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Posts tagged: volunteers

Florida Team Wins State Envirothon Title, Bound for National Competition

The Jupiter High School “Pine People” take a test during the state Envirothon competition. NRCS photo.

The Jupiter High School “Pine People” take a test during the state Envirothon competition. NRCS photo.

They tried year after year for four years at county-level competitions. And as they watched other teams take top honors, they kept at it.

This year their hard work paid off, and those five students from Jupiter High School in Palm Beach County, Florida, made it to the state-level competition and won the Florida Envirothon this spring.

“We couldn’t pull this off without the volunteers who developed the tests and gave them,” said Jennifer Abbey, district conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Plant City, Fla. Read more »

Eat It to Beat It – 2014 Garlic Mustard Challenge

A Petersburg (Virginia) Elementary School student proudly displays his first garlic mustard haul. Volunteers are key to the removal of invasive species, such as the garlic mustard. (U.S. Forest Service)

A Petersburg (Virginia) Elementary School student proudly displays his first garlic mustard haul. Volunteers are key to the removal of invasive species, such as the garlic mustard. (U.S. Forest Service)

Spring is often associated with ramps, rain, flowers and frogs, but on the Monongahela National Forest, the season of rebirth is focused on protecting our woods from garlic mustard.

Garlic mustard is a non-native invasive plant first brought to America by European settlers in the 1800s. They enjoyed eating it because of its zesty garlic-like flavor. They just had no idea that this plant would become one of the biggest threats to the diversity of plants and animals found in our eastern forests.

In an effort to fight the spread of this invasive species, the Monongahela, along with several partners, hosts an annual Garlic Mustard Challenge to increase public awareness about the threat of non-native invasive species and to achieve boots-on-the-ground results.  Last year, elementary school students in Grant County, West Virginia, removed more than 13,000 pounds of garlic mustard from the Monongahela. Read more »

Volunteers Have Fossil Field Find on Forests and Grasslands

Tom Ludwig sits smiling about his discovery among other U.S. Forest Service Passport in Time volunteers while unearthing the 31 inch Triceratops horn core  continues. (U.S. Forest Service)

Tom Ludwig sits smiling about his discovery among other U.S. Forest Service Passport in Time volunteers while unearthing the 31 inch Triceratops horn core continues. (U.S. Forest Service)

Paleontologist Barbara Beasley’s voice filled with excitement as she described a recent dinosaur find on the Thunder Basin National Grassland in northeastern Wyoming.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our Passport in Time volunteers,” she said. “Mother Nature preserved and stored this treasure for more than 65 million years.”

Beasley led a group of 22 volunteers on a fossil excavation project at the Alkali Divide Paleontological Special Interest Area where volunteer Tom Ludwig found the nearly three-foot Triceratops horn. Read more »

Colorado Partners Unite to Fight Summer Hunger

Volunteers distribute sack lunches to children at the New Freedom Park Summer Food Service Program site in Aurora, Colorado.  The lunches are delivered in a school bus by an organization called Lunch Box Express.

Volunteers distribute sack lunches to children at the New Freedom Park Summer Food Service Program site in Aurora, Colorado. The lunches are delivered in a school bus by an organization called Lunch Box Express.

Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, is known for its diversity of businesses and residents.  It is home to establishments ranging from upscale restaurants to motels housing low-income and homeless families. However, the upscale scene doesn’t tell the whole story. Within a two-mile stretch of Colfax, there are an estimated 15,000 children who qualify for free and reduced school meals, which means there are thousands of children who could benefit from a free nutritious meal during the summer.

Several Colorado organizations recognized this high need and joined together with a goal of feeding 1,000 children in the neighborhood this summer. The Colfax Community Network (CCN) is an organization that advocates for children and families living in the area by providing information, services and programs to strengthen and improve family and community life. Read more »

Community Cooperative Market Provides Alaskans with Fresh, Local Food

A new Co-op Market and Deli, centrally located in a former Fairbanks grocery store, is open for business with support from USDA and the Golden Valley Electric Association. Photos by Jane Gibson, USDA.

A new Co-op Market and Deli, centrally located in a former Fairbanks grocery store, is open for business with support from USDA and the Golden Valley Electric Association. Photos by Jane Gibson, USDA.

Alaska’s first member-owned community grocery store is open for business. The Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market was partially funded by the USDA Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants (REDLG) program.

Making this project possible was the Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), a USDA borrower since 1949.  GVEA is the grantee that was awarded a REDLG to fund a revolving loan which was used to help establish the Market. USDA Rural Development Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund traveled to Fairbanks last month to join with community, volunteers and founders in the grand opening of the new Market.   The store has already provided more than 20 new local jobs for residents. Read more »

Bald Eagles Making a Comeback

The banded female “K-02” sits in a tree at Lake Hemet. She was born in captivity at the San Francisco Zoo and hacked at Catalina Islands as part of the bald eagle recovery program. When she left the island, she flew extensively around the pacific states and ultimately landed here at Lake Hemet.

The banded female “K-02” sits in a tree at Lake Hemet. She was born in captivity at the San Francisco Zoo and hacked at Catalina Islands as part of the bald eagle recovery program. When she left the island, she flew extensively around the pacific states and ultimately landed here at Lake Hemet.

Listed as an endangered species in 1967 and ultimately de-listed in 2007, the effort to recover the American Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on national forests has been a rewarding endeavor for the San Bernardino National Forest.

As the district wildlife biologist for the San Jacinto Ranger District, I’ve been fortunate enough to coordinate with the Lake Hemet Municipal Water District to monitor breeding success and to provide viewing opportunities for the public. Lake Hemet, created in 1891, is now home to a pair of beautiful bald eagles. Read more »