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Return of the Giants

first_imgA closeup of a leaf on a potentially blight-resistant American chestnut hybrid showing the leaf’s distinctive canoe shape and curved teeth. Photo Courtesy of The American Chestnut Foundation.  Scientists are Restoring Appalachia’s Most Important Tree: The Chestnut.  A wild landscape repopulated with cultivated or genetically engineered versions of these species would necessarily be less wild. But if scientists and the public accept this as the price of revival it means the Foundation is not just fighting for American chestnuts but creating a model to fight for American forests. The idea: Cross Chinese-American hybrids with successive generations of American chestnuts that still grow wild and that, though doomed to die of blight, sometimes live long enough to produce nuts. Repeatedly crossing these trees with one another should concentrate resistance, Burnham said, producing a new perfect tree for a permanently infected landscape. The blight—accidentally imported in Asian chestnut trees—was first identified in a New York City park in 1904, and its devastation of southern forests coincided with the economic collapse of the Great Depression. It’s a devotion inspired by the magnificence of the chestnut—so numerous, productive and beautiful that it was sometimes called the “perfect tree”—and by the tragedy of its destruction. “The chestnut has a great story,” Sisco said. Meanwhile, scientists are working on another controversial approach—the creation of a genetically modified American chestnut. The blight works by emitting an acid that kills chestnut tissue, making it easier for the fungus to consume. By borrowing a gene from wheat that neutralizes this acid, Powell and Maynard (who recently retired), have produced a pure-bred American tree as resistant as most Chinese chestnuts. Which is what drives Powell to expand his project’s reach to other species. “I’m trying to get a center set up for tree restoration,” he said, adding that establishing methods to fight other invasive pests, “is a very big deal to us.” But this sense of mission also comes from the knowledge that chestnuts are not alone. American forests, said Stacy Clark, a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service, “are under siege from invasive exotoics.” It sometimes seems, she added, that the most spectacular trees—Fraser firs, hemlocks, elms, ashes and dogwoods—are the most vulnerable. This has helped satisfy many critics who didn’t like the idea of introducing an engineered tree into forests, Powell said, including some members of the Foundation. It also may include researchers at the Forest Restoration Alliance, based in Waynesville, N.C., and modeled after the Chestnut Foundation. This group is seeking resistance to both the balsam wooly adelgid, an insect that wiped out historic stands of mature Fraser firs and continues to plague the Christmas tree industry, and the hemlock wooly adelgid, which has devastated that tree’s population through most of the East. Farm families earned much-needed cash gathering nuts for shipment to Eastern cities. They built cabins, coffins, fences and furniture from the tree’s straight-grained, rot-resistant wood. They worked for timber companies that realized so much profit from extracting the tree’s tannic acid that earnings from pulp and timber sales were gravy. The trees grew largest here—more than a dozen feet wide at the base and ten times that high—and most abundantly. In some swaths of forest, chestnuts accounted for one in every four mature hardwood. At six years old, it is already more than 20 feet tall, with a straight, stout trunk. The bark shows the merest ripple at the point where Sisco tested the tree by injecting it with Cryphonectria Parasitica, also known as chestnut blight. “It’s a very long-term project,” Sisco said. “There’s been some friendly competition with us over the years because we were going on two different tracks and they wanted to make sure their efforts weren’t wasted,” Powell said. “But now they are fully behind it.” “I’m blessed, or cursed, with a one-track mind,” he said, and he is encouraged by the recent successes in chestnut breeding. “After 33 years on this thing,” he said, “it makes me happy that I feel like I didn’t waste my life.” Select the most resistant specimens from each crossing. The result, he predicted, would be trees that look just like American chestnuts—that are just as tall and straight, just as loaded with flowers and nuts—yet are able to fight off blight like their distant Chinese ancestors. This gave Burnham stock to work with. He advocated