Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pennsylvania's Woodland Owners Associations

Woodland Owners Associations (WOAs) are excellent resources for landowners. Landowner associations provide an opportunity to fellowship with other landowners.  They also provide educational information including presentations, tours, and other educational opportunities.  WOA's provide an opportunity to network with your peers – other private forest landowners. For a new landowner or if you are not quite sure where to start on a particular project, members of a WOAs can be a great place to start asking questions. You can get to know other landowners in your region, get recommendations on natural resource professionals, and attend talks on subjects of interest to you.  Many WOAs are currently located throughout the state and new ones continue to form.  With a total of 27, associations can be found in almost every county. (Forest leaves, Summer 2009)

To find out more about WOA's and see if one is located in your area check out two very good articles from Penn State Cooperative Extension and it's partners.

The Woodlander (Winter 2010) - Woodland Owner Associations

Forest Leaves (Summer 2009) - Woodland Owners Associations: Forest Stewardship Through Peers

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family Owned Forests On Green Building Radar Screen


What follows is a summary of the American Forest Foundations President and CEO, Tom Martin.  Recently Tom had an opportunity to present at the Greenbuild convention in Phoenix.  Many of the key decisionmakers were in attendance.  The current standard fails to recognize the largest block of woodland owners....that being private non-industrial owners.  Currently it is estimated that there are now more than 750,000 woodland owners in Pennsylvania alone.  The standard also treats wood less favorably than any other building material.  This is a concern since wood is the most "renewable" source.

At the forum I had the opportunity to speak and reinforce that message to 15 members of the USGBC Board of Directors and members of the technical advisory committee. I also raised other concerns like:

• how under their system, wood, the most renewable building material, was treated more poorly than any other building material.
• their failure to recognize that the three certification systems in the US - Tree Farm, SFI and FSC are substantially equivalent in creating sustainable forest practices and LEED should just recognize them all.
• the landscape-scale management requirements that would be unrealistically imposed on small woodland owners.
• the blanket prohibition on the use of GMOs which might inadvertently create a market disincentive to use genetics to fight invasive pests and pathogens.

The meeting ended on a couple of positive notes. First, it's likely that there will be another proposed revision to the standards --- and thus another chance for them to get it right. Second, USGBC will pilot test a life cycle analysis tool in 2010 for the major building materials group - which if done with scientific integrity can demonstrate the outstanding value wood brings to green building. Finally, I invited the chair of the technical committee working on this to visit an American Tree Farm System woodland to see sustainable practices at work.

You will no doubt hear from us in the months to come as we continue to battle on this issue, but I wanted to let you know your work on this issue is having an impact.

We also sent a formal letter to USGBC's President, which you can read by clicking here.
(Edited from the American Forest Foundation 12/16/09)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

American Tree Farm System Forest Certification Program


The American Forest Foundation (AFF) has announced that its board of trustees has adopted new, revised standards for the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), its woodland certification program.


Designed especially for small woodland owners, who provide nearly two-thirds of the wood fiber used for paper products in the United States, the new standards require adoption of a woodland management plan that will ensure conservation of multiple resources—water, wildlife, timber, scenic views, and recreation. The new standards also require certified woodland owners to consider and minimize adverse impact of timber or other activities on places of unique historical, cultural, or wildlife value.

For more information, visit the American Forest Foundation website.

(edited from the E-Forester, November 2009)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Webinar: Managing Community Natural Resources


The PA Forests Web Seminar Center is pleased to announce the December on-line program. Bill Elmendorf, Associate Professor, Penn State School of Forest Resources, will be presenting Managing Community Natural Resources: Suggestions for Commissioners and Other Citizen Advocates on Tuesday, December 8th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.


Based on the Cooperative Extension publication, Managing Natural Resources: A Guide for Municipal Commissions, this talk will focus on a number of issues and opportunities surrounding the planning and management of community natural resources. Topics will include: the misunderstanding of nature/ecosystem benefits; the role of planning, environmental advisory, and tree commissions in resource conservation; comprehensive plans, street tree, zoning, and other planning and regulatory policy; the importance of a community tree and park plan; and the role of volunteers. Qualifies for 1.0 SAF CFE, Category 1-CF.

