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HomeState & Private Forestry News
January 2018 
From the Director
Head and shoulders of a smiling woman in front of a flag
Kathleen Atkinson

Leadership Note, January 9, 2018 --- As we embark on a New Year, I am challenging us all to improve our service --- to each other within our Region/Area, with other agencies under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and with our partners and the communities we serve --- so we can continue to provide the best customer service to the American people.
In a January 2, 2018, message, Secretary Perdue introduced a broad vision of OneUSDA, where all agencies under USDA act as a team working towards the same goals. It involves increased collaboration across USDA agencies in order to identify synergies and provide better services to the public. Customer service shapes everything we do under OneUSDA and it's a great goal that we can all support and get behind. (  Watch the Secretary's message on YouTube.)
I will continue to expand on this vision for our Region and Area in the coming months, but I want to emphasize that this concept doesn't mean a change in the name of the Forest Service, signs, symbols, or mission. It does mean a change in how we view ourselves and talk about ourselves with the public. For example, when we are working within our offices or with our external partners, remember that we are supported by a larger USDA team and there is strength in what we can accomplish as a larger team.
This translates into working better together to manage all lands. One example that comes to mind is the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership, where the Forest Service is working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet across the nation. I see the OneUSDA vision as building on efforts like the Joint Chiefs' and exploring others that help us leverage resources.
It is also an opportunity to increase internal collaboration between Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and the Eastern Region (Region 9). For example, the Northeastern Area has strong connections with agencies across the USDA, many of which Region 9 has not engaged with as frequently. The Northeastern Area and Region 9 should use and leverage each other's strengths and relationships when collaborating with other agencies in order to make meaningful connections between public and private lands.
We can also make a concerted effort to familiarize ourselves with the seven USDA Strategic Goals and begin to identify ways that we can contribute to them. I encourage all employees to continue to watch for and view the messages from the Secretary that outline Departmental initiatives we will all implement to embody the OneUSDA concept.
As we receive more detailed information on OneUSDA and related policy changes, we will share them with you and continue to discuss what they mean for us and next steps.
As always, we are on this journey together and I'm interested in hearing from you in terms of how we can move forward as OneUSDA. I invite you to share your thoughts via
( View the Eastern Region News Roundup on the Region's Web site, for news from the National Forests).
Leadership Note, December 6, 2017 --- On October 31, I sent a message to all employees relaying Chief Tony Tooke's five national priorities for our work.
I wanted to touch on the third one --- Promoting shared stewardship by increasing partnerships and volunteerism. This priority is about reaching out to people, from rural to urban communities and everything in between, to engage them in management practices that benefit all lands.
Once we've identified shared goals with our partners and created plans around those goals, we need to enlist involvement. We need to identify ways to inspire people to volunteer time and resources to bring these goals to life and find innovative ways to share successes. We believe that first-hand experience in restoring an area and seeing the benefits of that restoration can inspire lifelong stewardship.
In the East, with 40 percent of the nation's population and the highest concentration of urban interface in the country, we believe our most important asset is people. We excel at developing partnerships and collaborative relationships with local and urban communities, American Indian Tribes, universities, non-government organizations, and State agencies in support of developing more resilient landscapes.
In 2018, we will continue to focus on strategic coordination in programs, actions and partnerships that support restoration and resilience of all lands. Unit activities should advance engagement with new and existing partners and utilize authorities such as Stewardship Contracting, Good Neighbor, and State and Private Forestry Programs to facilitate cooperation whenever possible. Some additional avenues that will allows us to accomplish this are:
  • Using the cohesive fire strategy
  • Monitoring land use change and evaluating the relationship people have with public lands and other ownerships across the rural-urban continuum
  • Capitalizing on and prioritizing strategic work using large landscape scale assessments
  • Utilizing State and Private Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Grants
  • Leveraging our partnerships with State Forestry Agencies to deliver our Cooperative Forestry Programs
Some of our most important, and lasting partnerships will continue to come from our neighboring States and private landowners. Northeastern Area works each day across 20 States and the District of Columbia to build on these relationships. Field representatives serve as the line officers managing partnerships and activities on the ground, each overseeing an area around one of the three field offices.
In addition, we will focus on capacity building with an emphasis on youth, veterans and other conservation corps through21st Century Conservation Service Corps and Youth Conservation Corps (YCC).
If you would like to learn more about partnership or volunteer programs or have ideas, please contact any of the following:
Durham Field Office Field Representative --- Connie Carpenter
Morgantown Field Office Field Representative (Acting) --- Richard Turcotte
St. Paul Field Office Field Representative --- Carleen Yocum
Region 9 Partnership Coordinator --- Lori Swiderski
Region 9 Volunteer & Service Program Coordinator --- Dawn Meier 
We are all on this journey together and I'm interested in hearing from you in terms of how we can move forward in increasing shared stewardship on all lands with our partners and volunteers. I invite you to share your thoughts on how we can meet this and the Chief's other priorities via
Kathleen Atkinson
Area Director, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, and Regional Forester, Eastern Region
The Northeastern Area Has a New Web Site!
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. --- The new Web site for the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry went live, and our old site went away, on Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 All traffic to the old site ( is now being redirected to the new site ( The change in our URL shows that we've moved into the Web sites family. We hope you will find our new site easier to read and navigate. Feel free to visit the new live site. Keith Tackett, 610-557-4128, continues as lead for the Web site
Change Matters: Business Operations Update for Employees

