Black History Month: The Underground Railroad

February 5, 2016

February is Black History Month. It calls upon all Americans to honor African-American expressions of sacrifice and heroism throughout history. The earliest endeavors in the national civil rights struggle have much to do with the outcry against human bondage.

Prior to the Civil War, organized abolitionists were aided by the loosely interconnected Underground Railroad. Neither underground nor railroad, the UGGR, as it was known to patrons, was a scattered, clandestine network of antislavery diehards and freed blacks. Secret routes and safe houses dotted the antebellum landscape spanning from Georgia to Canada. Between the peak years of 1830 and 1865, it helped as many as one hundred thousand fugitive slaves escape to freedom.

Harriet Tubman (Library of Congress)

Harriet Tubman (Library of Congress)

Harriet Tubman, a UGGR conductor, remarked upon on her eight years spent freeing slaves: “I can say what most conductors can’t say—I never run my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” Tubman became a revered voice in the protest against the debasing injustices of slavery. In 2013, President Obama established the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. You can read the park pamphlet available through GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Today, the Underground Railroad is an atypical national park. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it came under the jurisdiction the National Park Service (NPS). After conducting a study of UGGR operations and primary routes, NPS was entrusted with its preservation and interpretation. You can read the act establishing the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom on GPO’s govinfo.gov.

024-005-01185-4In addition, the U.S. Government Bookstore makes available the following National Park Service publications:

Underground Railroad: Official Map and Guide

Underground Railroad: Official National Park Handbook

Discovering the Underground Railroad: Junior Ranger Activity Book

The Underground Railroad connected sympathizers with freedom seekers, freed with enslaved. The untold numbers of underground success stories sprouted above ground into a vast nexus of advocates and defenders. Unquestionably, the UGGR ride to freedom helped lay the tracks for the civil rights movement of the 20th century. During this Black History Month, may we admire that extraordinary effort to liberate a people and the larger African-American journey to freedom in all its forms.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Click on the Links: For the free resources, click on the links above in the blog post.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


On National Bird Day, Find Refuge in Wild America

January 4, 2016

“Wake up with the birds. Arrive in the early morning (or late afternoon) when wildlife is most active.” So reads a line from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System: A Visitor’s Guide. It’s a fitting piece of guidance since January 5th is 14th annual National Bird Day. This observance was established to raise awareness for the survival and contributions of native wild birds. Fortunately, the unspoiled terrain of America’s 560 national wildlife refuges provide a protected home to more than 700 bird species and so much more.

024-010-00724-9The concept of a “network of federal lands dedicated specifically to wildlife conservation” began with President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. A king conservationist, he signed off on the first wildlife refuge at Florida’s Pelican Island. Today, the National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) System cooperatively manages 150 million acres of nationwide wild wealth. It’s also a sanctuary for 380 threatened or endangered species, including the rare bald eagle.

Every state has at least one wildlife refuge. And there’s at least one within an hour’s drive from every major American city. That means pretty much everyone has access to an outdoor preservation-recreation experience. In fact, the success of this system is dependent upon human activity. So much so that one side of the visitor’s guide highlights a good-sized list of recreational and educational opportunities. Wildlife viewing seasons and photography spots; historic sites and nature trails; and boating, fishing and hunting are vertically marked in the fold-out publication.

Indigo Bunting (excerpt from publication)

Indigo Bunting (excerpt from publication)

It’s hardly surprising that noncontiguous Alaska and Hawaii get their own breakout boxes on the NRW map. Alaska hosts 90 percent of Refuge System wilderness and Hawaii is, well, dazzling Hawaii. But why does the map call out North Dakota? It so happens that the Peace Garden State (best official state nickname ever) contains 63 National Wildlife Refuges, more than any other state. Way to go, ND!

From Aroostook in Maine to Ten Thousand Islands in Florida, Three Arch Rocks in Oregon to Big Boggy in Texas, national wildlife refuges are a celebration of America’s natural heritage. Clean grasslands, wetlands, forests, coastal backwaters form the anchoring landscapes. Animals such as whooping cranes, cutthroat trout, and brown bears are the occupants. But it’s the committed efforts of citizen-stewards who keep this all thriving. So get out there, people. Find refuge in wild America!

How do I obtain this publication?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

 


The Wright Stuff: Skies & World Transformed

December 16, 2015

They called Dayton, Ohio home and used the wind-shaped dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as a lift off point. Both places were testing grounds, temporary assignments. For it was the unopened blue that beckoned them skyward and homeward. On December 17th, 1903, the Wilbur and Orville Wright stuck their first—and the world’s first—successful flight in a heavier-than-air, mechanically controlled machine. Twelve seconds in the air turned into over 100 years of aviation progress.