Live seminars are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month at noon and 7 p.m. Each session is recorded and loaded onto the Web Seminar Center along with a copy of the presentation and any handout materials. So, if you are unable to participate in the "live" session, a recording of it will be available for you to view at your convenience. Of course, none of the interactive elements will be available when watching the recording.

To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process. If you are a member of the Penn State community, you already have your User ID, but we would ask you to register on the website so that you can receive reminders of upcoming programs.

Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound.

We look forward to having you join these discussions and learning experiences. "See" you there on December 8, 2009.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Timber Tax Tips for 2009


The USDA Forest Service has release their annual Tax Tips for Forest Landowners quick fact sheet for the 2009 tax year.  The big change for 2009 is that all timber sales now require the landowner receive a 1099S.  To view the tax tip sheet click here.

For all your timber tax management questions for forest landowners go to the National Timber Tax Website.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Addressing Logging Aesthetics


Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering a great November and December line-up in the ForestConnect webinar series on logging aesthetics.  November will bring a presentation by Dr. Andy Egan, Paul Smith's College, on the technical aspects of timber harvesting aesthetics from a woodland operations perspective.  December will bring a presentation by Drs. Shorna Broussard Allred, Cornell University, and Shannon Rogers, Purdue University, on owner and public perceptions about timber harvesting aesthetics.

A free, one-time ForestConnect registration is required to receive notice of the connection details. Registration assures notice of the connection details, but "seating" is available first-come first served. Details on the webinar series, access to archived webinars, and registration information is available by clicking here.  Webinars are live at noon and 7PM (eastern) the dates listed below.

November 18th: Timber Harvesting Aesthetics Part 1. Timber harvesting options to improve aesthetics. Presented by Andy Egan, Paul Smiths College.

December 16th: Timber Harvesting Aesthetics Part II. Perceptions of woodland owners and the general public about harvest aesthetics. Presented by Shorna Broussard Allred, Cornell University, and Shannon Rogers, Purdue University.

A great publication for professionals and landowners entitled "A Guide to Logging Aesthetics: Practical Tips for Loggers, Foresters, and Landowners" can be ordered for $7.00 per copy through the Natural Resource, Agricluture, and Engineering Service (NRAES).   This publication was awarded a blue ribbon in the 1993 ASAE Educational Aids Competition.  The publication addresses planning and conducting a timber harvest to minimize the disruptive effects of cutting and removing trees on a forest. Topics covered include concerns, solutions, truck roads, landings, skid trails, tree felling, administration and planning, and costs. Also included are fifty full-color photos.  I highly recommend it if you are planning on conducting a timber harvest.  To order publication click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ash Borer Found in Juniata County Pennsylvania


This one is hitting close to home.  Pennsylvania has added another county to the list that have discovered emerald ash borer infestations.  The insect has now been identified in Milford Township, Juniata County, bringing to 11 the number of Pennsylvania counties where the ash tree-destroying pest has been identified.  To read the full story go to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's web site news release: http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agriculture/cwp/view.asp?Q=153457&A=390

I realize this is kind of late notice since the first webinar in the series has already run on November 5th, but the USDA Forest Service, Michigan State University, The Ohio State University, and Purdue University are collaborating to present a series of webinars about Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).


Dubbed Emerald Ash Borer University, this is a series of webinars that will offer people the opportunity to learn a great deal of information about EAB without the costs of travel. All of the webinars are free, although registration is required to access them. Names and contact information can be found on the home page if you have questions.

To register and learn more visit: http://www.emeraldashborer.info/eab_university.cfm

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Forest Management and Regeneration Webinar

The Pennsylvania Forests Web Seminar Center is pleased to announce the November on-line program. Susan Stout, Project Leader, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, will be presenting live Forest Management and Regeneration on Tuesday, November 10th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour. ( http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/)

When managing a forest stand, thought must be given to the forest left behind after activities take place and the forest that will begin anew when we modify light conditions through harvesting. So often, forest management focuses on that which is to be removed. Shifting focus to what remains and the next forest, and undertaking activities to enhance these two resources, allows landowners to demonstrate their stewardship ethic and focus their goals on a sustainable forest resource....a sustainable outcome.

This seminar counts towards 1.0 credit of Category 2 SAF CFE credits.

