Eastern Region News Roundup Nov. 20 - Dec. 1, 2017

Release Date: Dec 4, 2017  

 

Indiana

Hoosier National Forest

Press Releases

 

Michigan

Hiawatha National Forest

Employees Attend Retirement Training

Hiawatha National Forest recently offered its employees updated training on the federal retirement system. The training was planned and coordinated by Debbie Tatrow, the Forest’s Budget Officer. Annette Caliguri, an LSAT employee stationed on the Hiawatha, stated, “It was a great chance to learn about retirement planning and have my specific questions about our retirement system answered.”  Annette also praised the trainer, a contractor retired from federal service as a human resources arena. This has been the first training of this type on the Hiawatha in the last three years.


Press Releases

 

Huron-Manistee National Forests

Forest Employee Receives 55-year Length of Service Award [photo]

In August 1961, a 20-year-old climbed into a fire tower for the first time, not realizing he was climbing the ladder to a successful career with the Forest Service. His career has lasted more than 55 years. Since that day, Lawrence Stillwell has worked only for the Baldwin-White Cloud Ranger District of the Huron-Manistee National Forests, a tenure not many people can claim. Lawrence moved office locations only once, in 1997 when the districts were combined. Lawrence recently received a Length of Service award for 55 years with the Forest Service. As a young man, Lawrence dreamed of becoming a conservation officer. In his mind, they spent the entire day hunting, fishing, and trapping, which seemed like the perfect job. School was not one of his strong points, so when a friend asked Lawrence to come work at the Forest Service he decided to give it a try. He began his career as a seasonal, earning $1.69 an hour, as a lookout in the Hungerford Fire Tower. In 1964, Lawrence was hired on as a permanent employee. In those days, employees did a little bit of everything. His work schedule included recreation, timber and fire. Lawrence later became a District Recreation Technician, which he really enjoyed. Sometime in the 1970’s Lawrence was moved into the Timber program full time. He did not like the change because it gave him a tighter schedule than the one that he had. Little did he know, this move placed him into the forestry role that he has today. When asked if he thinks about retirement, Lawrence just smiled and said that he has thought about it.

 

Ottawa National Forest

Press Releases

 

Minnesota

Chippewa National Forest

Volunteers Lend a Hand in 2017 [photo]

The Chippewa National Forest recently completed the 2017 volunteer and service accomplishments report. The Forest had a total of 111 volunteers for the year. Together these volunteers served more than 23,100 hours, with an appraised value of $557,634.00.   The diversity of projects and volunteer positions available on the Forest offered each volunteer a chance to participate in an activity that met their individual or group interests. Volunteers throughout the year helped with: trail work, campground hosts, bird surveys, conservation education, fire, information receptionist, and historic restoration projects.  These are just a few examples of what they helped make happen on the Chippewa National Forest.  Volunteer service in the Forest Service was formalized in the Volunteers in the National Forest Act of 1972. The US Forest Service volunteer program was established to involve everyone: kids and young adults, retirees, professionals, corporate teams, students, community service organizations, and individuals and groups in search of meaningful outdoor and stewardship projects.


Chippewa National Forest Staff Take Part in GIS Conference

The 27 annual conference and workshops of the Minnesota GIS/LIS (Geographic Information Systems/ Land Information System) Consortium was held October 4-6, 2017 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn.. Over 500 people attended the three-day conference bringing together federal, state, county, city, tribal agencies, and the private sector to discuss, network and share geographic accomplishments over the past year Workshops covered a variety of topics, ranging from general introductory issues to specialized technical-focused topics. Darryl Holman, Chippewa National Forest GIS Specialist and D.J. Bakken, Beltrami County Forestry, presented a workshop demonstrating how mobile technology is being incorporated into the forestry programs for both agencies. During the conference, Holman also demonstrated the Chippewa National Forest stands mapper, a web mapping application. In 1988, the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium got its start as one of the nation's first forums to communicate and share information among the growing community of environmental and natural resource geographic information system users and data producers in Minnesota.


Looking for Rusty [photo]

Summer of 2017, Chippewa National Forest employees made a very important find. A rusty patched bumble bee was discovered, a species recently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Chippewa is the only forest in the eastern region with a current detection for this species.

