New Report On Climate Change & Human Health

June 20, 2016

Climate change is a global threat to health, says a new U.S. Government report. About 100 climate-change science and public health experts from eight Federal agencies–including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)–got together and combed through a ton of peer-reviewed research. The result is a more robust scientific understanding of how climate change increases risk to human health. The conclusion of this recently released report is as the climate continues to change, it will intensify old threats and precipitate new ones, to include adverse human health effects.

GPO makes available the collaborative and foundational report, Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, as a PDF eBook.

ClimateHealth2016_FullReportThis scientific assessment examines the profound impact of climate change on the health of American people. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, which spearheaded the assessment, says “Every person in the U.S. is vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change at some point in their lives, no matter where they live.”

At global, regional, and local levels, extreme rainfall, drought, heat, and flooding will challenge quality food, water, and air supplies. In turn, the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries, premature deaths, vector-borne illnesses, infectious diseases, and threats to mental health will grow. Page five of the report charts examples of how climate change can affect human health and disease.

Climate Impacts_p5

This diagram shows specific examples of how climate change can affect human health, now and in the future. Excerpt from Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States report. Click on image to enlarge.

Here are a few key discoveries from Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment:

  • Temperature-Related Death and Illness: rising concentrations of greenhouse gases —> more extreme temperature swings —> increase in deaths and illness from heat and cold;
  • Air Quality Impacts: higher levels of air pollutants and airborne allergens —> poor indoor and outdoor air quality —> negative affect on allergies and respiratory health;
  • Impacts of Extreme Events on Human Health: exposure to extreme events —> disruption of essential infrastructure —> health risks;
  • Vector-Borne Diseases: climate change is expected to alter vector-borne disease transmission and infection patterns and spur the emergence of new vector-borne pathogens;
  •  Climate Impacts on Water-Related Illness: affected fresh and marine water resources —> more water-related contaminants —> more water-related illnesses
  •  Food Safety, Nutrition, and Distribution: higher global temps and concentrations of CO2 —> increase foodborne illness, lower nutritional values, and make food less safe;
  • Mental Health and Well-Being: climate change disasters can have serious mental health consequences such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

These experts hope research like this will lead efforts to counter climactic disturbances and proactively manage the health risks of climate change.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS FREE RESOURCE?

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: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

 


Homeowners & Landowners: The U.S. Gov Has You Covered!

April 26, 2016

Homeowners and landowners! The U.S. Government has several useful publications to help you make knowledgeable decisions about your habitat. Reduce the hazards of lead-based paint. Stop up energy-wasting air leaks. Know what you need to know about interstate natural gas projects. Read on!

Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home

055-000-00683-1Lead-based paint is hazardous. You probably know that. The older the building, the more likely the inside and outside surfaces contain the heavy metal (the chemical element, not the music). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development pulled together this brochure to help you identify the many sources of lead and eliminate risks.

First step: “The only way to find out if paint, dust, or soil lead hazards exist is to test for them.” For homes and childcare facilities built before 1978, you have cause to act even quicker. In fact, Federal law requires disclosure of lead-based paint information to prospective buyers and renters of pre-1978 properties. Protect your family from damaging health effects—check your home for lead!

A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Sealing and Insulating with Energy Star

055-000-00684-9Does Aunt Mabel often feel a draft when she’s visiting your home? Better patch up those leaks! The EPA offers this handy guide to locate and seal leaks, specifically in the basement and attic where most problematic leaks are hidden. Pesky leaks love to seek cover behind insulation.

To get started, make a rough sketch of your home’s floor plan. Spatial reference points will help you locate common household air leaks in wiring holes, plumbing vents, furnace flues, etc. Then follow the booklet’s guidance for plugging holes and caulking gaps. Enhance the performance of your insulation, reduce your energy bills, and make your home more comfortable—this government resource will get you there.

An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know?

061-000-00967-1_Page_01If these are questions that keep you up at night, then grab yourself a copy of this Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) booklet. FERC is responsible for approving private natural gas pipelines projects. The agency assembled this concise, illustrative pamphlet to let consumers know:

  • How the Commission’s evaluation process works;
  • Landowner rights;
  • Issues involving project location and pipeline construction
  • Environmental, safety, and storage issues.

