A large percentage of people is intolerant to lactose, found in cow's milk. The Child Nutrition Act is now taking this into consideration as it helps fund serving soymilk in schools. (Photo by Carlos Paes)
Soymilk could be on the menu in more schools next year. That’s because Congress voted to include the beverage in the latest version of the Child Nutrition Act. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chris Lehman
Soymilk could be on the menu in more schools next year. That’s because Congress voted to include the beverage in the latest version of the Child Nutrition Act. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chris Lehman reports:
Soymilk is considered an alternative to cows’ milk for lactose-intolerant people. But until now, schools could only get Federal funding for soymilk if they served it to children who had a note from their doctor. Starting next school year, schools will be reimbursed for serving soymilk to anybody.
Earl Williams is President of the Illinois Soybean Association. He says the economic impact on soybean farmers will likely be small.
“It doesn’t take a very large acreage of soybeans to make a lot of soymilk. But I think it has the benefit for – it introduces soy into the diets of more people, which has some health benefits.”
The National Institute of health says more than 30 million Americans are lactose-intolerant. That includes up to 75 percent of African-Americans, and up to 90 percent of Asian-Americans.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Chris Lehman.
Stands of pine like this have been clear-cut to demonstrate an option that forest owners can take to manage their property. (Photo by Keran
Most forests in the Great Lakes region are privately owned. That concerns the U.S. Forest Service because the agency says many forest owners don’t know how to properly manage their woodlands. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Julie Grant reports that a new education project that demonstrates tree-harvesting techniques has angered some residents:
Most forests in the Great Lakes region are privately owned. That concerns the U.S.
Forest Service because the agency says many forest owners don’t know how to properly
manage their woodlands. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Julie Grant reports that a
new education project that demonstrates tree-harvesting techniques has angered some residents:
(sound of chain saws)
Workers are cutting down trees in a fifty-year-old pine crop. At the same time, state
foresters are leading a botanist, a private tree farmer, and a reporter through this forest
education site. One of the foresters, Rick Miller, is directing the chain saws to show what
needs to be cut for what’s called a “crop tree release.”
“This one here we selected out with the orange flags, the trees that show the best form and
dominance in the crown. They have a nice big healthy crown. And then what we’re doing is removing
any trees that are touching the crowns of those ones that are orange, and just opening it up
to give the crown more room up there to spread out and possibly increase their growth and their
A forest owner who wants to make money off his pine stand might do a crop tree release to
improve the quality of the remaining timber. The bigger the tree, the more money it’s worth
to a logging company.
Heading deeper in, a crop of pine trees lined up like soldiers trails to our right, and wilder
hardwoods shade us from the left. There are signs to demarcate different timbering techniques:
improvement cut, understory removal, selective cut. Project manager Frank Corona stops at one
section of oaks, maples and cherries.
“You have small trees, medium trees, some larger trees. Trees are probably selectively
harvested in here and you have all different ages of trees in this stand…”
The cool shaded path abruptly opens up. The lush canopy is replaced by harsh sunlight.
GRANT: “Oh wow, so this is the clear-cut…”
CORONA: “This is the clear-cut.”
The forest is gone… cut to the ground. All that remains are the 120 hardwood stumps on
the torn-up dirt. Botanist Steve McKee suports construction of the demonstration site.
But he also loves trees.
GRANT: “What do you think when you see that clear-cut?”
MCKEE: “Well, clear-cuts are never pretty, ya know? So, uh, I think the most shocking thing
for me is I’ve walked in this my whole life and it was surprising. But I knew it
was coming too, so…”
But some people in the community say they didn’t know the demonstration project would include
clear-cutting older trees. Anne McCormack hikes the Mohican nearly every day, clearing trails,
cleaning garbage, or enjoying the woods. The education site has been roped off from the public
during construction. But she found out there was a clear-cut demonstration in an old growth
section of the forest.
“So, I just was… I was just shocked. I mean I can’t say anything more. I just felt
terrible for… I felt terrible for the trees that stood there since before white settlers
were even in Mohican. And there they just were bulldozed and chain cut for education.
I mean, it doesn’t add up.”
McCormack’s not the only one who’s upset. A lot of people didn’t realize this is what
the Forest Service had in mind. Back at the clear-cut site, Corona says many trees suffer
from disease when they mature to 120 years. He says it’s a good age for private land owners
to consider the clear-cut option.
“This was a time where before they would rot out or anything and we see more damage, more
susceptibility health-wise in the entire stand, we could make a harvest in here and utilize
those trees and start this whole new cycle of growth in here.”
The foresters and forest owners say clear-cutting is a viable option, and just one of the
many examples at the demonstration project in the Mohican forest.
Tree farmer Scott Galloway says people need to understand that owning a forest is another
form of family farming. For instance, he got a call recently from a man who inherited 30
acres and needed money right away. He doesn’t know how to manage his tree crop.
“Where does he go? How do you make the right decisions quickly? The faster he can make
decisions, in his lifetime with his forest, the sooner he’ll be able to enjoy the benefits
of those decisions. It’s all about forestry, wildlife, natural resources. So the more education he
can get, the better those decisions will be and the better off all of us are environmentally because of it.”
The Forest Service says a demonstration project is needed because forest acreage is getting
cut up into smaller and smaller parcels. That means the forests are owned by more and more
people who need to know how to manage their timber. The Forest Service hopes this project
will help them make better decisions.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Julie Grant.
Chopping down trees for subdivisions and farm fields isn’t just bad for forests. It can also hurt people. According to new research, small patches of woodlands breed more ticks with Lyme disease. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein reports:
Chopping down trees for subdivisions and farm fields isn’t just bad for
forests. It can also hurt people. According to new research, small
patches of woodlands breed more ticks with Lyme disease. The
Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein reports:
Felicia Keesing, a biology professor at Bard College, wanted to know
where people ran the greatest risk of getting Lyme disease, an illness
spread by ticks. She knew Lyme disease-bearing ticks are carried mostly
by the white footed mouse. And she knew that kind of mouse thrives in
small chunks of forest.
That’s because its predators need larger woods to live and have
moved away. So Keesing compared forest chunks of different sizes for
tick populations. She found a lot more ticks with Lyme disease in small
forests boxed in by houses or farmland.
“On average about seven times as likely to encounter an infected tick in a patch of woods
smaller than five acres.”
Keesing says the results send a clear message to town and village zoning boards
weighing development issues. They should do everything they can to prevent the
fragmentation of forests.
Keesing says her research doesn’t suggest small lots should be cut down altogether. But
new development could be better planned to reduce the risk of Lyme disease.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m David Sommerstein.