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HomeState & Private Forestry News
December 2015
Capitol Christmas Tree Completes 4,000-Mile Journey

A crane lifts the Capitol tree from its delivery truck.
This year's Capitol Christmas tree traveled from Alaska. (Photo: Dominic Cumberland)
The 2015 National Capitol Christmas Tree, referred to by many as "the People's Tree," arrived in Washington, DC, after a journey by boat and truck from the Chugach National Forest, AK. After a short and time-honored greeting ceremony on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, the 74-foot Lutz spruce was lifted into place by a massive crane. Watch a 2-minute video from PBS NewsHour. The tree was adorned with ornaments that were handmade in Alaska. In the lighting ceremony held on December 2, a fifth-grader from Soldotna, AK, flipped the switch to light the tree. Read the local story from Alaska Public Media. (News links used by permission.)
Will Your Heirs Keep Your Forest as Forest?
Young girl walking with a gray-haired man in a forest.]
 (Photo: Robert Fitzhenry)
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--Throughout the Northeast and Midwest, and across the country, a variety of pressures threaten our ability to "keep forests as forest." Perhaps the greatest forest loss is land conversion that occurs when forest is passed from one generation to the next. Most States served by the Northeastern Area have identified forest fragmentation through intergenerational transfer as an issue of critical importance in their Forest Action Plans. Our Forest Stewardship Program has recognized and responded to this need over the years. A display, publications, and technology transfer products have been developed for family forest owners and service providers about options for keeping land in forest as it passes to the next generation. Additionally, the new Forest Stewardship Program Standards and Guidelines, just released in November 2015, require that each Stewardship Plan developed throughout the country must provide conservation-based estate planning or legacy planning information. Get more information about estate planning options for your family forest on our Stewardship Program Web page.
Fourth Graders Get a Free Holiday Tree From a National Forest

WASHINGTON--Families of fourth graders holding an Every Kid in a Park voucher or pass are allowed to cut one holiday tree from a National Forest. If interested in a free tree, contact the National Forest near you. Find a National Forest near you on the Forest Service Recreation Web page. Get information on obtaining a voucher at the Every Kid in a Park Web site. Vouchers need to be printed.

Evergreen trees in a snowy landscape.
 (Photo: David Wagner,

New Ground Use for Aerial Sketch Mapping

DURHAM, N.H.--USDA Forest Service staffers in New Hampshire are trying out a new use for aerial sketch mapping--on the ground. GPS-based aerial sketch mapping has been used for years to help foresters track possible forest health concerns as they conduct aerial surveys from planes. Remote Sensing Specialist Bill Frament said the sketch mapping setup can also be used effectively on the ground to conduct tree surveys for storm damage or to keep track of multiple locations of trees, such as in urban surveys and tree plantings.

"We're using the existing system to document the types of trees planted, dates, species, size, class, location, maintenance needs, etc. You can take the digital aerial imagery as the background and use that image to find the point where you're going to place the tree," he added. "It also allows you to bring in other GIS layers for property boundaries, roads and other considerations. Our cooperators did it in Worcester, MA, for the ALB [Asian longhorned beetle], and now they're doing it in Long Island, NY, for the ALB."

Nearly every State uses the same aerial sketch mapping software, added Frament.
"Using it on the ground for street tree inventories is good, too. It helps to keep track of a lot of factors, such as cost and maintenance of the trees that otherwise might not be available."

Urban Forester John Parry said "Bill's been using that program for at least 10 years. We're just taking the same process and using it for urban applications. We can use it in different ways for the urban forest. It is being used for reforestation work in Worcester and Long Island. We're also looking at using it for tree inventories after a storm."

"When you have to use it for tens or hundreds of miles, it makes it worthwhile--long distances, basically. We're looking at it as a tool for those applications," he added. "I don't know if anyone's using that for urban forestry. It's a new use that's being looked at and developed. They've been using it in Worcester for 3-4 years. They've planted over 30,000 trees for reforestation work. They used the sketch mapping for all of that work."

"Someone would have to have the equipment and software to do it, but we do loan out equipment for free to cooperators on a short-term basis," Parry said. "For a longer-term need, they would have to buy the equipment and the program."

"It's a simple and efficient way of collecting data, and you can do that efficiently on foot. It's different that way," he added.

Remove and Repurpose:
Increasing the Value of Urban Wood

WASHINGTON--Urban wood utilization is a smart use of local resources that can add revenue to an urban forestry program. Many municipalities are encountering an increase in urban tree removals as invasive pests infiltrate their urban forests. Others are simply wondering if there's a better way to use their urban wood "waste" and avoid a drain on the budget for tree removal. The Urban Forest Connections Webinar that aired on December 9, 2015, shares tips and lessons learned that can help you start or expand your urban wood use program. View this and other past Webinars, and see upcoming topics at the Forest Service Web site. 
Web Site for Northeast Region Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.-- The Northeast Regional Strategy Committee for the Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy has developed a new Web site! This resource is dedicated to serving its members with up-to-date information; current and past newsletters; and links to both national and regional Cohesive Strategy plans, reports, and other key resources. Check out the Web site at
Climate Connections