Bonus: a two-page graphic of a pipeline installation sequence gives visual context to what it takes to move natural gas across state boundaries. It’s quite the process. And FERC is here to tell you all you need to know.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

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.


Earth Day: Legislative Milestones & Beyond

April 21, 2016

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 govinfo.gov.

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.”

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

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.


Environmental resources from the Federal Government

June 4, 2015

environment 1It’s time, once again, for World Environment Day (WED), a globally-celebrated day for positive environmental action. Established by the UN General Assembly in 1972, WED is celebrated annually on June 5th and inspires worldwide environmental awareness, attention, and action.

2015’s theme is “resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production in the context of the planet’s regenerative capacity, as captured in the slogan ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care’.”

There are countless resources from the Federal Government on the topics of environmental protection, conservation, sustainability, green initiatives, and footprint reduction, just to name a few.

The White House has pioneered many initiatives focused on energy, climate change, and our environment. You can read more about all these initiatives, get the latest news, and even sign up for energy and environment updates via email at https://www.whitehouse.gov/energy.

And let’s not forget the obvious authority on tackling these issues, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From epa.gov, you can get important facts and information about a host of environmental issues, including: air, chemicals and toxics, climate change, emergencies, greener living, health and safety, land and cleanup, pesticides, waste, and water. Of course, you can also access laws and regulations that are in the works to support these issues. And with summer nearly here, you can also get sun safety tips and learn about insect repellents. You can even locate resources in your own community to address local environmental challenges by inputting an address, zip code, or location name.

USA.gov offers a browseable list of .gov resources on the topics of “environment, energy, and agriculture.” From there, you can also sign up to receive updates when there is new information available on these topics.

earth-from-spaceGPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications offers access to a wide variety of related publications and resources from across the Federal Government. Here is just a small sampling:

GPO’s Federal Digital System also provides free access to countless pieces of legislation and Federal regulations on the topic. Here are just a few:

earth 2The U.S. Government Bookstore offers a wide variety of U.S. Government publications related to this important and timely topic.

Take a look at our 19 collections of publications related to the topic of Environment and Nature.

There are U.S. Government publications on topics ranging from Environmental Protection and Conservation collection to Biofuels and Renewable Energy to Earth Day and more!

Celebrate World Environment Day by taking in all of the environmental information resources provided by the U.S. Government, and share this information with others.

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: Kelly Seifert is the Lead Planning Specialist in GPO’s Library Services & Content Management division.


Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One… a Top Ten List of Funny Federal Titles

April 1, 2014

A few weeks ago, Jennifer Davis’ supervisor delivered a challenge to her via email: write a story about humorous government document titles for April Fool’s Day. (Read various stories about the origins of April Fool’s Day here, here and here.) April Fool’s humor has had a long history with American Government, dating back to Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (read caption below).

Benjamin Franklin wearing an ostentatious fake moustache for April Fool's Day

According to news humor site “Weekly World News”, the American founding father of April Fool’s Day was Benjamin Franklin. Since Franklin, April 1st has been synonymous in America for a day of practical jokes and general mischief. Tales of his exploits were published in the Philadelphia Gazette on the 1st of April every year. For example, says the site, he was known to give entire public speeches on April 1 wearing an ostentatious fake moustache.😉 Can you believe it? (Image courtesy of Weekly World News.)- M. Bartram

Says Jennifer: “I love reading government documents for their data and their fascinating stories, but I usually wouldn’t consider them to be laugh-out-loud funny. Or as a colleague said, “They’re not Abbott and Costello funny”. But everyone’s got to laugh some time, right? And when I searched GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), and picked my colleagues’ brains, I found that Uncle Sam sometimes gets his chuckles, too. I found more titles than these ten—but I want to save some for another occasion. There have been a few other lists of humorous government documents, not all of them Federal titles, circulating around the Internet, and so I’ve tried to keep this list as unique as possible.”

(If you like the topic of this column, you should visit the Washington State University’s exhibit, The Lighter Side of…. The Government Printing Office, which runs through June 28, 2014.)

