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HomeState & Private Forestry News
September 2015
Routine Aerial Surveys Turn Into Life-Saving Missions 
An aerial view of a residential fire in the middle of a pine forest.
(Photo: Marc Roberts)
SAINT PAUL, Minn.--While doing aerial surveys for the forest health monitoring program, Forest Service Aviation Officer Marc Roberts is trained to watch for anything that doesn't look right. But that usually does not mean life-threatening situations. Roberts, along with Pilots Pat Loe and Ray Hill, recently deviated from their planned flights on two occasions to assist in emergencies. While flying over the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, MN, Roberts and Loe received a call about a capsized canoe. From the Forest Service's seaplane they located a 15-year-old boy pinned by a canoe in rapids. After quickly assessing the situation, they flew to the hangar where Loe picked up a rescue team and medical personnel, who went back for the boy. They landed half a mile from the trapped youth and hiked to the scene. After they pulled the injured boy to shore and treated him, a Minnesota State Patrol chopper lifted him over to the seaplane, and Loe flew the teen to a waiting ambulance. Watch a video at

In another incident Roberts and Hill were surveying the Huron-Manistee National Forest, MI, when they spotted smoke and changed course. In the middle of a jack pine forest they located flames engulfing a residence and threatening other structures; first responders had not yet arrived. The flight crew reported the location to the dispatcher, who contacted local fire departments and Forest Service engine crews. By circling the area, the survey crew helped to direct firefighters to the remote site.

Every Kid in a Park: Fourth Graders Visit for Free

WASHINGTON--As part of President Obama's commitment to give every American the opportunity to visit our national treasures, the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative gives fourth graders and their guests free admission to public lands. Homeschoolers or others not in a "grade" are eligible, if they turn 10 years old between 9/1/15 and 8/31/16. This also includes programs such as Scouts, 4-H, and Boys and Girls Clubs. Fourth graders can get a voucher for unlimited visits to Federal lands and waters at the "Get Your Pass" section of Educators can download and print lessons and activities and bulk vouchers for students.

This effort includes the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Non-Federal sites may also honor passes, so check with them. The National Park Foundation is offering grants for field trips to sites administered by these participating agencies. Get information and apply at
Kids Get Outside

WASHINGTON--A new 2-minute video from the Forest Service names some of the positive effects on bodies and minds of kids who play outdoors. Watch the video on YouTube.

Pennsylvania celebrates
$1.5 million for Eagle Rock Project

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, the Conservation Fund and other partners celebrated the protection of 1,100 forested acres in Franklin County, PA, in August. The Eagle Rock Project adds to the 85,000-acre Michaux State Forest and is located within 2 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The event was attended by Federal, State, and local representatives. Northeastern Area Director Tony Ferguson shared USDA's excitement in celebrating project successes during the Forest Legacy Program's 25th anniversary.

Urban Forest Strike Teams Poised to Assist Communities
Three urban foresters work with a GPS unit.
A strike team trains with a Global Positioning System unit. (Photo: Donna Foster)

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--Urban Forest Strike Teams assist communities after natural disasters by assessing injured trees. These trained urban foresters and arborists identify trees that pose a high risk to the public and trees that can be treated and saved. The goals are to increase public safety, reduce loss of canopy, promote recovery, and document costs for possible reimbursement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The community then follows up on the team's recommendations. States are working with their Emergency Management Agencies and FEMA to develop awareness and support for strike teams. Learn more at Read about the Ohio Urban Forest Strike Team at the success story link in this newsletter.
Chesapeake Urban Tree Canopy Strategy

BALTIMORE-The Northeastern Area's Mid-Atlantic Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator Julie Mawhorter recently presented an overview of local efforts and how they together form the Chesapeake Urban Tree Canopy Strategy. The strategy takes a broad approach to tree canopy impacts on watersheds. Mawhorter spoke in Baltimore at the Urban Ecology Collaborative--a partnership of univer­sities; nonprofit organizations; and local, State, and Federal officials that cultivates healthy, safe, and vibrant cities through collective learning and united action. Read the strategy at the Chesapeake Bay Program Web site.
"City of Trees" to be Shown at Film Festival
WASHINGTON--The independent documentary film, "City of Trees," which follows a year in the life of a green job-training grant awarded by the Forest Service in connection with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was selected for showing at the 2015 American Conservation Film Festival, in Shepherdstown, W.Va. in October. Production of the film was supported by funding from private and public funding sources, including the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and District of Columbia-Urban Forestry Administration. Watch the trailer at
FreshWaterLIVE Webcast Coming October 1