NEW HAVEN, Conn.--"Climate Connections" is a daily public radio series produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Communication. The series aims to help radio listeners understand how climate change is impacting our lives. View topics and listen.
Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy Sign New MOU

WASHINGTON--The Forest Service recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with The Nature Conservancy, renewing a long-standing partnership that helps to implement solutions to contemporary conservation challenges. The Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy work together in a wide array of natural resource management, science, and education efforts across the United States and around the globe. The renewed partnership will bring together the energy, innovation, and access of a global organization with the capacity, impact, and mandate of the Nation's forest and grassland agency for lasting conservation outcomes.
Soils, Art, and Culture: A Natural Partnership

Logo of the 2015 International Year of Soils_ graphic of an open hand holding soil of different-colored layers_ with a plant growing out of it._
This topic on soil concludes the International Year of Soils. Watch the final 3-minute video on YouTube.

Mayors' and Municipalities' Monarch Pledge

MERRIFIELD, Va.--The National Wildlife Federation is asking mayors and other local government chief executives to take a pledge, then act to support monarch butterflies, whose populations have declined by 90 percent in the last 20 years. Learn how to help at the federation's Web site.

Orange and black butterfly on a hand.
Monarch butterfly. (Photo: Franzi's images,
Are Your Trees and Shrubs Ready for Winter?

Twigs, leaves, and berries coated with ice crystals,
 (Photo: George Hodan,

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL--Winter sun, wind, and cold temperatures can damage foliage, bark, branches, flower buds, and roots. Snow and ice can break branches and topple entire trees. Salt used for deicing is harmful to landscape plantings. Winter food shortages force rodents and deer to feed on bark, twigs, flower buds, and foliage, injuring and sometimes killing trees and shrubs. Advice on how to protect your trees and shrubs and minimize damage, from Minnesota Extension, can be applied in other States. Read more at the University of Minnesota Extension Web site.
Looking for Something To Do This Winter? 

NEW YORK--If you enjoy watching our feathered friends, check out the National Audubon Society's bird counts. Their annual Christmas bird count is being held December 14, 2015, to January 5, 2016, this year. To participate you must contact a compiler in advance of the count day. Learn how to join the count at the Audubon Web site. You may also be interested in the Great Backyard Bird Count on President's Day weekend, February 12 - 15, 2016. Count for as little as 15 minutes and then enter the results online. Get more information on the Audubon Web site. 
Welcome, Carrie Pike

Carrie Pike smiling_ sitting in front of filing cabinets.
Carrie Pike is the new regeneration specialist with the Northeastern Area's Forest Management Program.
(Photo: Courtesy of Carrie Pike)
Carolyn "Carrie" Pike has accepted a position as regeneration specialist for the Northeastern Area's Forest Management Program. She has extensive experience with tree breeding, conducting applied research, and with establishing and analyzing common garden studies.
Her primary duties will be delivering technical assistance to State
nurseries in the Northeast and Midwest, and providing advice on genetics and restoration programs nationwide through the Reforestation, Nurseries, an d Genetic Resources program. Her credentials include an extensive list of publications, presentations, and professional memberships.
Read more.
Welcome, Bill Jones
Head and shoulders of Bill Jones_ with eyeglasses_ with the corner of a three story building in the background.
  (Photo: Courtesy of Bill Jones)
William "Bill" Jones has accepted the Forest
Legacy specialist position with the Northeastern
In his new role, Bill will be the Northeastern
Area and national Forest Legacy Program lead
on stewardship and monitoring of conservation
easements. He will also hold other duties within
Legacy and in the Community Forest Program.
Read more.
Research Forum on Invasive Species in January

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--The 27th USDA Interagency Research Forum on Invasive Species will be held January 12-15, 2016, in Annapolis, MD. Learn more and access proceedings from previous forums at the Forest Service Northern Research Station Web site.
Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--The 76th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, hosted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, will be held January 24-27, 2016, in Grand Rapids. Learn more and register.

Call for Proposals, Great Lakes B-WET Program 

ALPENA, Mich.--The U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (Great Lakes Region), is seeking proposals under the Great Lakes Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program. This competitive grant program supports existing quality environmental education programs, fosters the growth of new innovative programs, and encourages capacity building and partnership development for programs throughout the Great Lakes watershed. Get details at or link directly to the full announcement at: and search for Grant Opportunity NOAA-NOS-ONMS-2016-2004696. The competition is open through January 29, 2016, for awards beginning September 2016. 

Learning About Wilderness Video Series

MISSOULA, Mont.--The Forest Service's Northern Region and the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center have developed a series of videos on wilderness, titled "Wilderness is Wild." While geared towards middle school students, these "shorts" can also be used for all audiences, to share the wilderness heritage and legacy that belong to us all. They are relevant for the Forest Service, as well as other agencies, and partners. The videos were developed for use in conjunction with a new wilderness curriculum developed for the Wilderness Investigations program by the Carhart Center. These episodes are available on Vimeo:  1-- Wilderness, Preservation and Protection, 2-- For Present and Future Generations, 3-- Outstanding Opportunities, 4-- The Value of Wilderness, 5-- Our Wilderness Heritage.
The Real Reason Leaves Change Color in Fall

Will you be surprised? Watch a 2 ½ minute video on YouTube. 

Editor's Note

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