Historically abundant and widespread across the eastern U.S. and Canada, the rusty patched population began to greatly decline in the late 1990s. The plight of the rusty patched is thought not to be an isolated occurrence, but a symptom of widespread decline of other bumble bees and insect pollinators. Many bee species are declining due to factors such as loss of habitat, pesticide use, climate change, low genetic diversity, and pathogens. This is a matter of high conservation concern, because as pollinators, bees play a vital role in keeping our environment healthy. Over 80% of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators, the majority of which are bees. Pollination is required for plant reproduction, and plants are the base of the food chain and functioning ecosystems. Also, domesticated honey bees and wild bees are responsible for pollinating over two-thirds of the world’s agricultural crops.

Forest biologists do not know why this species persists on the Chippewa. It features a diverse landscape with a variety of cover types and management regimes, and includes federal, state, county, tribal and private land ownership.

The Chippewa is in a position to help increase and improve pollinator habitat for rusty patched bumble bees and other pollinators by engaging in practices like planting pollinator-friendly vegetation, increasing flower diversity in our plantings, limiting mowing practices, designing the configuration and timing of our prescribed burns to maintain important habitats and reduce potential impacts to pollinators, and avoiding the use of pesticides in pollinator habitats.


Chippewa National Forest Takes Part in Tribal Relations Training [photo]

At the end of October, U.S. Forest Service staff took part in tribal relations training – Building Collaborative Relationships with Tribal Communities - to foster stronger relationships and collaborative practices between the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (LLBO). Held at the Northern Lights Convention Center, the training was led by The University of Minnesota Duluth and was attended by staff from the Chippewa National Forest, Superior National Forest, Regional Office, and Northern Research Station, as well as The Nature Conservancy.  The goal of the training was to build staff understanding of the historical relationship between the Chippewa National Forest and LLBO, and use this knowledge to create stronger relationships and collaborative practices. According to Chippewa National Forest Supervisor Darla Lenz, the training was not the first or last tribal relations training for her staff, but rather another opportunity to promote awareness of the Chippewa’s unique responsibility of protecting the interest of the LLBO.  “The need for this training has been driven by this unique relationship and responsibility between the National Forest and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, which is different than any other National Forest,” said Lenz. “We have had a number of trainings over the years in tribal relations, the band’s culture, and an emphasis on trust responsibilities, but there are a number of newer employees who have had limited exposure to this information, so we saw this as an opportunity to build awareness of this unique situation that our employees work in with the goal of helping them to be able to do their jobs better over time.”

 

Superior National Forest

Press Releases

 

New Hampshire

White Mountain National Forest

Press Releases

 

New York

Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests

Native Plant Garden Flourishes on the Finger Lakes National Forest [photo]

A native plant and pollinator project that began in 2016 and went through a drought is showing signs of life, such as wildflowers, bees and butterflies!

In 2016, a native plant and pollinator garden was planted on the Hector Ranger District of the Finger Lakes National Forest. Simultaneously, an adjacent heavily infested shrubby hillside was treated to reduce non-native invasive plants. Afterwards, it was planted with native plant “seed bombs” made by a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew and a walking/viewing path was established. Unfortunately, this area of New York experienced a drought the summer after planting, so seedlings did not survive.

In 2017, the Forest hired local The Plantsmen Nursery to produce a custom mix of native plant plugs, sown by another YCC crew, replacing what was lost due to drought. At this time, perennial wildflower species began to be identifiable in the adjacent tilled plot. The Forest envisions both pollinator gardens being well-established by 2018.

Visitors are already exploring both gardens and their pollinators. To enhance visitor’s experience, a small bridge was constructed connecting the land to the hillside pollinator garden, a bench was placed in a shady location for optimal viewing, and an educational sign was created that interprets both gardens.

The Forest is looking to share this plant and pollinator garden success story with others and created a “how to” brochure that makes it easy to create your own pollinator garden at home.

 

Pennsylvania

Allegheny National Forest

Press Releases

 

Wisconsin

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Press Releases