To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process. If you are a member of the Penn State community, you already have your User ID, but we would ask you to register on the website so that you can receive reminders of upcoming programs.  You only have to register once. To register visit the site at http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/.

Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Asian Longhorned Beetle: The Next Threat to Our Forest

The following story appeared in the Smithsonian magazine.  It provides a well written and interesting account of the history and current efforts to eradicate Asian longhorned beetle in the US.  It is worth reading when you have the time.


(Smithsonian Magazine, November 2009)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hunters Sharing the Harvest


The 2009 Pennsylvania deer season is upon us! Archery started October 1st and the early muzzleloader and youth rifle season this week. The regular gun season does not begin until the Monday following Thanks Giving, November 30th. That being said, I hope many of you will consider donating all or part of your deer to help feed the hungry. This is accomplished through the efforts of Hunters Sharing the Harvest and its cooperators.

Pennsylvania's Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) is a venison donation program. Since 1991 it has channeled hunter's donations of venison to local food banks, soup kitchens, and needy families. These donations have literally provided hundreds of thousands of meals to needy Pennsylvanians. Last year HSH coordinated the delivery of nearly 200,000 meals of venison to hungry Pennsylvanians!

Hunting is the primary method of deer management in the state. Proper deer management lessens the impact of deer on forests, crops, and landscaping. Balancing deer populations with the available habitat also benefits deer by ensuring the availability of food and cover. With fewer hunters and more liberal seasons than in the past many hunters are able to harvest two or more deer.

HSH not only encourages hunters to consider donating their second or third deer of the season, but also to consider smaller donations from any deer harvested. HSH program distributes the venison to hungry people via an integrated network of meat processors and food banks. The program has called upon hunters to pay for all or part of the processing fees. These donations, combined with the financial assistance of our sponsors, are what make the entire process possible.

To find out more information about HSH go to their web site located at: http://www.sharedeer.org/index.html or contact the Centre County Volunteer Coordinator, Dave Jackson at 814-355-4897. Listings of participating processors can be found on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s web site: http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/cwp/view.asp?a=460&q=160457

Centre County currently has just one participating butcher, Adler’s Market, located in Philipsburg. HSH continues to have a serious need for qualified participating deer processors in many areas. Any help with connecting HSH to good candidates in unrepresented areas would be appreciated!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Upcoming Webinar - Deer Impacts on Forests


Cornell Cooperative Extension will be providing a webinar on Wednesday, October 21st at noon and again at 7:00 PM entitled Deer and forests - impacts, assessment, control and recovery.  The webinar will be presented by Susan Stout and Alex Royo with the US Forest Service Northern Research Station located in Warren, Pennsylvania.  The  Forest Service Research Station has decades of research experience on deer impacts and recovery.  To view the webinars you must first register on Cornell's Forest Connect site located at: http://www.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/forestconnect/web.htm

Deer have a documented impact on the regeneration of trees and herbs, and interact with other forest processes.  Impact is a function of deer density and landscape forage availability.  At any given density impact is affected by the amount of landscape forage available.  Deer impact refers to the ability of deer to influence tree seedling numbers, species composition, and seedling height growth.  They do this by selectively browsing on understory vegetation.  In areas with high deer impact the number of seedlings is reduced, the species composition is often shifted to less valuable (palatable) species, and the surviving seedlings are generally smaller.  This relates directly to research findings indicating that when deer population numbers exceed what the land is able to support they can have a severe impact on the ability of the forest to regenerate itself.

Forage availability relates directly to the ability of the land to carry a specific population of healthy deer.  When forage is less abundant, deer eliminate preferred forage species and spread their foraging out across many more non-preferred species.  Many more plant species are browsed, and preferred plant species are much reduced in abundance or are completely eliminated.  In regions where the habitat has been severely depleted from decades of over-browsing, deer can still have a high impact on the forest even with relatively few deer per square mile.

Indicators of high deer impact include obvious browse lines; evidence of severe browsing on species that are not preferred such as American beech, striped maple, and black cherry; and understories dominated by species that deer avoid such as hayscented fern, striped maple, American beech, hophornbeam, mountain laurel, blueberry, and spicebush.  In areas with high deer impact we often see these species dominating the forest floor.  Many of us in Pennsylvania do not know what forest understories would look like with low deer impact, we have never seen that throughout our lifetimes!  The real concern is that even if deer densities are lowered are these altered plant communities semi-permanent?  They may be.