MANASSAS, Va.--"FreshWaterLIVE: A Distance Learning Adventure" will be an online exploration of the origins, travels, and perils of fresh water on October 1 at 1 p.m. ET. This electronic field trip is for students, teachers, nonformal learners, and all who have an interest in this important resource. You can send in your questions about water and watersheds to fresh water scientists, who will be standing by to answer them. Check out the Web site and register for the Webcast at After October 1 FreshWaterLIVE will be available as an on-demand video. FreshWaterLIVE is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service, Prince William Network, and other partners. Direct questions about the Webcast to Kristy Liercke at  or 703-791-7359.
Urban Forest Connections Webinars Resume with Urban FIA
A forester is taking inventory in a forested area.
(Photo: Elizabeth Larry, USDA Forest Service)

WASHINGTON--The Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program has inventoried the nation's forests since 1930. While the program has piloted urban inventory approaches, it had never formalized one until last year. The September Webinar, Urban FIA: Bringing the Nation's Forest Census to Urban Areas, introduced the new Urban FIA program, methods, and the efforts underway in Baltimore, MD, Austin, TX, Madison and Milwaukee, WI, Providence, RI, and other "first" cities. This Webinar and other past Webinars are available at The monthly Webinars are held on second Wednesdays, 1:00 - 2:15 p.m. ET. Contact the Urban Forest Technology and Science Delivery Team at with questions, feedback, requests for special accommodations, speaker suggestions, or to be added to the mailing list.

Employees Help the United Way and the Environment
Forest Service staff help split firewood.
(Photo: John Parry)

DURHAM, N.H.--Northeastern Area staff from the Durham field office recently pitched in with the United Way's Day of Caring, rolling up their sleeves to assist nonprofit organizations. Five staff members worked at the New Hampshire State Urban Forestry Center splitting firewood. An energy-efficient wood-fired heating system was recently installed to warm the center's buildings.
National Preparedness Month--School Emergency Planning

PHILADELPHIA--Disasters can strike at any time, even during school hours.  As a new school year begins, it's important to know how your child's school handles emergencies. suggests questions to ask. Preparedness blogger, The Survival Mom, lists other questions you might want to ask about school safety plans. If your child's school doesn't have an emergency plan, consider volunteering to help create one.

Don't wait. Communicate. Make your family emergency plan today using the templates at Making and testing your plan is one of the 10 ways to participate in   America's PrepareAthon!

(Source: Philadelphia Federal Executive Board News, September 2015)

"OAKtober"--Oak Awareness Month in October
The canopy of a large oak tree.
The oak is our national tree. (Photo: The Morton Arboretum)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.--More than 60 species of oaks grow in the United States, making oaks America's most widespread hardwoods. Oaks, and trees in general, improve our well-being and support a sense of community. Oak ecosystems have been a significant part of the Illinois landscape for more than 5,000 years and are now in a state of threat and decline. Governor Rauner has designated October 2015, "OAKtober--Oak Awareness Month," with support from 42 partners across Illinois. The hope is to bolster efforts to conserve, protect, and restore threatened oak ecosystems. OAKtober is a chance for Illinois residents, organizations, communities, park districts, forest preserve districts, private landowners and managers, and commercial entities to celebrate oak woodlands. Learn more and see a list of events on the Chicago Region Trees Initiative Web site. Contact Melissa Custic at the Morton Arboretum to have your event posted to the Web site.
Welcome, Drew Hart
Drew Hart climbing a tree.
Drew Hart loves planting and caring for-and sometimes climbing-trees. (Photo: courtesy of Drew Hart)
SAINT PAUL, Minn.--The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry's newest urban and community forestry specialist is Brent Andrew "Drew" Hart, who is assigned to the St. Paul, MN, Field Office. He is working out of the Evanston, IL, office of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station, which puts him in the proximity of Chicago. He filled the position formerly held by Tom Dilley. Read more.
Soils Protect the Natural Environment
2015 International Year of Soils
We owe the beauty we see in our natural environment to the hidden universe beneath our feet. Watch a short video that explores this idea, on YouTube.

Job Vacancies

Two Vacancies at Chincoteague Bay Field Station--The Assistant Adult and Family Education Coordinator will lead family and adult groups; teach topics that highlight the dynamic ecosystems of a barrier island; perform administrative tasks; and help to manage intern and volunteer programs. The Assistant College Program Coordinator will help to run college field trips and summer courses, maintain equipment and aquaria, serve as a liaison to the college community, and oversee college summer staff and volunteers. View the job descriptions and apply at the field station's Web site.

Editor's Note

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