a method of breeding called backcrossing that he had used with corn and that has been the driving strategy of the Foundation’s work since its founding in 1983. It’s a goal that Sisco, working with trees that are 15/16ths American chestnut, is now closing in on. So are scientists at the Foundation’s national research farm in Meadowview Va., and at orchards run by several of its state chapters, most notably Pennsylvania’s. “Pennsylvania is by far the farthest along,” Jarrett said. “Double whammy,” Jarrett said. Early restoration efforts ended after several decades of frustration and dwindling public support—but not before scientists developed a few promising strains by crossing American chestnuts with their Chinese counterparts, which are at least partly resistant because they evolved with the blight. And then another step: allowing this stock to produce the two or three billion chestnuts needed for it to reclaim its dominant place in Eastern forests. U.S. Forest Service has established 13 plots of 15/16ths American chestnuts in National Forests in the South. And though the point of this research is to test conditions for replanting, not to begin reforestation, the performance of these trees has been encouraging, said the Forest Service researcher Clark. In the oldest of these plots, planted in 2009, between 50 and 80 percent of the trees have escaped infection and the tallest are now nearly 40 feet tall. But another big step remains: producing enough highly resistant trees, with enough genetic diversity, that they can fill seed orchards and interbreed freely. The small mound of pollen that Paul Sisco pours from a pill vial comes from an American chestnut hybrid that he calls “my lucky tree,” “my trophy,” “my champion.” The Ozark chinquapin is a relative of the American chestnut, he said, and its restoration is “something we can almost immediately step into.” His team has also made progress on altering elms to resist Dutch elm disease. “We know how to get the gene in the elm,” he said. “All we have to do is pick the right gene.” In the fall, they carpeted the woods with starchy, protein-rich nuts that sustained wildlife, livestock and people. One elderly mountain resident told Freinkel that chestnut harvest season was the only time of the year he wasn’t hungry. So far, the Alliance has focused on building breeding stocks from naturally resistant specimens, said the group’s director, Fred Hain, a retired N.C. State University professor. But he has an open mind about genetic modification, he said. “I think it has more potential than just about any approach out there.” The hope is that the Hershey Kiss-shaped nuts produced by this crossing will grow into trees with even greater resistance than their parents, and that they will emerge as prime stock for the repopulation of chestnuts in Appalachian forests. It’s a goal Sisco has been pursuing for more than 20 years. Although they must still receive approval from three federal agencies, which is expected to take at least two years, they have prepared for the approval process with tests that have so far revealed no potential negative impacts to surrounding trees and no changes to the nuts and flowers. Even if researchers do not borrow his team’s methods, Powell said, they can follow the regulatory path that they have created. Chestnut blight, a misfortune throughout its range, was a calamity in the southern Appalachians, where the species was a keystone of the ecosystem, culture and economy, Susan Freinkel wrote in her 2007 book, American Chestnut: The Life, Death and Rebirth of the Perfect Tree. “The trees are performing very well in terms of height and survival,” Clark said. “If we can show we can save a single species at a time, and that species has a great impact, I think it leads to scientists studying other species seeing that there are feasible solutions out there,” said Ben Jarrett, the Foundation’s Southeast regional science coordinator. Powell said his work can also be applied to other vulnerable tree species. This includes a Forest Service scientist in Indiana who is working to develop a genetically modified ash tree with built-in resistance to the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that has killed millions of trees in the eastern United States. Sisco, on the other hand, is focused strictly on the chestnut. The blight’s destruction of roughly 4 billion American chestnuts in the early 20th century has been called the country’s greatest ecological disaster. The breeding of Sisco’s star tree at an American Chestnut Foundation orchard south of Asheville may turn out to be a milestone in its reversal.last_img read more