[Michele Bartram Editor’s Note: Over the years, Government Book Talk has also highlighted some funny Federal publication titles within previous blog posts including: Society through a Comic Lens, The Nuttall Tick CatalogueDr. Seuss, U.S. Army, Sprocket Man!War Games, and Ponzimonium. You’ll chuckle over the odd, quirky, ironic or inadvertently funny titles of the books mentioned!]

All of these titles in this blog post have records in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, and you might be able to find a copy in your local Federal depository library, or find one at your regional library. Click here for a list of Federal Depository Libraries (the Federal Depository Library Directory or FDLD). Since many of these Government documents —books, posters, pamphlets and PDFs— are older than five years, you might have to search a bit to find a copy. When available, we have provided links for the electronic version of these titles.

Below is the list of Top 10 funniest titles that Jennifer provided, along with additional details about each.

TOP 10 FUNNIEST TITLES

Gobbledygook_has-gotta-go_green-cover1) Gobbledygook has Gotta Go. This Bureau of Land Management title about the problems with Government writing is a classic, and a precursor to the “Plain Language” initiative today to simplify the wording in communications. It has been cited in several collected lists of funny titles, and it’s the only time I cheated and included it in my list anyway.  Gobbledygook is just such a great word to say, and the alliteration makes the title even funnier. You can read a scanned copy of this book here.

2) Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic. All of our GPO office mates agree: this comic has got to be the most fun Federal government document to date.  The CDC was smart and exploited the current interest in zombies, and made an emergency preparedness checklist into a comic on preparing for the “zombie pandemic”. In this comic, the scientists of the CDC are the superheroes, isolating the virus “Z5N1” and developing a vaccine in record time, while the locals develop a checklist of emergency supplies so they can stay inside their home. Just the title alone is enough to make you smile—and it gets its point across. You can read the entire publication online here.

cdc-preparedness-101-zombie-pandemic

3) This is a Dumb Bunny. I love the idea of the Federal government calling someone a “dumb bunny”. Even if the document it is quite literally the image of a rabbit, which spoils some of the fun, I am still tickled by the idea of a snarky Uncle Sam. The poster’s actually about smoking cessation.

"This is a dumb bunny!" anti-smoking 1970s poster from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare

4) Safety is as Stupid Does!!  I know what the goal was with this title. The poster (seen on the University of Iowa Digital Library) makes it clear to the intended audience of military personnel that not thinking hurts safety on the job. However, I think the title missed the mark. It’s funny in its own right.

Safety-is-as-stupid-does_DOD-poster

5) Do Mandrakes Really Scream?  A colleague of mine is a huge Harry Potter fan. She said cataloging this title was the pinnacle of her career. It’s the online exhibition catalog of an National Library of Medicine (NLM) History of Medicine exhibit relating NLM’s historical holdings and the magic and medicine of Harry Potter.

If you read the Harry Potter series, you’ll know what the title is referring to. If you haven’t read the series, check out this free exhibit first; you might find yourself diving into the book series afterwards.

National Library of Medicine NLM "Do Mandrakes Really Scream? Magic and Medicine in Harry Potter" website

6) USDA Saves French Donkey.  The title of this mid-1980s US Department of Agriculture publication just speaks for itself.

[Editor’s note: Probably the publication refers to this 1985 story reported in the Los Angeles Times about a rare 7-month-old curly haired French Poitou donkey named Sonette at the San Diego Zoo: Rare Donkey Passes Test, Can Stay Here”]

French Poitou donkey has dreadlocks that need a haircut

The rare French Baudet du Poitou donkey breed is born with curly hair that naturally grows into long dreadlocks as an adult. This one hasn’t had a haircut in 17 years! (Source: The Telegraph – UK)

7) Self-Motion Perception and Motion Sickness: Final Report for the Project  NASA’s report on a motion sickness project makes me want to just… stop… moving! Read about it on NASA’s website.

NASA-astronauts-with-motion-sicknessAbove: NASA astronauts in zero gravity try to fend off the effects of motion sickness.  To learn more about motion sickness, watch this 3-minute TED Talk animated video about “The Mystery of Motion Sickness.”

America the Beautiful: A Collection of the Nation's Trashiest Humor with comic strips about solid waste or trash8) America the Beautiful: Collection of the Nation’s Trashiest Humor. Not only is the title funny, but the book’s content promises humor as well. This is publication number 2048 of The U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, originally published in 1970. The book consists of thirty comics, from the funny pages like B.C., and some from the editorial pages of publications from the New Yorker to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, all focusing on the problem of waste disposal. You can read the publication in its entirety online at the EPA’s website.