024-005-01212-5Those sibling inventors behind the defining technology of the last century are the subject of a National Park Service handbook entitled “First Flight, The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane.” In his forward, astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn defers to the duo as the “first astronauts. Their initial short flight opened our quest to reach beyond the world we know. They were the first test pilots.”

In ‘First Flight’, noted Wright biographer Tom D. Crouch recounts their bicycle shop beginnings, hometown life, and aeronautical experimentations. Full page maps and fold-outs tell of the history, visionaries, and mechanics of flight. Pull-out quotes decorate the margins, lending a first person feel to Wilbur & Orville’s story.

Eye witnesses thought the pair were foolhardy—a few spokes short of a wheel. Kitty Hawk resident Millie Daniels said, “A lot of folks thought the Wrights were a little touched, you know…they would  imitate the way birds flew…turn their arms like wings and run through the dunes while watching the gulls.” The birdie brothers weathered the pitch-and-roll of small gains and minor setbacks. In search of strong headwinds to propel their glider, they eventually moved their production from Ohio to the sand flats of the Outer Banks.

The iconic first flight of the Wright brothers in their 1903 Wright Flyer (Credit: NPS Wright Brothers National Memorial)

The iconic first flight of the Wright brothers in their 1903 Wright Flyer (Credit: NPS Wright Brothers National Memorial)

Pitched in tents battered by bitter nor’easters, the Wrights set out to beta test the product of their scientific inquiries. Several seasons of experiments led to design changes that led to repairs that led to reattempts. Finally, on a cold morning of perfect conditions, sustained human flight was achieved. On his first glide into the air, Orville remarked, “It was only a flight of twelve seconds, and it was uncertain, wavy, creeping sort of flight at best; but it was a real flight at last…”

A foolhardy flying machine became a phenomena of human achievement. The Wright Brothers made their home above the world and consequently changed the world.

How do I obtain First Flight?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Wildlife Conservation Day: Read About a Refuge

December 4, 2015

Where Steens Mountain and Blitzen Valley meet in Southeast Oregon, a prolific natural legacy lives in the form of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Such places of preservation take on special meaning come December 4th. That day is Wildlife Conservation Day, celebrated annually since the U.S. Department of State declared it so in 2012. In time for the observance, this blog spotlights a government book about the ecological and archeological abundance of one Oregonian sagebrush-covered basin.

024-001-03629-1The paper bag-brown exterior of the U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service publication Malheur’s Legacy: Celebrating a Century of Conservation, 1908-2008 betrays nothing of the beauty within. Open it up and you’ll find part picture book, part human history. Like so much of America’s landscape, Malheur’s grassy marshland has a lush story to tell.

Well before the refuge was formally gazetted in 1908, prehistoric climatic changes blueprinted the ecosystem. Undulating water flows created a meadowland for migratory wildfowl. Early Native Americans hunted off the spring-watered land. Many revolutions of the sun later, wagon trains of settlers wheeled in. Ranching transformed the wetlands. Hunters sourcing high fashion hat plumes nearly snuffed out the native bird species.

American avocet with chick (excerpt from publication).

American avocet with chick (excerpt from publication).

Conservationists cried fowl (terrible pun intended). Believing that “spread at our feet was a domain for wild fowl unsurpassed in the United States,” they passionately propositioned President Theodore Roosevelt to designate the hunted landscape a wildlife refuge. And now, over 100 years later, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a protected home for over 320 bird species including the great egret, Northern pintail drake, and American avocet.

During the Great Depression, scores of young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps encamped in the area and completed numerous improvement projects. In the later half of the 20th century, refuge staff began digging into the long haul work of maintaining a premier wildlife habitat. Conservation management challenges were faced head on and bird homes were successfully safeguarded. Many of those protected waterfowl are pictured in the last 1/3 of the book.

Mahlheur’s Legacy is a story about nature, sure. But also nurture. It took a lot of manpower to set aside a land shaped by the past in order save it for the future. I hope you can set aside some time to read about it.

How do I obtain this publication?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


National Public Lands Day: Orchards and Fruit Trees

September 23, 2014

The leaves on the trees are changing colors, pumpkins seem to be popping up everywhere, and it is getting darker earlier. Fall is in the air and coinciding with the beginning of fall is National Public Lands Day, a celebration that began in 1994 and takes place on the last Saturday of September where volunteers across the country work together to beautify public lands. Also coinciding with the season is the annual trip to the orchard to pick apples and drink cider. In the spirit of fall, apple picking, and National Public Lands Day, we are looking at two companion publications from the National Park Service about orchards and fruit trees.