Verrazano stands Anne ground

first_img Freddie Head has supplemented Anodin for a race he won with Goldikova in 2010. Anodin was last seen chasing home Cirrus Des Aigles in the Prix d’Ispahan. Mike de Kock’s classy Soft Falling Rain is also still in the mix. Andrew Balding’s globetrotter Side Glance and Lockinge runner-up Tullius hold entries, as does Jane Chapple-Hyam’s popular Mull Of Killough. Ansgar and Glory Awaits, second in the 2000 Guineas last year, complete the list of 13. Aidan O’Brien’s American import was third in the Lockinge at Newbury behind Olympic Glory, and his handler has also left in Magician, a Group One winner over a mile and a half at the Breeders’ Cup. Richard Hannon’s star miling trio are still engaged in the Queen Anne. Toronado is firmly on target, although Olympic Glory is thought an unlikely runner and Sky Lantern has another option in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes. Hannon could also run Producer. Verrazano coluld attempt to make it second-time lucky on European soil in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Guyana top Netherlands at World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship

first_imgTHE Guyanese pair of Rayad and Farzana Hussain, who opened their campaign at the 2019 World Curling Federation World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Stavanger, Norway, defeated the Netherlands 6-4.Guyana made their debut at the championships last year, and according to reports out of Norway, the team had an improved second-half performance, in which they scored at all four ends.This gave Guyana a 6-4 win over Netherlands in the opening round-robin session of the championship, and, speaking to reporters after the game, Rayad Hussain said, “It’s nice to get the campaign off on a good foot this year. The secret was to calm down! I think we were too nervous at the start, so we calmed ourselves down after the fourth end break and it felt better.”The pair will be action again today against Austria. (Rawle Toney)last_img read more

Why Your Sales Force Isn’t Working

first_imgThese are some of the reasons your sales force isn’t working.Most people who work from home don’t “work” from home.More and more salespeople no longer commute to an office to work. But that doesn’t mean they are “working” from home. It just means that they’re home.There are people who are disciplined enough to work from home, but they are the minority. Most people don’t do as much work as they could—or should—when they are working from home. It’s easier for most people to buckle down when they are in an office environment, and when there are other people around.Many people need this environment. Wishing it were otherwise doesn’t change anything. When I talk to struggling sales managers, the ones having problems almost always have a sales force working from home.The browser invites distractions.It’s wonderful that so much of the software we use is browser-based. But it is also horrible, and it’s detrimental to salespeople. It invites distractions.There is no greater distraction than email. If there is a close second, it’s social media. And I am not talking about LinkedIn, the most useful social site for salespeople. I am talking about Facebook, perhaps the least useful site for quota-carrying salespeople.It’s too easy to click the bookmark and launch Facebook. Or ESPN. Or Politico. Or Engadget. It’s too easy to click a link and find yourself down the rabbit hole, a place where no deals are done.There is too little accountability.Some sales managers are afraid of micromanaging their workforce. Even more don’t really know how to hold their sales force accountable for the activity and the outcomes for which the salespeople are responsible. Even more are content to believe their salespeople are doing what they should be doing because some salespeople tell a good story when it comes to the opportunities they are working (they’re salespeople, after all).Without accountability for activity and outcomes, your results will never be what they could be. And you won’t only being failing your company; you’ll also be failing the salespeople by allowing them to turn in something less than their best performance.Your goals are impotent.It’s important to make the number. But that goal isn’t as meaningful as it could be if it had a little help.Purpose is more potent. Meaning is important. Growth is important, and I don’t mean the company’s growth, I’m talking about the individual salesperson’s growth.People want to know that what they are doing is making a difference. They want to know that they are getting better, gaining new skills, and becoming more valuable. And they want to be recognized for doing these things.You don’t score points by focusing on the scoreboard. You score points by playing the game. You are coaching the game. How well you coach determines the score. Telling people you need 48 points by itself isn’t going to work.Without the bullpen, there is little transfer of knowledge.We are back to working at home. Where salespeople are all alone, left to their own devices, and far away from the leadership, their managers, and their peers. They’re far away from the conversations being had, and so they are absorbing nothing through osmosis—the way we have handed down a lot of sales knowledge for more than a century.The conversation you have with one salesperson is just that. It’s a conversation with one salesperson. The other people on your team heard nothing. Later on, you can tell them the story, but it isn’t the same as having been there, listening in on the conversation in real-time.Some of the tools help create a virtual bullpen. But most managers steer clear of having “too many meetings,” fearing that their salespeople will be off the field too long (something they would worry less about were they better at holding people accountable).To get your sales force working again, eliminate these reasons as much as you possibly can.last_img read more