I will leave you with a quote from Dr. Gary Alt, retired PA Game Commission, "If this is not corrected it threatens our entire forest ecosystem, the health of our deer herd, and even the future of hunting as we know it."  Please tune in to the webinar.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Feral Hogs and Woodlots

The past two issues of Small Farms Quarterly (a New York State publication) ran articles/updates on feral swine (also known as feral hogs) and their impacts on forests and woodlots.  Very interesting article.  I have shared the links below.

The article indicates that there are a few thousand feral hogs in Pennsylvania found in 18 counties.  If you notice any feral hogs you are asked to contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission to report their location.

Feral hogs have traditionally only been found across the southern United States.  Beginning in 2004, 12 additional states reported populations.  These states include such northern states as Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  It has become very clear that feral hogs have no problem surviving and reproducing in the cold winter climates of the northeast.

Feral hogs have high reproductive rates and few natural predators.  Bears and coyotes rarely attack hogs due to the sows protective behavior.  This allows hogs to expand into new areas very rapidly.  They can be big problems for farmer, causing extensive crop damage.  They can also cause considerable environmental damage to forests, wetlands, riparian areas, and other aquatic ecosystems.  Their wallowing and rooting behaviors can cause extensive damage to soils, wetland vegetation, water quality (through sedimentation and nutrient loading), ground nesting birds, as well as reptiles, amphibians, and rare plant communities.  It has even been suggested that feral hog activity can adversely impact trout populations.

Landowners need to learn to recognize signs of feral hog activity.  If you observe signs, damage or the swine themselves be sure and report it to your state or USDA officials.  In Pennsylvania, the Game Commission is in charge of this program.  Government trapping and eradication programs are available.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Re-introducing the American Chestnut


Chestnut Trees, Once Nearly Gone, Thrive as Seedlings

September 24 – The Charlotte Observer reports that 500 blight-resistant American chestnut saplings are thriving a year after they were planted in three national forests—a milestone in the long-term effort to re-establish the tree in its native habitat.

In stands of tiny trees in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia bloom the hope of restoring a mighty giant, as scientists try to bring back the American chestnut from near extinction.  "Just developing a blight-resistant tree is not enough," said Bryan Burhans, who heads the American Chestnut Foundation in Asheville. The trees have to be planted in the forest to see if they can survive real-world conditions and competition with other plants.

To read the full sory go to: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/597/story/965860.html?storylink=omni_popular

Story edited from the Society of American Foresters E-Forester - September 25th edition.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Webinar - The Sweet Side of Maple Syrup


On Wednesday, September 23rd. a webinar will be offered at Noon and again at 7:00 PM entitled "The Sweet Side of Maple."  This webinar is offered through Cornell Cooperative Extension and their Forest Connect webinar series.

This presentation will address the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing private woodlands for the production of maple syrup. You may have asked yourself if syrup production is an option for your woodlot? Woodland owners will learn about their opportunities and trade-offs for either leasing their trees or direct production of syrup. Foresters will learn about considerations that owners will need to address and how to evaluate their options. Participants will learn about utilizing agricultural assessment laws (specific to NY) and considerations for developing leases and contracts between owners and producers. Much of this information will apply to producers in Pennsylvania and other NE states as well.

The webinar will be presented by Mike Farrell, Cornell University Cooperative Extension Department of Natural Resources. To register for the webinar go to: http://www.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/forestconnect/web.htm
Continuing Forestry Education (CFE) credits have been requested.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The State of Pennsylvania's Forest Economy

Forests are not exempt from the ongoing financial crisis. Pennsylvania's forest products industry clearly links to the general state of the economy as lumber, furniture, components, and cabinets depend on housing starts. Most wood-related mills in Pennsylvania have reduced or closed operations.

As an indicator of how bad things are, visit Penn State's Timber Market Report at http://www.sfr.cas.psu.edu/TMR/TMR.htm. Stumpage prices for most species are less than half what they were a few years ago. Across the US and globally, the state of the forest products industry is similar. The good news is that there are signs of recovery -- albeit slow. Experts predict a year or so before we are, pardon the pun, out of the woods.