024-005-01266-4Fruitful Legacy: A Historic Context of Orchards in the United States, with Technical Information for Registering Orchards in the National Register of Historical Places

This 2009 publication follows the history of fruit trees, their presence in national parks, and how to properly register the trees. The first half and more interesting half of the publication informs readers on how fruit trees came to the United States:

  • From 1600-1800, European settlers planted seeds in irregular patterns to grow fruit trees for the purpose of producing cider and animal feed, not to produce edible fruit.
  • During the 1800s, commercial orchards were established where trees were planted in a specific pattern with the purpose of eating raw fruit. This practice started on the east coast and migrated west along with the expansion of the country.
  • From the late-1880s to mid-1900s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was established and a new generation of growers started using pesticides, mechanical irrigation systems, cold storage, and mechanized equipment.
  • From the mid-1900s to present, the practice transitioned from amateur, small-scale farm orchards to professional commercial orchards. It was determined that small, dwarf trees produced greater yield and were more profitable.

024-005-01304-1014Historic Orchard and Fruit Tree Stabilization Handbook

Published in 2012, this publication follows Fruitful Legacy and specifically focuses on preserving orchards and fruit trees in California. Orchards and fruit trees are growing across 15 percent of California State Parks. Established overtime by Native Americans, Spanish missionaries, and the settlers from the Gold Rush, orchards and fruit trees can live from 50-200 years depending on the type of tree. The publication goes in depth on how to grow, maintain, and protect orchards and fruit trees and is intended for professionals who work for the California State Park Systems. However, the information can be adapted by anyone who wants to know best practices for growing fruit trees whether it is an entire orchard or a single tree.

Embrace fall and celebrate National Public Lands Day with a trip to your local orchard!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

About the Author: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs.


A Star-Spangled Anniversary

September 12, 2014
Image: Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of our National Anthem http://www.starspangled200.com/

Image: Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of our National Anthem (http://www.starspangled200.com/)

September 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the United States National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In September 1814, after a 25-hour long battle with the British, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a 42-foot American flag in victory. A young Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born attorney, was aboard a ship in Baltimore’s harbor to negotiate the release of an American prisoner and was so inspired by the patriotic sight that he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Image source: nps.gov

Francis Scott Key (nps.gov)

If you’re lucky enough to be in Maryland during the month of September, the Star-Spangled Spectacular is a free festival that celebrates the 200th anniversary of our National Anthem. Tall ships, Navy ships, and the Blue Angels will come to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Landside festivals include living history demonstrations. Events crescendo on September 13, 2014 with two star-studded patriotic concerts and extraordinary fireworks display over Fort McHenry and the Baltimore harbor, which will broadcast live on PBS’ Great Performances. Learn more here.

You can check out the National Park Service’s Fort McHenry page for details about the park, its history, and the festivities.

The U.S. Government Printing Office offers publications and resources to help you learn more about this pivotal point in American history.

citizens almanacAvailable through the U.S. Government Bookstore, The Citizen’s Almanac: Fundamental Documents, Symbols, and Anthems of the United States, contains information on the history, people, and events of the United States. This resource is primarily targeted at immigrants hoping to become U.S. citizens. However, it can also serve as a patriotic resource for elementary school-age children through freshmen in high school. Teachers of social studies and civics programs may want to have a copy handy to use in classrooms. Some examples of things covered in the publication are: rights and responsibilities of citizens, the Star-Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Gettysburg Address, the Constitution, landmark decisions of the Supreme Court, and much more. A related resource is the Civics and Citizenship Toolkit.

GPO’s Federal Digital System also has a variety of Government documents related to the Star-Spangled Banner:

Star Spangled Banner Flag on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964

Star Spangled Banner Flag on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964

GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications provides access to a fascinating document from the Smithsonian, National Museum of American History: The Star-Spangled Banner: State-of-the-Flag Report, 2001. This document describes the history of THE flag that inspired our National Anthem, where it has traveled since 1814, the conservation project undertaken to preserve it for future generations, and more.

Also check out this information from the Smithsonian on the Star-Spangled Banner. You can also learn about the flag’s preservation project here. You can also learn more about Francis Scott-Key here.

You can also visit a Federal depository library near you to discover what other publications the Federal Government has to offer on this incredible moment in American history. Locations are nationwide. Find the Federal depository nearest you by visiting the Federal Depository Library Directory.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also order print editions by calling GPO’s  Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Library Program.