Chappell era worst phase of Zaheer’s career

first_imgIndian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan considers the two years with Greg Chappell as national coach the worst of his decade-long career as the controversial Australian made him feel unwanted in the team.Zaheer said he and other senior players were constantly worried about their place in the side and were unable to perform during that tumultuous period between 2005 and 2007.”It was as if you’ve been framed. It was like ‘we don’t want you in the team. It’s not about performance, we don’t like your attitude, you’re stopping the growth of cricket in the Indian team’. I felt it personally because I was dropped straight after the Sri Lanka tour, even though I had not performed badly,” Zaheer told a new channel.”I was fortunate enough to go to South Africa to represent the Asia XI (in the Afro-Asia Cup). I got about nine wickets and I was recalled for the next series. In that phase it was always a struggle.When you’re fighting within the team, when you have a war to fight in your own camp, it is always difficult to win,” he said.Chappell took over as India coach in May 2005 but his tenure was marred by serious differences between him and senior players, including Sachin Tendulkar. He also had a public spat with the then captain, Sourav Ganguly, who was dropped from the team but later recalled.At the end of his tenure, following India’s first round exit from the 2007 World Cup, Chappell decided not to seek an extension of his contract.advertisementZaheer said, in contrast, former South African batsman Gary Kirsten’s stint as India coach was amazing.”He gave everyone their space. He understood the Indian culture and how we do things. He took that step of coming closer to us rather than dictating. He was our friend, not a coach,” Zaheer said.Kirsten took over in difficult circumstances but left the job on a high, guiding the Indian team to a historic World Cup triumph after a hiatus of 28 years besides taking them to the top of Test rankings.Zaheer said the only positive of Chappell’s tenure was the inclusion of youngsters in the team, but felt that sacrificing experienced players was not the only way to give opportunities to the up and coming players. “A youngster coming in is a good sign but not at the cost of a cricketer who is doing his bit.”The 32-year-old Baroda pacer said the county stint with Worcestershire came at the right moment for him when things were not going his way. He signed up with Worcestershire for the 2006 county season and finished as the highest wicket-taker in Division Two of the County Championship, taking 78 wickets at 29.07.”Worcester taught me the reason I’m playing this game. Sometimes when you play at the highest level, especially in India, the whole country is so passionate about the game, so whether you do well or do badly it affects you in many ways. So when I went to Worcester, it was just me playing cricket.”- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Terrelle Pryor Leads Oakland Raiders to Victory

Terrelle Pryor and Charles Woodson led the Oakland Raiders to a win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday night.Quarterback Pryor and the Raiders jumped out early on San Diego after Pryor threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter. Woodson, on the other hand, tied an NFL record with his 13th defensive touchdown after scooping up a fumble and bringing to the house.Pryor’s first strike was a 44-yard touchdown pass on Oakland’s first play from scrimmage.The Raiders then capitalized on four forced turnovers, a great goal-line stand, Woodson’s 25-yard fumble return and two long field goals by Sebastian Janikowski to win the game.Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers had a 400-yard passing game, throwing for 411 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also had three interceptions as his team took the loss.“That’s what the kid brings to us,” coach Dennis Allen said. “Terrelle brings that ability when things aren’t right, when things break down, he brings that ability to make plays.” read more

