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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

-Online Resources Identify Fresh Produce, Local Markets

-Federal Reserve Portal Provides  Myriad of Economic Data

-This Week Dedicated to Raising Air Quality Awareness Offers Tips for Serving Your Community


Dr. Seuss: Beloved children’s author and illustrator, political cartoonist, and animator. We can now add one more title to his name. He’s got a crater on Mercury named after him! Earlier this year, MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging), a NASA-sponsored scientific investigation of Mercury, gave twenty-three craters on the planet official names. In addition to Seuss, there are craters named Ellington (musician Duke Ellington), Nabokov (author Vladimir Nabokov), and Warhol (artist Andy Warhol). Check out NASA’s Solar System Exploration website to find out what other craters have namesakes.

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Elisabeth Hedges
Federal Documents Librarian

Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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Online Resources Identify Fresh Produce, Local Markets

Indiana Department of AgricultureIt’s May, which means Farmers’ Markets across the state are opening up. However, it is still early in the year and not everything is ready to be harvested. If you’re unsure whether your favorite fruits and veggies will be at the market in the next week, view the Seasonal Chart from the Indiana Agritourism and Farmers’ Market Directory. This chart lists different plants and the seasons in which they are available. If you love mushrooms, spinach, or green peas, you’re in luck – those are available early in the season. Those of you holding out for watermelon, plums, or hot peppers have longer to wait, but they’ll be available soon. You can also use the website to find out where your nearest Farmers’ Market is. You can search by location, product type, or site type. This is a terrific source to help you get ready for warm weather and fresh produce!

Federal Reserve Portal Provides Myriad of Economic Data  

Federal Reserve Economic DataYou’ve heard of the FED – but what is FRED? The FED is the Federal Reserve Board of the United States. The nation’s Federal Reserve Bank System is made up of twelve districts. The Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis provides a public service called FRED, or Federal Reserve Economic Data. FRED compiles economic data from many different countries to help us help others understand the world of economics. The FRED website allows the public to download data, create graphs, and even create maps using the GeoFRED. There is also a mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. Last month, the Saint Louis FED retooled its website and debuted an updated newsletter produced by its library called PageOne Economics. It connects the public to multiple resources, including FRED, available for economic education, professional application, and analysis. The FED also hosts an educational website with lesson plans, games, and publications by grade level about finance called

This Week Dedicated to Raising Air Quality Awareness

Air Quality Awarness WeekToday marks the end of Air Quality Awareness Week. However, that doesn’t mean that the topic is any less important. The EPA website has information on air quality for each day of the week. Monday’s tip dealt with Particle Pollution. Particle pollution can come from a variety of sources. Some examples are: a wood fire, car exhaust, and power plants. Particle pollution can aggravate asthma and have a detrimental effect on those with pre-existing lung and heart issues. Check out the other days of the week for more information. You also may want to look at AIRnow, a program of the EPA. AIRNow analyzes the air conditions for the entire country. You can look at the interactive map to learn about the current Air Quality Index (AQI) rating, the projected rating, and even the current Ozone. The website also provides further information on a variety of topics related to health and the environment. Offers Tips for Serving Your Community

Take Pride in AmericaYour local community is the center of all your activity – your kids’ sports games, the coffee shop, farmers market and much more. You can give back to your community in a variety of ways – each one making a bigger difference than you could ever imagine. Sometimes just finding the right service opportunities can be the biggest challenge in getting started. Begin your search with these resources from

  • Created by a partnership of government agencies to help America’s natural and cultural resources, makes it easy to find volunteer opportunities across the country. Search by date or by state to find an array of volunteer activities, from serving in a wildlife refuge to helping clean up a national park.

  • Join forces with one of the largest federal government volunteer organizations, the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service. You can find ways to donate time, goods or money for those who have fought for our country. Find local events and programs that help those who need it most.

  • Students are a rare group who usually have both the time and energy to help those around them. And many high schools and colleges have volunteering requirements. Use Catch the Spirit, a guide to helping students get involved in their communities for ideas on getting started. Volunteering is a great learning experience and also helps build your resume.

  • If you enjoy working outside and want to help protect the land and animals around you, Take Pride in America offers perfect volunteer opportunities for you. The Department of the Interior promotes Take Pride in America to help all public lands across the country, both state and federally owned.

No matter your interests, these resources can help you find volunteer opportunities that are fun and educational for you and your family.

These tips are brought to you as a courtesy of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the blog.


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