9) French Meadows: Hell Hole Recreation Areas. Although the area is really quite lovely, there’s a problem with image marketing in this U.S. Forest Service tourism brochure.

French-Meadows-Hell-Hole-Reservoir

Poster for The Vampire Bat movie starring Fay Wray10) Controlling Vampire Bats.  This serious US Agency for International Development publication about controlling the spread of rabies through these creatures nevertheless evokes shades of Tippi Hedren… Don’t you get a mental picture of people running down the street away from the bats, waving their arms over their heads and screaming, à la The Birds? Or Fay Wray being controlled by an evil vampire in bat form in the movie “The Vampire Bat” (movie poster image at the right)? Maybe I’ve read too many zombie comics.

How can I find these funny-titled Federal publications?

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

  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library.
  • Visit a Public Library: Ask your local public librarian about Federal Government books available to check out as well as Federal eBooks that may be available for library patrons to digitally download through the library’s Overdrive subscription.

And to find popular current Federal publications, you may:

  • Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks as well as 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: Adapted and expanded by Michele Bartram, Government Book Talk Editor and Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, from an original post by Jennifer K. Davis, formerly from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP).

Have a fun and funny April Fool’s Day!


Spring forward into the garden

March 20, 2014

Baby chick hides among yellow daffodils

Image: Chick with daffodils (Source: Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy

Ah, spring: the season of rebirth, renewal, and growth. Breathe in the air full of the fresh blossoms of flowers, feel the first warm breezes, gaze at the profusion of color, and listen to the birds chirping and insects buzzing.

Most of the United States just went into daylight saving time on March 9 with instructions to “spring forward” with our clocks. On Thursday, March 20, 2014, we spring forward for real as it is the Spring or Vernal Equinox, fondly known as the official first day of spring. After a brutal winter and the first full month of spring and National Garden Month—April– just around the corner, many minds turn toward planting and gardening with their promise of getting back in touch with nature.

Play the Zone

Before you pull on the mud boots and pick up your gloves and tools, you’ll want to determine where you are in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for the United States. The climate where you garden affects the fruits and vegetables that you can grow successfully. Local nurseries and garden centers will typically stock plants that perform well in your climate, but it’s important to know your planting zone if you are ordering seeds, bulbs, or plants from non-local establishments.

USDA-Plant-Hardiness-Zones-Map across the U.S.

Image: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map (Source: USDA)

How does your garden grow?

If you pore over seed catalogs, browse gardening Web sites, stroll the store aisles of soil, pots, and plants, and read gardening books in the dark winter months, then you probably have the gardening bug. You can also learn to recognize the real insects that you have in your garden with The Bug Book: A Garden Field Guide from the EPA. Gardeners can toil away only to find that someone else is enticed by the new plants; that’s when some choose to control pests by using chemicals. Be extra safe and learn about the effects of pest control, especially if you have children. Greenscaping (see this EPA guide) is an alternative method of dealing with those tiny invaders in your garden.

Lady bugs clustered on an oak branch

Image: Lady bugs gathering on an oak branch (Source: NPS)

Practice safe gardening

EPA's Mission: Sunwise Activity Book for sun safety ISBN  9780160917097In any outdoor activity, you want to be safe and healthy in the garden. While you are digging away and pulling weeds, you can get quite a sunburn or get dehydrated. The EPA’s Mission: Sunwise Activity Book helps educate kids on how to be safe in the sun and to use sunscreen. Check out these health and safety tips so that you can continue to enjoy the time spent outdoors.

How to Prune Trees by the U.S. Forest Service ISBN: 9780160913761How-to-Recognize-Hazardous Defects-in-Trees ISBN: 9780160913778When it comes to tackling bigger projects, read up first to learn what to look for in your own backyard, starting with those stately trees. How to Prune Trees is a best-selling quick guide to smart practices on trimming branches for optimum tree health. How to Recognize Hazardous Defects in Trees is an overview of common issues with trees.

