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lincoln national forest

How a Tribal Fire Crew Rescued the Real Smokey Bear

This year, we celebrated Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday as a national fire prevention icon. Many know Smokey’s message: “Only YOU can prevent wildfires,” but fewer people may know that Smokey was a real American black bear rescued, in the spring of 1950, from a raging wildfire in New Mexico.

Honoring my Teachers, Sharing Traditions on the San Carlos Apache Reservation

With more than 40 years of professional experience working in the field of natural resources, I am sometimes asked to share the personal outdoor experiences I had as a tribal member growing up on my reservation. When the request involves children, and those children are Native American, I am especially honored because in my culture the elders share traditional teachings of how we are connected to nature, both through stories and traditional songs.

As we celebrate Earth Day 2016, I am reminded of a recent invitation from the U.S. Forest Service Tonto National Forest and Smokey Bear to speak at a career day on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona. I had an audience of 180 tribal fourth graders from Rice Elementary School to share my experiences growing up on a reservation and the lessons I learned about the outdoors.

A U.S. Forest Service Ranger Sees Wilderness as the Ultimate Yardstick

For most of his 16 years with the U.S. Forest Service, Dave Warnack spent them boots-on-the-ground. That’s to say that he does not just talk the talk.

“Wilderness will be the ultimate index by which I measure my status, progress and overall place in the world,” Warnack says in the film “Wilderness: The Ultimate Yardstick. “I say this because when you enter a wilderness alone, unsupported, you quickly realize that the wilderness doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t care about the grades you got in school. It doesn’t care about your medals, your degrees or the size of your salary. The first time you measure yourself by the yardstick of wilderness, you may quickly find that you are, indeed, very small and perhaps inconsequential.”

HACU Empowers the Next Generation

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area will highlight those who are making significant contributions to American agriculture.

Have you ever dreamed of having a beautiful, picturesque landscape as your “office” environment?  Ever thought of learning the full spectrum of a potential career in public service?  Students working with USDA’s Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program have that chance.

From every corner of the United States, HACU interns are experiencing the full range of opportunities USDA has to offer.  The HACU National Internship provides students with paid internship opportunities at federal agencies, corporations, and non-profit organizations.  These internships, 15 weeks in the Fall or Spring, and 10 weeks in the Summer, provide students with unique work experience and the host agencies with a valuable recruitment resource.

Smokey Bear, Iconic Symbol of Wildfire Prevention, Still Going Strong at 70

“Remember . . . Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires.”

For more than 50 years, that iconic catch phrase grabbed the hearts and minds of generations of children, spurred a series of books, games and gifts, helped to change the face of wildland firefighting and prompted more than one child to grow up to be a forester.

“On Saturday morning’s, I would watch the ‘Farm Report’ just waiting for ‘Lassie’ to come on,” said Glenn Casamassa, a Long Island, New York, native who grew up to become a forester. “Right after the Farm Report I saw this bear talking about forest fires, and it got me thinking about the woods. As a kid, Smokey and his message really stuck in my head.”

Smokey Goes In for Checkup, Cleaning

One of America’s most well-known, beloved and important icons is going to have a little work done over the next several weeks in preparation for his upcoming 70th birthday in 2014.

The mechanical Smokey Bear that welcomes scores of visitors to the U.S. Forest Service headquarters building in Washington, D.C., is going in to have his fur checked, his motor – er, “heart” – fine-tuned and will undergo a thorough cleaning.

Defying Expectations, Fighting Challenges and Fighting Fires

When she was in high school, Bequi Livingston read a book about firefighting and was quickly intrigued. Little did she know that she would one day become one of the U.S. Forest Service’s pioneer women in wildland firefighting and fight fires for nearly 20 years.

After graduating from college, an article in her local newspaper caught her eye. The article was about the Young Adult Conservation Corps encouraging people to apply for its fire crew on the Smokey Ranger District. Livingston was accepted, but when she excitedly reported to work on her first day on the Lincoln National Forest, her office manager was surprised to meet a woman.