“People’s Tree” Lights Up D.C. 88-ft. Beauty Stopped at FPL


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.

Clever Like a Fox at FPL …

Needless to say, you have to be pretty darn clever to work at the Forest Service’s only national research facility. So it was no surprise when this beauty (below) was spotted doing an inspection of the grounds this morning.

Mama-Fox-in-the-court-yard2She later returned to her office.

Nano work at FPL inspires public-private venture USDA Sec. Vilsack announces partnership: "We believe in the potential of wood- based nanotechnology ..."

Supervisory Research Chemist Alan Rudie tours Secretary Vilsack through FPL’s new Nanocellulose Pilot Plant and shows nanocellulose samples.

Supervisory Research Chemist Alan Rudie tours Secretary Vilsack through FPL’s new Nanocellulose Pilot Plant and shows nanocellulose samples.

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:

  • Emphasize the potential of wood- based nanotechnology for the economy and the environment.
  • Overcome technical barriers to commercialization of wood- based nanotechnology.
  • Demonstrate commitment to creating high paying jobs in rural America through value- added manufacturing and high value products.
  • Showcase the commitment of USDA and the Forest Service to innovation.