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From Devastation to Restoration

Wildfires in sagebrush and other range ecosystems are increasing in frequency and severity, often in relation to drought conditions and intrusive species like cheatgrass, a non-native, highly flammable invasive species that establishes itself as a monoculture and crowds out native grasses and forbs.

“What’s preferable to a monoculture is a diverse plant community that includes native grasses, forbs and shrubs,” said Francis Kilkenny, leader for the Great Basin Native Plant Project, a joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, or BLM.

Forest Service Celebrates Bird Migration

The beauty of watching a flock of birds migrating on the wing is a sight many enjoy.  Protecting their habitats to help them on their journeys is part of the work that U.S. Forest Service employees across the nation do every day.

“Forests and grasslands managed by the U.S. Forest Service are critical to maintaining migratory bird populations, but Forest Service involvement goes well beyond the boundaries of Forest Service lands,” said John Sinclair, National Wildlife Program leader. “By working in local, regional and international partnerships, we conserve migratory bird species and their habitats across the Americas.”

Oregon Forest Camp Gives Kids a Week-Long Outdoor Experience

It was chilly and wet when they arrived in western Oregon, but that didn’t dampen the excitement of the 165 sixth-grade students from six small schools who arrived via yellow buses, pick-up trucks, vans and even a horse trailer at this year’s Forest Camp Outdoor School near the small town of Lebanon.

They kicked off the first day with an all-camp meeting where students were introduced to staff, sang songs and learned camp rules. Campers met their counselors (one parent and one high school student) and moved into one of the 19 cabins. Then they spent the afternoon at challenge courses, cabin development classes and listening to encouraging stories to help gear them up for a successful week away from home.

New USDA Funded Arizona Fire Station Lowers Response Time and Improves Public Safety

Rain poured through the roof of the old Black Canyon, Arizona, fire station, making the floor slippery and rusting the tin that covered the roof. Nonetheless, the one ambulance and fire truck that would fit into the aging metal shed still faired better than the other five vehicles parked outside. Those vehicles were not only pelted by rain and hail, but Arizona’s scorching sun baked them during much of the year—rotting the tires, fading the paint, and drying out the parts and equipment. Parking the vehicles outside also meant that the theft risk was greater, which increased insurance rates.

Dr. Hallie Hasel Discusses Life as a Field Veterinarian

Hi, Dr. Hallie Hasel here.  I’ve been a field veterinary medical officer for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for the past eight years.  I work in western Kansas, an area with very large dairies, feedlots and some swine operations.

I’m a veterinarian because I have a desire to work in both agriculture and the livestock industry, especially in rural areas.  I started out in private practice.  I spent 10 years as the sole proprietor of a mixed animal practice and loved it.  However, I had the chance to sell my practice right as this APHIS job became available and I took it.  It’s been a great decision.