PM Praises Girl Guides Officials for Outstanding Work

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, August 18, 2017 – Nassau – Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis met with officials of the Bahamas Girl Guides Association (BGGA) Thursday (August 17, 2017) during a visit at the BGGA’s Headquarters, located Marcus Bethel Way and West Bay Street.   The BGGA is a non-profit, voluntary organization for girls and young women.Prime Minister Minnis was accompanied by His Excellency, Joshua Sears, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister.   The Girl Guides Movement has been in existence in The Bahamas for more than 100 years (102 to be exact).Prime Minister Minnis lauded the organization for the “outstanding work” they have done, and continue to do, in training and developing thousands of Bahamian girls and young women into productive, responsible and contributing members of society.The leadership of the BGGA has managed to keep Guiding “relevant” in The Bahamas over the many years despite the many social, cultural and other changes that compete for the attention of girls and young women since the Movement first hit our shores 102 years ago.“This Programme remains relevant because it is predicated on the premise of the girls learning social and survival skills, through a number of activities including camping, hiking, sports, community service, songs, fun and games,” Guiding officials said.“Not only are these activities fun, but embedded in them also are opportunities for the girls to learn through the Patrol System for the girls to develop leadership skills and responsible citizenship at an early age.”Guiding in The Bahamas has produced many outstanding women who have risen to the top of the Bahamian society in areas such as religion, education, administration, politics, public service, the judiciary, the legal profession, banking and finance, sports, business and industry and culture.The list reads like a Who’s Who in Bahamian history and includes Her Excellency, Dame Ivy Dumont, GCMG, the first female Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; Retired Chief Justice, Dame Justice Joan Sawyer, DCMG; Mrs. Anita Bernard, CMG; Miss Marjorie Davis, OBE; the Hon. Janet Bostwick; Dr. Gail Saunders; Mrs. Clarice Granger, Mrs. Wendy Craig; Retired Justice, Mrs. Claire L. Hepburn; Mrs. Elma Garraway and Mrs. Constance Miller among many, many others.A number of them will forever be imbedded in the annals of Bahamian history as having served as “the First Female” Governor-General (Dame Ivy Dumont); first female Governor of the Central Bank (Mrs. Wendy Craig); first female elected to the Bahamian Parliament (the Hon. Janet Bostwick); First Bahamian female Magistrate and Judge (Mrs. Stephanie Unwala); First Female Director of Education in The Bahamas (Ms. Marjorie Davis) and Mrs. Keva Bethel, the First President, female or otherwise, of the College of The Bahamas (now University of The Bahamas).The list of “First Female” title holders involved in Guiding does not stop there and goes on to include Dr. D. Gail Saunders, first female Archivist of The Bahamas; Ms. Melanie Roach, First Bahamian Female Civil Engineer and Director of Public Works; Mrs. Joy Jibrilu, the First Bahamian Female appointed as Director of Investments, Bahamas Investment Authority; and The Reverend Angela Palacious, First Female Deacon and First Female Priest in the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands and others.Guiding officials say the principles and values that are taught and adhered to, have made “an indelible impact in positively influencing lives and molding the characters of thousands of girls and young women, not only in The Bahamas, but indeed worldwide.”The BGGA promotes a wide range of skills and interests through education, games, outdoor activities, survival skills training, healthcare, arts, crafts and culture.Fundamental objectives of the Association are to provide girls and young women opportunities for self-training and discipline in the development of good character through service to God, country and fellowman, and to foster and promote a full sense of citizenship through community service and international goodwill.The Girl Guide Movement was started in The Bahamas in 1915 and was incorporated as the Bahamas Girl Guides Association by an Act of the Bahamian Parliament on May 4, 1975.Story by: Matt Maura (BIS) CAPTIONSHeader photo: Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis (far end) meets with officials of the Bahamas Girl Guides Association during his visit Thursday, August 17, 2017. Prime Minister Minnis was accompanied by His Excellency Joshua Sears, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister. (Photo/Yontalay Bowe, OPM Media Services).1st insert:  Dr. D. Gail Saunders (left) and Mr. Keith Sands (right) lead Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis on a tour of the BGGA’s Grounds during the Prime Minister’s visit Thursday, August 17, 2017. (Photo/Yontalay Bowe, OPM Media Services)2nd insert: Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis meets with Mrs. Clarice Granger (at right), the longest tenured Chief Commissioner in Guiding history in The Bahamas.   Mrs. Granger served as Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guide Movement in The Bahamas from 1970-1985. Guiding officials credit Mrs. Granger with ushering in growth and expansion in membership in addition to implementing a number of advancements during her tenure as Chief Commissioner.   Mrs. Granger is still actively involved in Guiding in The Bahamas. Also pictured (at left) is Mrs. Iris Dillet-Knowles. (Photo/Yontalay Bowe, OPM Media Services)3rd insert:  Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis with officials of the Bahamas Girl Guides Association during his visit Thursday, August 17, 2017. Pictured (from left) are: His Excellency, Joshua Sears, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister; Mrs. Elma Garraway; Mr. Alvan Rolle; Dr. D. Gail Saunders; Prime Minister Minnis; Mrs. Michelle Fields; Mrs. Sonia Adderley; Mrs. Mena Griffiths; Mrs. Constance Miller and Mr. Keith Sands. (Photo/Yontalay Bowe, OPM Media Services) Related Items:center_img Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

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