Earth Day: Legislative Milestones & Beyond

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, a growing public awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment led to the enactment of key legislation protecting clean air, clean water, and endangered species, the establishment the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the annual observance of Earth Day every April 22.  On Earth Day 2016, GPO makes available these original, authentic documents on

worldAside from ushering in legislative mechanisms to protect our environment, Earth Day helped raise public awareness of everyday greening. Green spaces benefit our environment and our psychological wellbeing. Naturally (pun intended), vegetation needs consistent, targeted care. Here are two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) how-to guides for maintaining our planet’s valuable cache of green gold.

How to Prune Trees

When I think of pruning, I picture an English garden full of imaginative topiaries or a miniature bonsai masterpiece. But there are more than just aesthetic reasons for pruning—encouraging strong structure, wound closure, and space-conscience growth are all part of the snip and trim objective. “How to Prune Trees” explains the principles and approaches of keeping plants trees healthy and full of character.

001-000-04755-8This pamphlet tells you why, when, and how to use your hand pruners, lopping shears, and pole pruners. Don’t worry—there are helpful pictures, too. Although this publication is mostly a how-to resource, it does detail a few how-not-tos. The section on harmful pruning practices will make you wince with empathy. It’s a careful reminder that “just as proper pruning can enhance the form or character of plants, improper pruning can destroy it.” Finally, let this be your pruning mantra: “prune first for safety, next for health, and finally for aesthetics.”

Nursery Manual for Native Plants

This USDA Forest Service handbook covers all aspects of native nursery planning, crop propagation, and long-term fertility. This book takes tribal nursery design and management seriously. And so should you. Before you invest in a nursery, consider this: “a nursery is a web of interrelated factors. Each aspect of the nursery affects every other aspect.” So meta!

001-000-04744-2The text introduces Native American tribespeople to the benefits and drawbacks of growing native plants. Subsequent chapters breakdown the concepts of pest control, plant nutrition, growing media, and seed handling. Photos and specific examples demonstrate simple but effective techniques. Tribal nursery management is hard work. It’s also rewarding and challenging and visionary and practical. Nurseries can bring a tribal community together. Because of this, nursery design is “personal…you are the person who can best understand the unique…environment around you.”


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

 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.

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