The All-in-One Guide to All Federal Assistance Programs

March 27, 2014

Catalog-of-Federal-Domestic-Assistance_2013_cover imageDid you know that the U.S. Government offers more than 2,200 Federal assistance programs to the American public? It does, and these programs serve a variety of purposes and provide a range of benefits to state and local governments, non-profit organizations, institutions, and individuals.

The one characteristic shared by these Federal assistance programs is their goal of supporting the American public. The benefits available through these programs include, but are not limited to, financial assistance and the exchange of property or services.

With so many Federal assistance programs and services available, it can be understandably difficult to keep track of them all or know where to start when looking for assistance. That’s where the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance — known fondly as the CFDA– comes into play! The General Services Administration maintains a database of all of these programs and publishes a comprehensive guide to the programs annually.

The 2013 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance assists users in identifying programs that meet their needs and obtaining general information about the program-such as how to apply for assistance, the approval process, related programs, and contact information.

What categories of U.S. Government Federal Assistance Programs are there and what information is provided on each?

Some types of Federal Assistance funding are issued via grants. To search for and track all Federal Government grants, visit Grants.gov.

Some types of Federal Assistance funding are issued via grants. To search for, apply to, and track all sorts of Federal Government grants, visit the Grants.gov website.

Each program is detailed in the CFDA, and potential users can review the details including each program’s Objectives, Types of Assistance, and the rules for applying for and using this program, including Uses and Use Restriction and Eligibility Requirements for both the grant applicant and beneficiary(ies).

Each entry also includes any Credentials/Documentation required and the Application and Award Process that must be followed to apply for , from Preapplication Coordination and Application Procedures to Award Procedure and Deadlines for submitting your application (if required).

Types of Federal assistance programs run the gamut from Formula or Project Grants to Cooperative Agreements; Direct Payments for either a specified or unrestricted use; Direct Loans or Guaranteed / Insured Loans; Insurance; Sale, exchange, or donation of Federal property or goods; Use of Federal property, facilities, or equipment; even Investigation of complaints and Advisory Services and Counseling; plus many more.

Sampling of some of the Federal Assistance Programs available

Image: Break-down of CFDA program distribution for the top five issuing agencies by dollars provided. Source: CFDA Website

Image: Break-down of CFDA program distribution for the top five issuing agencies by dollars provided. Source: CFDA.gov Website

In order to demonstrate the broad scope of these Federal assistance programs a bit more, here’s a look at some of the more interesting programs offered by these top 5 agencies that provide the most program offerings:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • Nutrition Services Incentive Program
  • Mental Health Research Grants
  • Grants to Increase Organ Donations
  • Poison Center Support and Enhancement Grant Program

U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)

  • Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program
  • American Battlefield Protection Grants
  • Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Grants
  • Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

  • Collaborative Forest Restoration Project
  • Farmers’ Market Promotion Program
  • Animal Health and Disease Research Grants
  • Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

  • Missing Children’s Assistance Grants
  • Community-Based Violence Prevention Program
  • Juvenile Mentoring Program
  • Economic High-Tech and Cyber Crime Prevention Grants

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

  • Housing Counseling Assistance Program
  • Appalachia Economic Development Initiative
  • Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grants
  • Veterans Homelessness Prevention Program
Veterans-Homelessness-Prevention-Program
This last program, for example, the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Program, or VHPD, is a Project Grant type assistance program which has the following stated objective:
“The purpose of the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Program (VHPD) is to explore ways for the Federal Government to offer early intervention homelessness prevention, primarily to veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The authorizing statutory language for the VHPD acknowledges the increasing number of female veterans, veterans with families especially with a single head of household, as well as those from the National Guard and Reserve who are being discharged from the military and whose unique needs should be more closely examined.”

The VHPD grant money funding is to be…

“used for short-term housing assistance, including security deposits, up to 18 months of rent assistance, rental and/or utility arrearages, or related housing assistance. Grantees may also use funding for appropriate services for veterans and their families, including, but not limited to, child care, family services and case management.”

As you can see, Federal assistance programs exist to benefit the American public in many different arenas and through a variety of methods. Whether the goal is to reduce veterans’ homelessness, to mitigate the impact of earthquakes, or to provide mentorship for young people, the 2013 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is the ultimate resource and all-in-one guide for learning about the programs that are available from the U.S. Government.

After all, the public needs to be aware of these programs in order to take advantage of what they have to offer!

How can I get these and other Federal Government publications on Federal Benefits?

In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find other benefits publications from the following:

About the Authors: Guest blogger Stephanie Jaeger is Sales & Marketing Coordinator for GPO’s Sales & Marketing Division that markets GPO’s publishing services to the Federal sector.

Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions and Ecommerce Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.

 


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