Removing a tree altogether is sometimes the only safe option; Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down? is a book for children that explains how taking away an unhealthy tree can benefit the overall environment of the garden.Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down? U.S. Forest Service ISBN: 9780160916267

As always, with any larger gardening issues, you’ll want to consult a professional arborist for concerns with your trees.

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Gardening is an ideal activity for children. Not only are they out in nature and physically active, but they also learn about where healthy food comes from while observing the weather, biology, zoology, and conservation. The First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, has been teaching the message of healthy living through nutritious, locally grown food in her White House Kitchen Garden. Plants grown right outside the White House in Washington, DC, end up on the dining table of the President’s family. Whether you are building a kitchen garden, a school garden, or a community garden, Let’s Move has more information for you, including a diagram of the White House Kitchen Garden if you want to recreate it in your own backyard.

The Little Acorn - USDA children's book ISBN: 9780160817014Schools are well aware of the educational benefits of gardening; it begins as early as pre-school. (Download the free “Grow It, Try It, Like It! Preschool Fun with Fruits and Vegetables” garden-themed nutrition education kit.) Teachers can find resources and lesson plans from the EPA to incorporate gardening into their school curriculum. And if April showers are in the forecast, little ones can still learn about nature by curling up with a delightful illustrated book about The Little Acorn, which tells of the cycle of growth and change in the garden that starts with just one seed.

Watch the video below as First Lady Michelle Obama and White House chef Sam Kass tell the story of the first garden on White House grounds since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during World War II.

First Lady and White House chef explain history of the first White House kitchen garden since WW2

Inside the White House: The Kitchen Garden” video of First Lady Michelle Obama and White House chef Sam Kass telling the story of the first garden on White House grounds since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during World War II. This new garden was planted in the Spring of 2009 with the help of local elementary school children and has yielded a constant supply fresh produce for the First Family and White House events. Published May 10, 2012. (Source: White House Let’s Move YouTube Channel)

You can find more White House garden videos and gardening ideas for kids on the Let’s Move Gardening Guide web page.

Look for inspiration in public spaces

A Botanic Garden for the Nation: The United States Botanic Garden (ePub eBook) ISBN: 9780160869129 for out-of-print ISBN: 9780160767722Some folks are lucky enough to own a big garden plot; others grow plants in containers on a balcony or place herb pots by a sunny window. No matter how you garden, you can always look for inspiration for your gardening pursuits. There are a number of places to visit in spring to see the variety of plants. It’s especially helpful to visit places where plants are labeled so that you know what to look for at a local nursery or plant sale.

Cymbidium ‘Hearts of Gold’ orchid in bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Image: Cymbidium ‘Hearts of Gold’ orchid in bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden

In the nation’s capital, Washington, DC you can go to the United States Botanic Garden and see what’s in bloom or learn how to attract butterflies to your garden.

You can also purchase A Botanic Garden for the Nation: the United States Botanic Garden (ePub eBook), a GPO Online Bookstore perennial favorite (pun intended).

Girl's face peeking out from pink azaleas at National Arboretum in Washington, DC

Peeking out from among the azaleas at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC.

While in the DC area, don’t miss the United States National Arboretum. You can see every single plant contained there, search for individual plants and see exactly where they are located on this interactive map.

Find out what’s in bloom during the month of your visit. (If visiting in April, don’t miss their world-famous display of azaleas / rhododendrons which bloom sometime in April. Check their Azalea page for current bloom conditions.)

The arboretum also has full color posters to help you identify crape myrtles, shrubs, and trees.

U.S. National Arboretum Crape Myrtles Guide

Image: Guide to Lagerstroemia, commonly known as crape myrtle or crepe myrtle, from the National Arboretum. (Source: U.S. National Arboretum)

Learn about gardening by joining others

Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-Being Through Urban Landscapes ISBN: 9780160864162You can learn so much about gardening by meeting other like-minded folks. If you don’t have your own garden, you might want to join a community garden or find a local gardening group or volunteer at a gardening club. Urban soils have their own unique characteristics and benefits; find out how to grow gardens in urban soil, then enjoy the benefits that come from gardening in urban landscapes in Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-Being Through Urban Landscapes, available from GPO’s U.S. Government Online Bookstore.

