Around the web this week: March 13

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From Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossoms and the Bundy family situation to professional drone racing and donkeys up for adoption, here are 12 news stories from around the web this week:

Cherry blossoms

Washington, D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms are about to make their spring debut. The National Park Service says that this year’s blossoms are expected to peak between March 31 and April 3. The ‘peak bloom’ occurs when there are open blossoms on 70 percent of the cherry trees. Last year’s peak date was April 10.

Into the woods

The Schmuki family knows trees. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation says that the Schmukis’ Newcomerstown woodlands, certified by the American Tree Farm System, are a place where renewable resources grow and where the environment is protected. With three generations involved in the conservation and management of Ohio’s trees, the family is committed to improving the woodlands.

Pennsylvania 4-H support

Pennsylvania’s state budget impasse could affect the state’s 4-H and other agricultural programs if a solution isn’t found by May. The Patriot-News reports that supporters of the ag programs rallied March 9 in Harrisburg, asking lawmakers to let Penn State use the $50.5 million set aside for 2015-2016 instead of forcing the land grant university to close its county programs and extension offices. A statement from Gov. Tom Wolf can be viewed here.

Organic farming

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced at the end of February that it is expanding the Conservation Reserve Program. The expansion will help to create 20,000 acres of conservation buffers on organic farms. Organic farmers can receive rental payments and cost share assistance for setting aside land for conservation, which controls soil erosion, improves water quality and promotes the development of wildlife habitats.

Getting close to nature

Are urban parks the answer to our need for nature? National Geographic takes a look at the urban parks that are springing up in the U.S. and across the globe. They’re transformed from old military bases and bridges and made into pieces of the “natural world.”

Cliven Bundy

Whether or not you’ve followed the story of Cliven Bundy — the Nevada rancher who faced off with the U.S. government in 2014 for illegally grazing his cattle on public land — High Country News reports the latest on the Bundy ordeal. Also involved are Bundy’s sons, Ammon and Ryan, who participated in protests on behalf of ranchers imprisoned for arson as well as the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Since February 10, 19 individuals have been arrested and detained in connection to the Nevada standoff.

Raw milk

Call it coincidence or irony that West Virginia lawmakers passed a bill allowing residents to consume raw milk, but then several of those lawmakers became ill after drinking the unpasteurized dairy product. OregonLive reports that West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources is investigating.

Medical research

In February, the Cleveland Clinic performed the world’s first uterus transplant. However, on March 9, after the recipient experienced complications, the organ had to be removed. The recipient was the first of 10 women who were part of the clinical study, which will continue.

Professional drone racing

Farmers have been introduced to the idea of using drones to scout fields and collect data, although the Federal Aviation Administration has not yet finalized rules.

Now, drone racing is a professional sport, just not through farmers’ fields. Watch CNN’s video to learn more.

Climate change

The U.S. and Canada have resolved to reduce methane emissions, TIME reports. President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met March 10. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will draft regulations that would control methane emissions from current sources, one of which is the energy industry.

Adopt a donkey

Well, miniature donkey, to be exact. Triple R Horse Rescue in Cave Creek, Arizona, has 30 miniature donkeys that need to go to good homes. The Arizona Republic says that the horse rescue decided to run a “lottery” because there have been so many people filling out adoption applications. If you don’t live in Arizona, you’re out of luck: the horse rescue is only letting in-state residents adopt.

Food from Mars

A team of Dutch researchers have successfully grown a handful of plants in simulated Martian and moon soil. Now, they’re hoping to raise the funds to check out if the plants are safe to eat. CNN has more.

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