While the economy is down there are emerging opportunities such as bioenergy, natural gas, and carbon offsets. High energy prices in 2007/2008 sparked interests in renewable energy and the potential of woody biomass as a viable alternative for heating, power, and ultimately ethanol (gas). The newfound interest in the Marcellus natural gas shale formation, underlying two-thirds of Pennsylvania, is another income opportunity for thousands of forest landowners. As the US Congress is poised to address the climate bill, forest landowners are in line to capture income from selling carbon credits to polluters. These emerging opportunities are not without risk, and caution is the operative word as these alternatives evolve.
 
Any decision a landowner makes, whether it is harvesting, reforesting, fencing, selling carbon credits, or gas leasing, has tax implications. As most people are pinching pennies, every taxable dollar saved from Uncle Sam is a dollar earned. With little effort, there are numerous ways forest landowners can take advantage of incentives and deductions provided by the IRS. Every forest landowner should know about concepts such capitalization (establishing basis), deductions/expenses, capital gains, reforestation tax incentives, cost share programs exclusions, and conservation easements.
 
What does the current economic outlook and emerging markets mean for forest owners, forestry professionals, and industry? First it suggests landowners need good timely advice on their options so as to make wise decisions about their property and resources. Forestry professionals and their advisors (e.g., accountants, financial advisers, attorneys, etc.) need up-to-date information about the forest economy.

In October and early November, Penn State Natural Resources Extension is offering workshops throughout the state on forest taxes, forest finance, and estate planning. All the above mentioned issues and more will be discussed. You can find information on the forest taxes and finance meetings at: http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/pdfs/TaxFinance2009.pdf. Information on the estate planning sessions in Mercer County can be found at: http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/pdfs/2009ForestEstatePlanningFinal.pdf.

Written by: Dr. Michael Jacobson for the Forest Stewardship news release 9-16-09.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Conservation Stewardship Program for Forest Landowners

There is a new federal payment program for forest landowners called the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages landowners to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by: improving, maintaining and managing existing conservation activities; and undertaking additional conservation activities. In short, forest landowners are rewarded for maintaining sustainable practices and installing one additional practice during a five year contract.

Landowners who are accepted into the CSP will be paid between $6 and $12 per acre per year to maintain existing conservation practices on forest land.

Signups for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP2009) began August 10, 2009. CSP2009 will have a continuous open signup with periodic cutoffs to evaluate and rank applications. September 30, 2009 is the cutoff date for the first ranking period.

There are four resource concerns or eligibility requirements that must be addressed to be considered for funding. Two of the four must be met before application is made.
- Woodlot is “green certified” by the Tree Farm System.
- One or more improvements have been made to the forest in the past 10 years.
- There is no apparent erosion.
- Native trees are adequately stocked on the property.
It’s that first eligibility requirement that is so exciting. The Tree Farm Program, that we have worked so diligently on, is a requirement for the CSP.

To apply for CSP, potential participants will be encouraged to use a self-screening checklist first to determine whether the new program is suitable for them or their operation. It will be available on NRCS Web site (http://www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/) and at NRCS field offices.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Announcing the Invasive Plant Management Field Workshop

The Invasive Plant Management Workshop: A Silvicultural Perspective is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at Shaver’s Creek Outdoor Classroom and Stone Valley Experimental Forest, Petersburg, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. The program is scheduled from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Registration begins at 8:30 AM. The cost is $45.00 per person and includes refreshments and lunch.

Invasions of nonnative plants into our forests continue to go unchecked and unmonitored. Invasive nonnative plants infest forest understories and forest openings. Increasingly these plants begin to reduce forest productivity, hinder forest use and management activities, and degrade diversity and wildlife habitat. Invasive non-native plants occur as trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns, and forbs. Some have been introduced accidentally, but most have been brought intentionally as ornamentals or livestock forage. These plants arrived without their natural controls (insects and diseases) that tend to keep native plants in balance. Most are able to increase across the landscape with little opposition.

This workshop is designed for natural resource management professionals, vegetation managers, land managers, and forest landowners and will focus on identification, impact, and control of the most severe forest invasive plants.

