Items of Interest

His Excellency the Governor-General, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, on his first official visit to South Australia, took the opportunity to become acquainted with the conditions in the state as regards afforestation. As a recognized authority on the subject, he said: "I have been much impressed with the variety of the hard woods grown in Australia. They are really wonderful, and I believe that here in Australia you have a larger variety of the best hard woods than exists in any other country in the world; but the trouble is that they have been wasted to a large extent. By that I mean that in many instances these hard woods have been used when cheaper and softer timber would answer the same purposes. This country has an advantage in timber growing, for a forest matures in thirty years, whereas it takes sixty years to reach the same stage of maturity in Europe. The people should realize that practically all the timber now imported from the Baltic, Canada, and Japan can be grown equally well in Australia, with its three million square miles." The total area reserved for forests in South Australia on June 30, 1914, was 154,232 acres.

Ernest Thompson Seton, naturalist and writer of books on nature, has announced his resignation as chief scout of the Boy Scouts of America, because of a gradual change toward policies to which he is opposed and for which he blames the present chief scout executive. "Militarism now comes first, and woodcraft, the original purpose of the movement, second," according to Mr. Seton, who has announced the formation of the Woodcrafts League, inviting members of the Boy Scouts to join it. "When BadenPowell and I organized the Boy Scouts of England in 1908 and the Boy Scouts of America in 1910," he says, "our purpose was to make all young people of America outdoor children by teaching them the joys of outdoor life. As originally formed the Scouts of America was to be a message of conservation and brotherhood. The study of trees, flowers, and nature is giving way to wig-wagging, drills, and other activities of a military nature, thus destroying the symbolism of the organization. As it stands now, militarism comes first and woodcraft second."

Dr. Thomas H. Norton of the department of commerce of the United States proposes a plan for furnishing more and cheaper power from the Niagara Falls. "The project," Doctor Norton says, "contemplates the construction of a dam about half a mile above the falls, where the river is a mile wide. The dam I propose would have a maximum height of 40 feet and a length of a mile and a quarter, reaching the shore contour 600 feet above sea-level. Provision would be made for the simultancous closing and opening of a series of gates controlled by electricity. It would cost about six million dollars to build and equip this structure. The total cost of the project would reach $400,000,000. The manner of manipulation would be about as follows: At eight o'clock in the evening the entire series of gates on the dam would simultaneously close. The volume of water passing the American falls would falter and diminish until the falls would be practically dry. This same result would be obtained all the way across the river to the Canadian shore. At ten o'clock in the morning the water would be turned on."

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True Forgiveness
December 18, 1915

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