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HomeState & Private Forestry News
January 2015

Soils Sustain Life

WASHINGTON-The United States joined other nations last December, to kick off the International Year of Soils--an effort to highlight the importance of soil in everyday life. USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie addressed members of the 68th United Nations General Assembly. 


"USDA is embracing this unique opportunity to tell the world about the importance of soil conservation and how we've worked with private landowners since 1935 to protect and improve this priceless natural resource," Bonnie said. Read more in the news release on the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Web site.


Watch an overview of reasons for this yearlong dedication to soils in a 1�-minute video by the Global Soil Partnership on YouTube.


Get information and resources on special Web pages of the USDA NRCS, the Soil Science Society of America, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.


Changes in Private Forest Ownership Raise Concerns 

MONTPELIER, Vt.--The age of forest landowners across the country is increasing and the size of parcels they own is shrinking--and that has state, federal and private experts fearing for the long-term health of millions of acres of American woodlands.  Read the article in Yahoo News.


National Invasive Species Awareness Week Coming in February


ATHENS, Ga.--National Invasive Species Awareness Week is scheduled for February 23-28. And according to experts with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), it's a topic that deserves our attention. Non-native plants, animals and pathogens can harm humans and the environment and impact our nation's economy.


"Though the impact of invasive species is profound, there are important steps we can take to manage infestations and prevent their spread," says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., director of science policy for the WSSA. "It all begins with awareness." Read more and learn what you can do at the NISAW Web site.


Monthly Webinar Series Continues in 2015


WASHINGTON--The Forest Service's Urban Forest Connections Webinars bring experts together to discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment. Webinars are held the second Wednesday of the month, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, and are open to all. All Webinars are recorded. Topics of future Webinars, and archived presentations and recordings are available at the Forest Service's  Research and Development Web page.

strategies for foreign professionals. 


Please Welcome New Employee Doreen Urquhart

Doreen takes a break from kayaking the Chittenden Reservoir on the Green Mountain National Forest, to soak in the sun. (Photo: Courtesy Doreen Urquhart)

A former realty specialist with the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, Doreen Urquhart (pronounced urk-hart), assumed a position in the Forest Legacy Program of the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry (NA S&PF), as of the first week of January. Read more.


Forest Service and Smithsonian Protecting Native Orchids

The white lady's slipper grows on the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois. (Photo: Thomas G. Barnes, USDA-NRCS Plants Database).

WASHINGTON--The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the USDA Forest Service finalized a Memorandum of Understanding recognizing a mutual interest in the conservation and management of native plants, especially native orchids. The Smithsonian, through its North American Orchid Conservation Center, leads a coalition of organizations dedicated to conserving the diverse orchid heritage of the United States and Canada. By managing for native orchids and their habitats on national forests and grasslands, we help to ensure the conservation and resiliency of our Nation's biodiversity and create a healthier environment for wildlife and people.


Invasive Insect Models Available 
The assembled emerald ash borer model is about 5 inches long.

YORK, Ontario--The Regional Municipality of York is offering downloadable emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle realistic three-dimensional models.  These paper models are perfect for education and information purposes.  If you require more information, contact






Predicting Maple Syrup Yield from Seed Production

Sugar maple sap is collected using buckets or tubing. (Photo:  T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

MEDFORD, Mass.--A New York Times article recently reported on a paper in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, in  which ecologists at Tufts University near Boston suggest that syrup and seed production are linked. Because 2014 was a low seed year for maples, the scientists reason, maple trees invested spare energy into producing more carbohydrates. This year, the trees will use those carbs to flower-and fill sugar makers' pails with rich, sweet sap. That seed cycles affect syrup yield may come as a surprise to longtime maple farmers. Sugar makers historically relied solely on the weather to predict good and bad syrup years. Read the full article in the Times. 

How Do Trees Survive the Winter?

Ever wonder how trees survive the cold weather? Get the answer from MinuteEarth on YouTube.


New Report on Impacts of White-Tailed Deer

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry (NA S&PF) recently published an online report by Botanist Tom Rawinski titled "White-tailed deer in northeastern forests: understanding and assessing impacts." Access the report on the NA S&PF Web site.


Power-IT-Down Every Day 

WASHINGTON-Everyone has the option to shut down their computers and IT peripherals in order to save energy, carbon dioxide emissions from the reduced electricity consumption, and money.  In the Forest Service, the third phase of the national Power-IT-Down initiative-daily shutdown-begins this month.  The Sustainable Operations Tip in this newsletter tells more about it. Since Phase 1 began in December 2013, the initiative has saved the Forest Service more than 500,000 kilowatt hours and over $46,000. Phase 4 is scheduled for later this year. To help you calculate savings from shutting down computers and peripherals at home, learn how to read your electric meter on YouTube. 


GPO Is Now the Government Publishing Office

WASHINGTON-- Legislation recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama changes the name of the Government Printing Office to the Government Publishing Office. Publishing reflects the increasingly prominent role that GPO plays in providing access to Government information in digital formats through our Federal Digital System (FDsys), apps, eBooks, and related technologies. The information needs of Congress, Federal agencies, and the public have evolved beyond only print and GPO has transformed to meet our customers' needs. Read more about the process and rationale for the name change on the GPO Web site. 


New Book "Urban Environmental Education" Is Available 

WASHINGTON--Edited by Alex Russ and written by environmental educators in the United States, this book advances understanding of settings, audiences, teaching approaches and goals of urban environmental education. This book is appropriate for in-service and in-training educators in the United States and elsewhere. The  authors say that they hope the book will help educators to reflect on their own work, and inspire new ideas to improve their programs.  Download the book for free at the Web site of the North American Association for Environmental Education.


Watershed Forestry Intern Sought for Summer 

WALTON, N.Y.--The Watershed Agricultural Council has announced a paid Watershed Forestry Educator internship for Summer 2015, to assist with environmental education efforts in the world-famous New York City watershed and water supply system. Direct applicant inquiries to Application deadline is February 21, 2015.


Has Your Home Been Tested for Radon Recently?

According to the Surgeon General indoor radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. (Source: A Citizen's Guide to Radon)

WASHINGTON--Radon is a naturally occurring odorless radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer.  Find out how to protect yourself. Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Web site during National Radon Action Month this January. 



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