Spring has finally sprung at the Destination of Innovation, Forest Products Laboratory, here in warm, sunny Madison, Wis.
(As photographer Steve Schmieding proved with this lovely photo)
Thank you, Mother Nature!
After its 2,700-mile, 30-stop journey from Minnesota, including a visit to the Forest Products Laboratory, this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree was lit up, well, like a Christmas tree in our nation’s capital last night.
Speaker of the House John Boehner presided over the grand event on the Capitol’s West Lawn, where it will remain lit from dusk until 11 p.m. daily through Jan. 1.
The 88-foot white spruce was harvested from Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest. Hundreds of people attended Tuesday night’s lighting ceremony, and many hundreds more celebrated the tree’s stop at FPL where its Nov. 10 visit was coordinated with an open house at the lab.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday announced a public-private partnership to rapidly advance the development of the first U.S. commercial facility producing cellulosic nanomaterial, wood fiber broken down to the nanoscale. The partnership is between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) and the U.S. Forest Service.
“We believe in the potential of wood- based nanotechnology to strengthen rural America by creating sustainable jobs and adding timber value while also creating conservation opportunities in working forests,” said Vilsack. “This public- private partnership will develop high-tech outputs from the forest products sector, and promote the invention of renewable products that have substantial environmental benefits.”
The three-year partnership will promote cellulosic nanomaterial as a commercially viable enterprise by building on work done here at the Forest Products Laboratory. The partnership seeks to overcome technical barriers to large-scale wood-based nanotechnology processing, while filling gaps in the science and technology that are needed for commercialization. Initial funding comes from the Endowment and the Forest Service. The partnership is currently seeking additional public and private sector funding.
USDA, the Endowment, and the Forest Service have previously collaborated on numerous ventures: the potential of biotechnology to address forest health; technical advice given to African American forest landowners; and wood-to-energy projects that support the growth of jobs in rural America.
Together with partners, this new venture will: