This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
When I look at tree leaves, the stems always strike me as remarkable. Although typically slender, they’re pretty resilient, firmly anchoring the leaves to the branches to withstand the extreme whims of Mother Nature.
In the same way that stems provide a sturdy foundation so that the leaves can make food for the tree, science, technology, engineering, and math (frequently referred to as STEM) education provides a strong base for a wide range of activities. Read more »
The Lake Holcombe High School in Holcombe, Wisconsin recently upgraded its science classroom as a result of a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Economic Impact Initiative Grant. Holcombe is a small rural community in the northwest area of the state. The science classroom was outdated, making it difficult for the teachers to keep pace with new curriculum requirements and for students to conduct the necessary science experiments for that curriculum.
The newly redesigned science classroom is now compliant with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is similar to other high school science classrooms in the state. A tank was also installed, along with new plumbing, to provide treatment for the chemical waste generated from science-related class work. Now, the science curriculum can be expanded to offer experiences and experiments to the students that are equivalent with other science courses offered to their peers in the state. In addition, new flooring, counters tops, bench fuel valves, sinks, and cabinets were installed, bringing the classroom into the 21st century. The 2013-2014 school year will be the first full year that the students will have access to the improvements. Read more »
U.S. Forest Service Southern Region Endangered Species Specialist Dennis Krusac talks pollination with Mary Kalafut, her son Michael (left) and Edward Lynch at Ford Elementary School’s recent Evening in the Garden event.
In Acworth, Ga., children at Ford Elementary School live almost every child’s dream – outdoor classrooms and science labs in a butterfly garden.
The school was selected as one of 64 U.S. Department of Education’s National Green Ribbon Schools for 2013. The department’s recognition program honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education. The Ford school program focuses on a broad array of environmental and science education goals and involves students, teachers and parents as volunteers in hands-on learning experiences to educate students.
Among the volunteers are Dennis Krusac, an endangered species specialist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Region in Atlanta, and Jackie Belwood, Krusac’s wife and an assistant professor of biology with Georgia Highlands College. Read more »
Testing and analyzing thousands of shattered Major League bats, U.S. Forest Service researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) developed changes in manufacturing that decreased the rate of shattered maple bats by more than 50 percent since 2008. While the popularity of maple bats is greater today than ever before, the number of shattered bats continues to decline. Photo Courtesy of MLB Advanced Media.
Rate of shattered maple bats down 50 percent.
In 2008, Major League Baseball (MLB) came to the U.S. Forest Service, asking our Forest Products Laboratory to investigate why baseball bats were increasingly shattering into multiple pieces on contact.
The Forest Service team, led by David Kretschmann, dug in, swung for the fences and scored big time! Read more »
Getting a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill passed this year is essential – and it can’t fall victim to politics as usual. Too much is at stake, and too many people lose out if Congress can’t act. Here are 10 good reasons why Congress must take action as soon as possible to achieve passage of a Farm Bill this year:
1. America’s farmers, ranchers and producers need certainty about the next five years of U.S. farm policy, to continue the recent momentum of the U.S. agricultural economy and rising farm income. Read more »
2013 is the International Year of Statistics. As part of this global event, every month this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will profile careers of individuals who are making significant contributions to improve agricultural statistics in the United States.
Growing up on a small general crop and livestock farm in central Minnesota cultivated my enthusiasm for agriculture. Even then I knew I wanted to do something related to agriculture but I also knew the value of getting a good education. I attended the University of Minnesota to earn my undergraduate degree, after which I earned a Master of Science degree at North Dakota State University.
College provided me with skills in mathematics and agriculture but like most college graduates, no job. This is where the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) came into the picture. I joined the agency’s North Dakota field office as an agricultural statistician, allowing me to keep in touch with agriculture. Next I worked in the Idaho field office and then on to Washington, D.C. where I worked in both crops and livestock areas, finally settling into my current position as Chief of the Livestock Branch in 2001. Read more »