NASA Goddard Space Flight Center employee Bahe Rock gives the blessing at USDA's Native American Heritage Month Observance in the Jefferson Auditorium at the USDA South Building in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012.
I was honored last week to participate in the annual Native American Heritage Month observance at USDA’s Jefferson Auditorium. A near-capacity crowd watched as the Vietnam Era Veterans Intertribal Association presented the colors. That gesture was especially fitting, given this year’s theme of “Serving with Honor, Pride and Devotion: Country, Land and People.”
Following the blessing, given by Bahe Rock of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources Arthur “Butch” Blazer, a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, read a letter of support on behalf of Secretary Vilsack and noted that “When President Obama issued a proclamation designating November as Native American Heritage Month, it made me proud to be an American and a Native American.” He spoke of the continuing efforts of the Secretary to promote diversity in hiring at USDA. Read more »
Photo of Mars courtesy NASA
Accurately measuring atmospheric gas swirls as they interact with the atmosphere and the ground is a complicated process on this planet — let alone Mars. But this is exactly what U.S. Forest Service scientist Bill Massman will be doing for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. Read more »
ForWarn maps normal forest conditions as blue and change from normal as shades that range from green to red. This map shows that the greater part of Texas and Oklahoma were experiencing severe forest stress in late September of 2011 from the effects of drought and wildfire.
The Forest Service recently unveiled a product that helps natural resource managers rapidly detect, identify and respond to unexpected changes in the nation’s forests by using web-based tools.
The satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool aptly called ForWarn, recognizes and tracks potential forest disturbances caused by insects, diseases, wildfires, extreme weather, or other natural or human-caused events believed by many scientists to be caused in part by climate change. Read more »
On January 9, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack put forth USDA’s “Blueprint for Stronger Service” which focuses on streamlining operations and cutting costs throughout the Department.
The “Blueprint for Stronger Service” calls for USDA to close 259 domestic offices, facilities and laboratories, as well as taking business-related actions such as consolidating cell phone plans across the Department, standardizing civil rights training and purchase of cybersecurity products, and centralizing activities related to civil rights, human resources, procurement and property management. Read more »
Air carriers, farmers, fuel refiners and government leaders met in Columbus, Ohio, recently to explore the future of aviation fuels made from farm-grown energy crops. Hosted by USDA’s Ohio Rural Development office and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, representatives of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and the Air Transport Association briefed Ohio stakeholder groups and state and federal officials on efforts underway in the airline industry to create a clean, reliable and cost-competitive supply of renewable jet biofuels to bring stability to petroleum-based aviation fuel market. Read more »