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HomeState & Private Forestry News
July 2015
Training Prepares Teachers to Lead Studies of Watersheds 
Rebecca works at a laptop in a classroom.
(Photo: Bob Woolner, Hopkinton Middle High School)


HOPKINTON, N.H.--Northeastern Area's GIS Specialist Rebecca Lilja showed 18 teachers how to use GIS during the New Hampshire Watershed Ecology Institute held in July. With this training, the teachers will be able to conduct lessons in which students map their own watersheds by using ArcGIS Online and predict how clean the water is by using data from the U.S. Forest Service. The institute was partly funded by a Math Science Partnership grant called GeoPriSM (Geospatial Projects in Science and Math).


Cooperation in Wildland Fire Management on Cape Cod

MASHPEE, Mass.--The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Town of Mashpee, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Orenda Wildlife Land Trust, and Joint Base Cape Cod work cooperatively to integrate hazardous fuels management with other ecological management objectives. The strong partnership and cooperation displayed among these groups is an excellent example of the Northeast Regional Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. The Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry provides technical assistance and grant funding in support of these efforts. The Town of Mashpee is a heavily populated wildland-urban interface area with high property values.


Letterboxing: Adventures in Connecticut State Forests

The "1" on the letterbox stamp for Meshomasic State Forest shows that it was Connecticut's first forest. (Source:


HAMPTON, Conn.--On a recent visit with the Connecticut State Fire Supervisor, a Northeastern Area fire staff mem­ber learned about the State's use of "letterboxing" as a method of connecting with their public and providing a unique way for sharing educational information about natural resources. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in public places (like parks and forests) and post clues to finding the box online. There are about 20,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. The State plans to include information about the use of prescribed fire in letterboxes hidden near burn areas. The Northeastern Area supports Connecticut's fire program through State Fire Assistance funding. Learn more about letterboxing in Connecticut's State forests at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Web site.


Forest Service Participates in Opening West Virginia University Clinic

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.--Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry employees staffed a booth at the grand opening of the new West Virginia University Outpatient Clinic in Morgantown, on June 20. The booth presented information on how a "healthy earth contributes to a healthy you" by teaching children the importance of clean air and water. Employees gave out seed packets of native wildflowers that will benefit pollinators. Employees also talked about invasive insects and the outbreak of the native yellow poplar weevil. About 800 people attended the event.



Mayors Adopt High School Climate Change Science Program

Planet earth seen from space.
(Photo: Dawn Hudson,

SAN FRANCISCO--A group of bipartisan mayors from over 250 cities are taking an important stand against "climate change denialism," calling for the "swift implementation" of climate education in high schools nationwide. Read more at



Free Educational Resources From NSTA 


ARLINGTON, Va.--The National Science Teachers Association has rounded up professional learning resources to explore during the summer, and many are free. Learn more.


Welcome Back, Connie Carpenter 


Connie Carpenter just returned to the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry as the new Durham, NH, Field Office Representative, after an 8 ½ year assignment in Puerto Rico. Read more.



Green Team Builds Improved People's Garden


Wood table planters outside Newtown Square office building.
Green team members built the garden tables at the Newtown Square, PA, office using microgrant funds. (Photo: Juliette Watts)

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--As the top responder in the Forest Service's national Power-It-Down competition, the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry earned a $3,000 microgrant for "green" projects. With $1,000 added from budget by Director Tony Ferguson, each of the four Northeastern Area office locations received $1,000. In Newtown Square, PA, the joint Northeastern Area - Northern Research Station Green Team decided on a demonstration of table gardening for the People's Garden established several years ago. The team built two 4- by 4-foot planters at a height that allows easy access. The new planters approximately double the planting area, which before was in 11 containers. Produce from the garden goes to a local food bank.

Vacancy Announced--Entomology and Pathology Research Lead


WASHINGTON--The U.S. Forest Service has announced a vacancy for the National Program Lead for Entomology and Pathology Research, GS0401-15. View the job announcement (Number 15-RES-57665DP-JM) on The announcement closes on August 5, 2015.

General Forestry Course Online or Correspondence Starts September


QUEENSTOWN, Md.--The General Forestry Course offered by the University of Maryland Extension, Sept. 1 - Dec. 15, is a noncredit course designed for individuals wishing to increase their understanding of forests and forest management. Fee: $300; $275 if paid by July 31. Learn more at the University of Maryland Extension Web site. Contact Nancy Stewart at 410-827-5056 x107.


Bat Week Coming: Build Bat Houses on October 31


Bat houses are easy and fun to build for both kids and adults and give bats healthy, safe homes. The goal is to have communities across the continent host events to help reach the record of 5,000 bat houses built in a single day!  Mark your calendar and begin thinking of how you can involve others.


Bat Week, October 25-31, 2015, is dedicated to sharing the importance of those flying, furry mammals. Bat Week is organized by a volunteer Steering Committee of representatives from a growing list of organizations, including the Organization for Bat Conservation, Bat Conservation International, USDA Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Acoustics, Lubee Bat Conservancy, and the Save Lucy Campaign. 


The Steering Committee will provide informational tools to promote, host, and document your participation. They will also give contact information to order bat house kits and free design plans to build from scratch. The Web site,, will list all host sites for bat house building, allowing people to find a location near them. More information will be available soon.   Count the residents leaving one bat house on YouTube.


Soils Are Living 

Logo for 2015 International Year of Soils  


Bacteria on a grain of sand. Scanning electron microscope image, courtesy of Lewis Lab, Northeastern University; created by Anthony D'Onofrio, William Fowle, Eric Stewart, Kim Lewis. (Source:


Soil is a living and dynamic resource, inhabited by animals, insects, and microrganisms. A handful of soil contains more microbes than there are humans on earth. Watch a video on this aspect of soil from the Soil Science Society of America, on YouTube.



Quiz: Is It Buckthorn?


SAINT PAUL, Minn.--Common and glossy buckthorn are nonnative shrubs that outcompete native vegetation and can degrade wildlife habitat. They can be found in the Northeast United States. Can you identify these invasive plants? Click here to take a quiz from University of Minnesota Extension's Gary Wyatt. 

Editor's Note

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