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HomeState & Private Forestry News
February 2015

New Report Ranks Watersheds According to Private Forest

FORT COLLINS, Colo.--GIS specialist Rebecca L. Lilja coauthored the report "Private Forests, Housing Growth, and America's Water Supply: A Report From the Forests on the Edge and Forests to Faucets Projects." Watersheds across the conterminous United States were ranked according to the contributions of private forest land to surface drinking water volume and quality, and by threats to surface water from increased housing density. Private forest land contributions to drinking water are greatest in the East, and also important in the West. Development pressures on these contributions are concentrated in the Eastern United States and also found in the North-Central region, parts of the West and Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest. Download or request the report on the Forest Service's Open Space Conservation Web page.


Request for Proposals to Restore Great Lakes

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.-Estimated funds totaling more than $3 million are expected to be available for competitive grants, through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Forest Service and Environmental Protection Agency. Eligible State agencies, Tribal communities, nonprofit organizations, academic partners, and municipalities in the Great Lakes Basin must obtain concurrence of their State Forester or Tribal administrator on their application. The deadline for proposals is March 23, 2015. See the application and cover letter  on the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Web site.


New Urban Strategy and Community of Practice

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.-Kathleen Atkinson, Michael Rains, and Tony Ferguson have invited Eastern Region, Northern Research Station, and Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry employees to participate in a new Community of Practice, of Forest Service employees working in urban areas. The intent is to strengthen our awareness of existing work and of opportunities for collaboration.  A planned action by the group over the next 6 months is to compile a set of Forest Service skills and create a map of expertise that facilitates public awareness and access to those skills. Team members for the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry are Rob Witmer, Susan Cox, Jeremy Peichel, and Phillip Rodbell.


Forest Service Hosts New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

The demonstration parklet represented a typical vacant lot reimagined as a fruit orchard. (Photo: Phillip Rodbell)


NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry hosted the 2015 New Partners for Smart Growth national conference , in Baltimore, MD, in January.  With more than 1,200 community, State, and Federal leaders attending, we were able to shine a spotlight on our work to make cities more livable.  This effort included moderating and presenting sessions on Tapping the Power of Youth in Urban Greening, and on the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.  We also designed and installed a "parklet" in partnership with the City of Baltimore, Baltimore Parks and People, and Tree Baltimore, to demonstrate innovative approaches to greening and learning in the urban environment.  


Study Documents Hemlock Decline Due to Adelgid in Catskills

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--Entomologist Ryan Hanavan and Northern Research Station Scientists Jen Pontius and Rich Hallett authored an article recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology:  "A 10-Year Assessment of Hemlock Decline in the Catskill Mountain Region of New York State Using Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Techniques." The results are in line with other long-term studies. With this spatial information, continued management strategies can focus on particular areas to help control the further decline of hemlock in the region. Read the article on the Journal's Web page.


Special Rule Proposed for Northern Long-Eared Bat
(Photo: Courtesy Steven Thomas, National Park Service)

FORT SNELLING, Mo.--In response to the rapid and severe decline of the northern long-eared bat--a species important for crop pest control--the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a special rule under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that would provide the maximum benefit to the species while limiting the regulatory burden on the public. If finalized, under section 4(d) of the ESA, the rule would apply only in the event the Service lists the bat as "threatened." The Service's proposal appeared in the Federal Register January 16, 2015, opening a 60-day public comment period.Read more on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Web site.


Microgrant Projects Reduce Environmental Footprint at Five Locations

Houghton MI Lab
A microgrant was used to increase solar capacity at the NRS Houghton, MI, lab.  (Photo: Joseph DesRochers)
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry (NA S&PF) and the Northern Research Station (NRS) invested $10,436 in five Sustainable Operations microgrant projects in fiscal year 2014. The microgrant program provides funds to reduce the environmental footprint of business operations through projects that also have a positive return over time. Trees and shrubs were planted for stormwater management, energy conservation, reduced mowing, and esthetics, at the Morgantown, WV, and Durham, NH, locations. Increased solar capacity at the NRS Lab in Houghton, MI, and installation of solar air heating units at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH, reduce atmospheric carbon emissions. A composting project reduces waste and related costs while providing compost for use at the Silas Little Experimental Forest, NJ. 


