florida Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs focuses on job skills, academic skills, life-skills, social and cultural activities.
Their eyes wide open and their minds prepped to learn, a group of Native American youths from Florida recently glimpsed the skills and knowledge needed for Forest Service careers during a field trip to the Apalachicola National Forest.
Forest professionals from civil engineering, landscape architecture, archaeology and recreation escorted teenagers from the Florida Indian Youth Program during their visit. The teens got the stories behind several hiking, biking and fishing day-use areas on the forest. The goal was to give the teens insight in the process of creating user-friendly recreation sites. From idea, to planning, to execution, the employees presented the stages involved in site development. Read more »
View of the Apalachicola River from Fort Gadsden located on the river’s east bank. The site is the only historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Region. Photo Credit: Forest Service photo
Nestled in the southwest corner of Florida’s Apalachicola National Forest sits a historic fort known today as Fort Gadsden—the only historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Region.
The fort served as a Native American trading post, a British fort, as U.S. Fort Gadsden, and as a Confederate fort during the Civil War. The fort was also used as a safe haven for runaway slaves travelling the Underground Railroad, which ran south to Spanish Florida prior to 1821. Read more »
FNCS Under Secretary Kevin Concannon and FNS SERO Regional Administrator Don Arnette meet the Student Wellness Team from North Beach Elementary School, Miami Beach, Fla., during a recent visit to the school. (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).
North Beach Elementary School in Miami Beach, Florida was recently recognized by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service as a HealthierUS School Challenge award winner for their outstanding school meal service. While there, we learned about the school’s wellness program which contributes significantly to a healthy learning environment.
“The school wellness activities have helped lead the way in the fight against obesity,” said Michele Rivera, Physical Education/Wellness Coordinator for North Beach Elementary School. “We have countless activities in our school led by students, parents, administrators and community members who share a passion to make our school a healthier place to learn. Students have numerous opportunities, beginning in Pre-K, to learn how to eat healthy and to understand the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.” Read more »
Steve Barlow standing in the longleaf pine forest that he is restoring.
Levy County, on Florida’s “Nature Coast,” is home to a variety of ecosystems, from dense hardwood forests and marsh lands to sand hills and Gulf Coast waters.
The historic Suwannee River borders the north end of the county, while the meandering Withlacoochee River winds through the southern part. Both eventually drain into the Gulf of Mexico, and runoff from agricultural land ending up in the two rivers can carry soil, pesticides and nutrients to the Gulf. Read more »
US Kevin Concannon and Miami-Dade County School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho talk with students from North Beach Elementary School, Miami, FL, on August 23, 2012, during lunch. (USDA photo by Debbie Smoot).
I recently had the pleasure of visiting North Beach Elementary School in Miami to recognize 177 schools in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools District for their efforts to promote good nutrition and physical activity to their students. All 177 schools achieved Bronze Awards in the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). Miami-Dade now has the honor of having the second largest number of HUSSC awards in any one school district in the entire nation. Read more »