WASHINGTON --- In the latest update, Acting Deputy Chief Robert Velasco focused on uplifting and empowering Forest Service employees through a respectful, safe work environment at every level of the organization. Related activities include the newly launched Harassment Reporting Center, a variety of Civil Rights 5-minute training sessions to improve the workplace environment. View the full update.
2017 Tax Tips for Forest Landowners
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. --- The latest issue of Forest Matters Stewardship News offers forest landowners and tax preparers some tips worth considering for the 2017 tax year. Access this special edition Forest Matters newsletter on our Web site.
Isabel Munck Named Graduate of Distinction
Man and two women in academic robes.
Dr. Quintin Wheeler (left) and Thayer Miller (right) presented the 2017 ESF Graduate of Distinction Award to Forest Service Forest Pathologist Dr. Isabel Munck (center) at the December 2107 commencement. (Courtesy photo by SUNY ESF/Island Photography).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. --- Dr. Isabel Munck, plant pathologist with the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Program, was presented with the State University of New York (SUNY), College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), 2017 Graduate of Distinction Award in the "Incipiens Quercu" (Beginning Oak) category. This honor is awarded through the ESF Alumni Association in recognition of an alumna whose accomplishments might be considered "pioneering," whose work has positively affected society, or who are otherwise inspirational to students and fellow alumni.   Read more on the Forest Service Web site.

Northeastern Area Staff Honored as Part of Urban Waters Partnership

WASHINGTON --- The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service announced the 2017 winners of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medal in September.  The highly respected "Sammies," known as the "Oscars" of Government service, highlight excellence in the Federal workforce.  The winner in the People's Choice Public Service Award category was the interagency Urban Waters Federal Partnership.  Team members, who include the Northeastern Area's Donna Foster, Drew Hart, Jill Johnson, Sheela Johnson, Julie Mawhorter, John Parry, Jeremy Peichel, and Phillip Rodbell, were recognized for "unwavering dedication to revitalizing urban waterways and surrounding lands, spurring economic development and reversing decades of neglect."  Despite modest resources, the partnership is active in more than 250 locations nationwide. With the Environmental Protection Agency's support, matched by other Federal and private partners, the program has improved more than 22,000 acres of land, planted over 80,000 trees, and engaged an estimated 100,000 community members.
The Urban Waters Federal Partnership also received a Chief's Honor Award for Fiscal Year 2017 in the category Delivering Benefits to the Public. The partnership was one of 85 nominations in 5 categories. An awards ceremony was held in December, in conjunction with the National Leadership Council.
Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grants Available

WASHINGTON --- The request for proposals for the 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant program is now available through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The U.S. Forest Service helps to support this program, alongside other Federal and private partners, as part of our interagency effort to restore urban waters and revitalize communities. Deadline for proposals is January 31, 2018.   See application details at the foundation's Web site.
Restored Wetland Improves Lake Ontario Tributary

HECTOR, N.Y. --- A 6-acre area of forested wetland, part of Blueberry Patch Swamp, was restored on the   Finger Lakes National Forest in Schuyler County, NY, in October 2017. This project was completed as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with an emphasis on restoring upland stream habitat. This wetland is part of the Seneca Lake headwaters, a tributary to Lake Ontario. Read more on the Forest Service Web site.
Know the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia

WASHINGTON --- The Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on these serious conditions caused by exposure to cold temperatures. Stay safe. Learn what to do if someone develops the signs and symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia. Get an infographic that summarizes the information.
Predator Beetles Released to Control Serious Pest of Hemlocks

KITTERY, Maine --- Forest entomologists from the Maine Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service, along with staff biologists from the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge released predators of an invasive insect pest. The hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae, is a serious pest of eastern and Carolina hemlock in the eastern United States.
A total of 500 predatory Laricobius osakensis beetles were released on the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, to manage hemlock woolly adelgid populations. One thousand beetles were also released earlier this fall on Frye Island in Sebago Lake near Portland, ME, augmenting a release of the same predator at the same site last season. Forest health specialists expect that the predator will establish at both sites in Maine and in time will serve as field insectaries from which beetles can be collected then moved to new sites in Maine.   Read more on the Forest Service Web site.

Employee's Pastime Hobby Leads to Children's Book
A man holds up a book.
Tom Rawinski holds up a copy of his children's book, which features one of his photographs on the cover. (Forest Service photo by Glenn Rosenholm)

DURHAM, N.H. --- Northeastern Area Botanist Tom Rawinski has been busy in his spare time in recent years, befriending a cottontail rabbit family on his land in Massachusetts, then writing and publishing a book about them. The photo-rich book, A Cottontail Chronicle, is told in poetic rhyme and chronicles a year in the life of a cottontail, from nest to nest. The Worcester Telegram recently published a glowing article praising Rawinski's work on and off the job.
New Director of Development Position With SFI and PLT

WASHINGTON --- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is hiring a Director of Development who will be responsible for planning, organizing, implementing, and evaluating all of SFI's and Project Learning Tree's (PLT) environmental education, community engagement, and conservation's fundraising, including grant writing, major gifts program, annual fund, planned giving, and capital campaigns. View the announcement.
Internship in Native Plant Nursery Propagation and Horticulture

WHATELY, Mass. --- Nasami Farm, the native plant nursery of the New England Wild Flower Society, is looking to fill a 6-month full-time internship. The position can provide entry into both native plant studies and nursery management. The New England Wild Flower Society is the oldest plant conservation organization in the United States and a recognized leader in native plant conservation, horticulture, and education. View the vacancy announcement on the Society's Web site. Application deadline is January 19, 2018.

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