Old Trees Don’t Grow Taller, But Pack On Weight Like A Body-Builder

Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get. Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age. "What we found was the exact opposite," says Nate Stephenson, a forest ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, based in California's Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. "Tree growth rate increases continuously as trees get bigger and bigger," Stephenson says. Follow the link below to read the full article on the NPR website: Old Trees Don't Grow Taller, But Pack On Weight Like A Body-Builder...
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Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Workshops Scheduled for Spring

AMES, Iowa—Along with the increasing consumer interests in buying locally grown foods come food safety expectations from buyers. Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, certification can be used by fruit and vegetable producers to meet buyer requirements for food safety.  Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will hold GAP workshops this fall for farmers who sell directly to consumers and those considering sales to retail foodservices. The one-day workshops are offered as Level 1: KNOW and Level 2: SHOW. Level 1 is training for growers who provide food to consumers through community–supported agriculture or farmers’ markets, or are considering retail foodservice sales. Training covers good agriculture best practices and market considerations. Level 2 workshops guide farmers in the development of a written farm food safety plan. Farmers considering sales to retail foodservices such as grocers, restaurants, hospitals and other institutions, and those interested in adding value to fresh produce and selling products in a convenience form will have the tools to demonstrate GAPs...
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Impacts of Cold on EAB??

Some of you might be wondering or have seen articles about EAB mortality due to extreme cold. While this may be true further north; Iowa didn't really get the sustained, intense cold required to kill EAB. The temperatures need to be -38 F for a minimum of two consecutive days to cause mortality in emerald ash borer. Wind chill factors do not affect the beetles. The beetles will be more susceptible to cold in black ash, white, and then green. Green ash bark helps insulate the larvae better. Based on the temperature maps, it's not likely that the cold will really impact the EAB population levels. However, a group of researchers tagged downy woodpeckers years ago to see how they followed the EAB migration. They are reporting that the woodpecker population is on the move. Obviously, the beetle is not moving this time of year; so the source of the woodpecker movement is not due to it following mobile beetles. The suspicion...
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UI plans to use threatened ash trees to power campus

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - An invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees are threatening a large portion of eastern Iowa. There are about 25 counties and an estimated 60-million ash trees across eastern Iowa threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer. However, researchers in the Iowa City area may have found a way to reuse ash tree wood. They say the wood from threatened ash trees, mixed coal produces steam providing electricity as an energy source. Ferman Milster, principle engineer for University of Iowa Office of Sustainability says they could use the renewable fuel to help power the campus. “The university has a goal to be 40 percent renewable by 2020,” said Milster. “Rather than having all this wood in the landfill or burned, we'll be able to use it for energy recovery.” The power plant facility is the sole source of steam for the university and the hospital complex, providing heating and cooling for most if not all the buildings on campus. Milster says they’re hoping to...
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AmeriCorps VISTA Members Making a Difference on Food Day

Check out the blog post written by the AmeriCorps Vista member Caroline about the school gardens, Kate Mitchell and Sawyer. Visit the link here to go to the blog.   My name is Caroline Parks, and I recently graduated from Iowa State University with an M.S. in Sustainable Agriculture and Sociology. I am currently serving one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA, and have the opportunity to be a school garden coordinator in two elementary schools in Ames, IA. Along with my AmeriCorps partner Rebekka Brown, we organized two events to celebrate Food Day at the schools we serve. At Kate Mitchell Elementary, we had a food tasting event during recess, where students from all grades participated by sampling a variety of vegetables. Through an Iowa Farm to School grant, we were able to provide fresh and local vegetables from Table Top Farm, a local CSA. Vegetables included celeriac (celery root), beets (golden, red, and chiogga), carrots (bolero), kohlrabi, and rainbow radishes. Student receiving...
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Interesting Thoughts On The Bee Problem

Crashing bee populations have been a concern around the world. A group of economists were interested in how the lack of bees was affecting various industries. So the economists did a study of some apple orchards in China, where, to compensate for the drop in bee pollination, the farmers hired humans to hand pollinate their trees. "What they learned (and published) was a shocker. First, the apple farmers reported that apple production was not hurt by the absence of bees. In fact, the apple harvest was "30 to 40 percent greater" when humans did the pollinating. "Human pollinators," wrote J.B. MacKinnon, "were better at getting to every blossom, performed cross-pollination more efficiently, and could work in windy, rainy weather."" But the article continues interestingly: "The problem is, it's not easy to do. It may be impossible. Yes, we can measure a bee's contribution to the apple business. But bees also make honey and can see things we can't (with eyes that may one...
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Take a listen to the WHO Radio “The Big Show” interview

Listen to the interview done by Doug Cooper on WHO Radio's "The Big Show." Here Hamilton County Conservation Board's Executive Director Brian Lammers and Prairie Rivers of Iowa's Log Products Coordinator, Mike Brandrup talk about their partnership through cabins and our log products. To learn more about our log products check out our Log Products page. To learn more about Hamilton County Conservation and all the amenities they have to offer go to: MyCountyParks.com To learn more about WHO Radio go to: www.whoradio.com   ...
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