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HomeState & Private Forestry News
May 2018 
From the Director
Kathleen Atkinson,
Area Director
(Forest Service photo)

Leadership Note

For the past six years, I've looked forward to our annual Combined Eastern Leadership Team meeting. It is a time when all three branches of the Forest Service come together to look for ways to further collaborate in support of shared goals. It has taken on even greater meaning to me over the past couple of years as I've served as Area Director and Regional Forester.

Working Together:
We had the opportunity last week to learn about a number of projects that have benefitted from our collaborative efforts. One example is that for nearly 90 years, the Bartlett Experimental Forest has supported the White Mountain National Forest with important scientific information that has served as the basis for many of the White Mountain's management decisions. The benefits of that relationship are clearly visible in images shown of lands before and after the Weeks Act . Another example is how the Wayne National Forest has taken a shared stewardship approach to the revision of the Forest Plan, collaborating with the Northern Research Station on a regional scientific framework and Northeastern Area as the forest works towards alignment with state action plans and coordination of project level planning across all lands in southeast Ohio to achieve collective outcomes.

We also discussed the benefits that come when we are able to effectively tell our story. Meg Roessing from the Washington Office and Suzanne Flory from Region 9 discussed when, why and how we work with Congress. What we say matters and by coordinating our interactions with our Congressional Relations Specialists we can promote greater understanding of the Forest Service mission among members of Congress, Congressional committees and their staffs.
One area where we would like to increase collaboration is Environmental Analysis and Decision Making (EADM). Our efforts to improve processes has been progressing since last fall and we have been working at all levels to thoroughly identify and consider areas of opportunity. During our time in Madison, we discussed how the Northeastern Area, Northern Research Station, and Region 9 each have a different vantage point to the issues and approaches of EADM and how we can better leverage our collective strengths and expertise to improve EADM processes across our shared landscape.

Improving Our Workplace Environment:
This year we focused a lot of time and energy exploring our work environment and ways to move forward in the Northeast and Midwest to encourage a respectful and safe environment free of harassment of any kind. We are committed to moving forward, implementing national policies, procedures and training, while also championing positive culture change. In Madison, we discussed the creation of a network of Change Champions throughout the Northeast and Midwest. An organizational plan is in development that will include training, meetings, and best practices. Change Champions will assist with communication of national efforts and the development of specific regional and unit level efforts to improve our workplace environment. We want employees at all levels to have the opportunity to lead our change efforts so stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks on how you can become a Change Champion.
To kick start this effort, towards the end of June we will spend 30-days focusing on our interactions with others. Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect, and throughout the 30-days we will share simple tips that everyone can do to help promote positive behavioral and organizational change. This dignity and respect effort will be a building block as we continue moving forward to stand up for each other and create the workplace environment we all deserve.

Update from the Interim Chief:
Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen joined us via videoconference for a couple of hours to share insights on a number of topics. She provided an update on efforts at a national level to address harassment, bullying and retaliation in the Forest Service. As part of a 30-day Stand up for Each Other Action Plan, listening sessions took place throughout the country, with the goal of encouraging respectful straight talk to uncover hard truths and what we need to move forward. A national Standing Together Against Harassment SharePoint site is now live , in addition to a webpage , which provides structural resources and information about the harassment reporting center. The week of June 11, Stand up for Each Other sessions will be held throughout the country that will include:
  • Anti-harassment training
  • Rollout of Forest Service code of conduct - This is who we are
  • Bystander training
Interim Chief Christiansen also shared insights about the Fire Funding Fix in the Omnibus Bill that comes with increased responsibility and accountability. It is now incumbent upon us to show results.
I appreciate Interim Chief Christiansen's insights and share her commitment to do what it takes to improve our workplace and need your help. More information will be coming soon in terms of exact dates and locations for the Stand up for Each Other session. In the meantime, I invite you to share your thoughts and suggestions via .

- Kathleen Atkinson, Area Director, Northeastern Area and Regional Forester, Eastern Region 
New Hampshire Launches Environmental Learning Mobile Gaming App
A woman stands behind a child while showing how to use a compass.
Learning how to use a compass at Agents of Discovery Field Day at the Urban Forestry Center, Portsmouth, NH. (U.S. Forest Service photo by Susan M. Cox)

Susan Cox, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

The U.S. Forest Service partnered with the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands to launch the mobile app Agents of Discovery on Earth Day, April 22, 2018, at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, NH. Read the entire Agents of Discovery article.

Meet Sunny Lucas, New St. Paul Forest Health Group Leader
A woman poses for a picture with a dog.
Sunny Lucas will lead the St. Paul Field Office Forest Health Group starting in May. (Courtesy photo provided by Sunny Lucas)

Devin Wanner, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

The U.S. Forest Service welcomes Sunny Lucas to its St. Paul, MN, Field Office as the new Forest Health Group Leader. Sunny grew up outside Milwaukee, WI, and moved to Seattle, WA, to attend college. She has a B.S. in Botany and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Washington in Seattle. It was in the Pacific Northwest that she fell in love with the forest. Read Sunny's full bio.
Developing Seed Zones for the Eastern U.S.

Carolyn Pike, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

Five people sit under a tree's canopy while talking.
Small group discussion outside the Good Barn facility at University of Kentucky Lexington. (U.S. Forest Service photo by Carolyn Pike)

The U.S. Forest Service and partners have undertaken work to develop seed zones that can be used by all agencies and companies that plant trees or other plants in natural settings. The group is working towards creating a map and a database to help seed dealers define the home origin of plant material that they procure. The group tasked with developed seed zones is known as the Eastern Seed Zone Forum. Read the full seed zone development story.
Emerald Ash Borer Treatments on Nature Conservancy and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Property
People kayak down a tree-lined river.
Kayaking was the easiest mode of transportation to inspect and treat ash trees. (U.S. Forest Service photo by Karen Felton)

Karen Felton, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area 
State and Private Forestry

On April 24 and 25, 2018, Northeastern Area Entomologist Karen Felton joined personnel from The Nature Conservatory (TNC), Maryland Department of Agriculture Forest Pest Management, Maryland Forest Service, and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to treat green and pumpkin ash trees on TNC property on the Marshyhope Creek and Blackwater NWR property on the Nanticoke River on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Read the entire emerald ash borer treatment article .
Tree Cover Declining in US

From Inside the Forest Service 

Scientists estimate that between 2009 and 2014, tree cover in the nation's urban/community areas declined by 0.7 percent, which translates to an estimated 36 million trees, or approximately 175,000 acres of tree cover annually. Pavement and other impervious cover increased at a rate of about 167,000 acres a year during the same period, according to research. Read the entire Forest Service research article about tree cover decline.  

Researchers Examine Use, Benefits of Chicago's Elevated Trail

From Inside the Forest Service 

People bike and walk along a trail.
Pedestrians and cyclists share the 606 trail in Chicago, Ill. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

"The 606" is the world's first multi-use elevated trail, extending for 2.7 miles through diverse neighborhoods that have some of the least amount of open space per person in Chicago. The trail, which connects six ground-level parks, is managed by the Chicago Park District for recreation but also serves as a cross-town transportation connector.
Forest Service scientists are providing information about the trail's use to park managers and project partners with The Trust for Public Land so they can maintain a safe experience for users, make operations and maintenance plans, and document the multiple public benefits of trail development. Read the entire Chicago elevated trail article .

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