Urban gardeners at work planting new seedlings

Image: Urban gardeners at work planting new seedlings (Source: NIH)

It’s food for thought

Fruitful Legacy: A Historic Context of Orchards in the United States, with Technical Information for Registering Orchards in the National Register of Historic Places ISBN: 9780160821271The first presidents were known not only for their political endeavors, but also for their farms, gardens and orchards. If planted and maintained well, gardens and orchards can last for decades, even centuries.

Learn more about the legacy and preservation of historic orchards in the U.S. with these two publications available from GPO’s U.S. Government Online Bookstore:

Happy gardening!

Image: Uncle Sam promoting gardening during wartimeSource: National Archives

Image: World War II USDA poster promoting Victory gardens: “Uncle Sam says GARDEN to Cut Food Costs” (Source: National Archives)

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

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

About the author: Kristina Bobe is a Senior Planning and Development Specialist for the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Library Services & Content Management (LSCM) Division. Additional content, images and editing provided by Michele Bartram, Government Book Talk Editor and Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC.


Get Sunwise and Block the Sun, Not the Fun

June 3, 2013

School’s out and the sun’s out, too, so it is time to teach kids about sun safety, particularly as June 2-8 is National Sun Safety Week. With children playing in the backyard, at the park, or in the pool or at the beach, it is important for parents to be aware of sun safety and for kids to be responsible for their own well-being when it comes to the sun.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has two great resources as part of their SunWise program. The Mission: Sunwise Activity Book 2013 is an educational, hands-on way for kids to learn about sun safety, and the companion website – SunWise – provides parents, teachers, and babysitters with additional resources for teaching children about the harmful effects of the sun.

Fulfill the Mission to Get “Sunwise”

mission_sunwise_activity_book_Page_01The Mission: SunWise Activity Book 2013 targets children in kindergarten through 8th grade and takes a more thorough approach to sun safety. Children learn about the ozone layer, ultraviolet rays, the UV Index, thermometers and preventative actions to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun.

There are more than a dozen activities including drawing and coloring, matching, word scrambles and fill in the blanks to engage children in sun safety lessons. The activity book doesn’t just tell kids to wear sun screen and play in the shade, but explains what causes sunburns and why it is important to be “sunwise.” [Says GovBookTalk Editor Michele Bartram: “My favorite page is the “Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap, Check, Play” page!”]

Parent and Teacher Sun Safety Resources

The EPA’s Sunwise sun safety website, http://www2.epa.gov/sunwise, has endless resources for adults and children. Teachers can download suggested lesson plans with PowerPoint presentations and sign-up for the SunWise Program to receive free toolkits that have age appropriate content and activities for their classrooms. Children can play interactive sun safety games, take quizzes and become “Sun Safety Certified.”

Together, adults and children can learn about the UV Index scale and the suggested precautions that go with each category and the health effects of overexposure to UV rays.  It even has Skin Cancer Fact Sheets by state showing the skin cancer rates and Action Steps for Sun Safety.

The website’s content is well-organized and can be translated into Spanish to reach a greater audience.

EPA-Sunwise-WebsiteAnother useful site is from the not-for-profit Sun Safety Alliance, (también en español) which offers its “Block the Sun, Not the Fun” program in addition to sponsoring National Sun Safety Week. 

Graphic-Skin-cancer-video-Sun-Safety-AllianceThe website includes resources for Educators, including this Teacher’s Guide; Healthcare Professionals; Parents and Early Childcare personnel; and a Kids site. It also has activities for children from infants and toddlerspre-school age, and kindergarten to 2nd grade, to grades 3 to 5, middle school,and  all the way through high school.

Image: From a video on the Sun Safety Alliance home page, showing the effects of skin cancer on a former suntan addict. She says, “I wish I knew then what I can see now!”

It is not fun to avoid the sun and sit inside all summer. So be proactive and start the summer out right by taking preventative actions to avoid sunburns. Keep in mind that there is more to sun safety than just putting on sun screen.

HOW DO I OBTAIN the “Mission: SunWise Activity Book 2013”?

  • Buy it online 24/7 on GPO’s U.S. Government Bookstore.
  • Buy it at GPO’s main retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.
  • Find it in a a federal depository library.

About the Authors: Our guest blogger is Emma Wojtowicz, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. Additional content was provided by Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram, Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division.


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