Sustainable operations are a core commitment that helps the agency to meet the goals outlined in Executive Order (E.O.) 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.


New Guides -- Nature Play and Natural Play Spaces

The National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Learning Initiative have released Nature Play and Learning Places: Creating and Managing Places Where Children Engage with Nature. Instead of using metal, plastic, and concrete, the guide shows how to create areas with trees, shrubs, flowers, and natural materials. The guide draws from Robin Moore and Allen Cooper's extensive experience. The project was funded by the U.S. Forest Service. Leading national partner organizations include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Keep America Beautiful, North American Association for Environmental Education, the U.S. Play Coalition, Children and Nature Network, and the National Recreation and Park Association.  Download the full text at; a communications packet  is also available. 

 Nature Play

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association has published Nature Play: Nurturing Children and Strengthening Conservation Through Connections to the Land. Part 1 explores the essential characteristics of nature play, the benefits nature play provides, and the societal barriers to it. Part 2 describes actions organizations may take to restore nature play to children's lives. View or download the illustrated edition at or access the text-only edition.

Outdoor play in informal settings boosts the cognitive, creative, physical, social, and emotional development of children, and engenders deep conservation values.


Moving Tree Species to Accommodate Changing Climate

MPR News, Two Harbors, Minn.--Minnesota's iconic northern forests are undergoing a gradual shift as the climate warms. Aspen, birch, balsam fir and black spruce, for example, are projected largely to vanish from the state by the end of the century.


But some foresters are suggesting a more radical shift in approaching what to do about it. Although not everyone agrees, some in forestry are stressing urgency and experimenting with bringing new species from hundreds of miles away, betting that with a helping hand those trees stand a better chance of producing a healthy diverse forest than existing species. Read more on the Minnesota Public Radio Web site.


Soils Support Urban Life 

International Year of Soils  

The February theme for the International Year of Soils is "Soils support urban life."  To learn more, visit Urban Soils on the Natural Resources Conservation Service Web site, and Soils in the City on the Soil Science Society of America Web site. Watch a video on this month's theme on YouTube. 

Black History Month: Where Black People and Nature Meet 


OAKLAND, Calif.--Outdoor Afro is a social community that reconnects African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, birding, fishing, gardening, skiing - and more! Outdoor Afro disrupts the false perception that black people do not have a relationship with nature, and works to shift the visual representation of who can connect with the outdoors. Learn more or connect on the Outdoor Afro Web site. Founder of Outdoor Afro Rue Mapp was recently selected as keynote for the National Forum on Women and Bicycling. Read more on the League of American Bicyclists Web site.


World Water Day is March 22


GENEVA--World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. This year the theme is Water and sustainable development.  Visit the 2015 World Water Day Web site live for information, events, and materials.


North American Agroforestry Conference in Iowa in May

COLUMBIA, Mo.--The 2015 North American Agroforestry Conference will be held May 31-June 3, 2015, at the Holiday Inn Ames Conference Center at Iowa State University. Online registration is open, with early registration ending on March 15, 2015. Learn more at the Association for Temperate Agroforestry Web site.   


Welcome back, Patty O'Shea


We are happy to announce the return of Patty O'Shea to the Newtown Square office of the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry. Read more. 


Outreach for Two U.S. Forest Service Positions in Illinois

Natural Resources Specialist, Evanston, IL--The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry will soon advertise the permanent, full-time position of Natural Resources Specialist-Chicago Liaison. The position is organizationally part of the St. Paul Field Office. Read the outreach notice.


Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist, Wilmington, IL--The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie will soon advertise to fill one permanent, full-time Supervisory Public Affairs Specialist position. Read the outreach notice


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