Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tours Renmatix's state-of-the-art bioindustrial facility at Renmatix headquarters in King of Prussia, PA on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, and to commission the company’s new multiple-feedstock processing BioFlex Conversion Unit. Photo property of Renmatix.
If you want proof that rural America is a land of limitless opportunity, go to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Last week I accompanied Secretary Vilsack as he toured a state-of-the-art bioindustrial facility in Pennsylvania that converts multiple feedstocks into cellulosic sugars. The plant, operated by Renmatix, will test and convert a range of non-food plant materials through a proprietary process. The goal is to move forward in development of next-generation renewable energy and high value bio-based alternatives to petroleum-based products. It is a goal that bears enormous promise for rural America, potentially creating many thousands of jobs, untold economic activity and new markets. Read more »
Snow surveyors approach SNOTEL site on Mount Hood.
Koeberle’s job carries her over mountains by helicopter and horse, snowshoes and skis. She has encountered grizzly bears, avalanches and wolves and visited ridges that few people have seen.
Koeberle is a hydrologist and snow surveyor for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and works on the agency’s snow survey team—a group of specially trained scientists who maintain snow gauges that are important to farmers, business owners and many other people in the West. Read more »
On April 16, 2012, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer James Schoeffler was on routine patrol on the Pleasant Grove Ranger District which is located on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah. While on foot patrol in a popular recreation area located off Big Springs Trail in Provo Canyon, Schoeffler observed a trip wire that was barely visible along a trail. He then traced out the trip line and found a primitive type “booby trap” that was set to activate when the line was “tripped.” The device consisted of a large rock fashioned with sharpened sticks to create a large spiked ball that would potentially hit an unsuspected victim in the chest or head. Schoeffler quickly dismantled the trap and continued to check the area. During his search he discovered another trip line that was designated to send an individual falling onto a bed of sharpened wooden spikes protruding from the ground. Schoeffler dismantled this “booby trap” as well.
It was Schoeffler’s sharp eyesight, knowledge and good timing that kept someone from wandering into the traps, located about a half mile from the recreation area’s parking lot. These traps could have easily severely injured, maimed, or even killed someone recreating in the area. It just so happens that a child’s birthday party was being celebrated in the area on the day that Schoeffler discovered the traps. Read more »
Dixie National Forest employees participate in the Parowan 4th of July Parade and many other community events in Utah to hand out free maps that show designated off-highway vehicle roads and trails on the forest.
Hauling a trailer emblazoned with a forest scene and large map, the Dixie National Forest “Got Map” traveling crew made stops across Utah, passing out 60,000 free maps, talking to people about using off-highway vehicles in the forest and engaging the public in the work to designate motorized travel routes for 4-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles.
“With our new motorized travel plan across the forest, there’s over 2,700 miles of open routes for the public to come and enjoy this world class scenery and recreation,” said Nick Glidden, Motorized Travel Plan Implementation Team Leader on the Dixie National Forest. Read more »
When President Obama recently called on federal agencies to help young people find more work in the great outdoors, the U.S. Forest Service – with 193 million acres of prime outdoor space —responded quickly with jobs for hundreds of underserved youths.
The America’s Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists initiative will fund 20 projects, providing more than 500 young people with the experience of a lifetime working on public lands this summer work season. The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced $3.7 million in competitive grants through the initiative. Read more »
Each year, USDA Rural Development assists thousands of limited income Americans achieve the dream of homeownership. We do it with the support of our partners and our field staff. Below, cross-posted from the White House website, is the story of one person in Utah who teamed with USDA to make a big difference.
Cross posted from the White House Champions of Change website:
Emily S. Niehaus is the Founder and Executive Director of Community Rebuilds, a nonprofit whose mission is to build energy-efficient housing, provide education on sustainability, and improve the housing conditions of the workforce through an affordable program.
In 2008, Presidential candidate Barack Obama declared “Yes We Can.” I, along with millions of other Americans, was inspired by this approach to politics. I understood this message to be a partnership request. I had a role to play. And so I founded Community Rebuilds to address an affordable housing need in my rural community with the larger goal of shifting the existing construction paradigm to have a lighter impact. Community Rebuilds’ mission is to build energy-efficient housing, provide education on sustainability, and improve the housing conditions of the workforce through an affordable program. Read more »