The workshop was developed in cooperation with the Penn State University School of Forest Resources, Penn State Stone Valley Experimental Forest, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, and Alenza. It qualifies for Pennsylvania certified pesticide applicator credits in Core and Categories 5, 10, 14, 18, and 23. It is also approved for Society of American Foresters CFE credits in categories 1 and 2.

Pre-registration for this workshop is required prior to Tuesday, September 29, 2009. For registration or additional information contact Penn State Cooperative Extension at 814-355-4897 or CentreExt@psu.edu. Space is limited so register early.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Webinar Presentation: Firewood from Woodlots

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center pleased to announce the September on-line program. Jim Finley, Professor, Penn State School of Forest Resources, will be presenting Firewood from Woodlots on Tuesday, September 8th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.

Warming our nation?s homes with firewood has a long tradition. To do it sustainably is challenging. Many firewood users harvest deadwood first, but this does little to improve the woodlot; in fact, it may be counter to meeting other objectives. Cutting live trees is often the best approach, especially when the focus is on providing growing space for the trees you leave and considering future management options. This presentation will explore ideas for sustainably cutting firewood from your woodlot. This seminar also counts towards 1.0 credit of Category 2 SAF CFE credits.

Live seminars are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month at noon and 7 p.m. Each session is recorded and loaded onto the Web Seminar Center along with a copy of the presentation and any handout materials. So, if you are unable to participate in the "live" session, a recording of it will be available for you to view at your convenience. Of course, none of the interactive elements will be available when watching the recording.

To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process. If you are a member of the Penn State community, you already have your User ID, but we would ask you to register on the website so that you can receive reminders of upcoming programs.

Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound.
To register and take part in the live seminars or to view the upcoming seminars schedule, visit http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/.  We look forward to having you join these discussions and learning experiences. "See" you there on September 8.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Waiting For Work in the Silent Woods


Though you would be interested in a Washington Post (Thursday, August 13, 2009), front page above the fold, article about a logger and the condition of the logging industry. It is a story of a logger who waits four days for a job while his crew and equipment set idle. There is quite a photo gallery as well. This story is not unique to Alabama, its appearance on the front page brings to light the stress to the logging industry and the rippel effects of poor markets, the stressed economy, and closed mills. Note the lesson in logging economics in the article - $1.6 million to $35,000. It is worth a read.

To read the full story go to:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Environmental Groups and Timber Companies Form Unlikely Alliance

This story appeared in the Seatle Times on August 3rd. Thought I would share it with my readers. It has real potential. Patrick Moore the once Green Peace advocate may have founded this idea in his book Green Spirit: Trees are the Answer (www.greenspirit.com/trees_answer.cfm).

Environmental groups turn to clear-cuts to stave off development

Environemtnal groups and timber companies have formed an unlikely alliance to back federal legislation that would support logging. The legislation would authorize $3 billion in tax-exempt revenue bonds to buy forest at risk of being converted into real estate. The bonds would support timber activities in exchange for conservation easements designed to keep the lands permanently undeveloped.

Expanding urban areas have increased land values and many timber companies are morphing into real estate giants. While many environmentalists are not fond of logging, they prefer its temporary effects to the permanence of development. It is at times an uneasy alliance.
"I'm an apostate, a turncoat on this issue," said Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest. We need to hug loggers the way we do farmers. Given the choice between a logger and a developer, I'm going to take the logger, even if that challenges some of the notions of my old friends (Lydia V. Mapes, Seatle Times, Aug. 3, 2009)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Saving the Eastern Hemlock


Battling an exiotic pest.....
From Georgia to Maine, this once-mightly conifer is now succumbing to an exotic pest, hemlock wooly adelgid. First detected in the western United states in 1924, the adelgid caused little damage. But, when it was carried east and reached Virginia in the 1950's it began its destructive spread. An aphid-like insect, the adelgid kills eastern hemlocks within a few years after infestation, feedling on the sap at the base of their needles and cutting off their nutrients.

To read the full story go to:

Edited from The View, University of Vermont

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Emeral Ash Borer Battle Underway


This insect keeps moving along. Two more counties in western PA have discovered the insect, Armstrong and Washington. I expect we will see more of it before the year is out. There is some good news however. The Evanston Review has reported that a parasitic insect has been released by the US Forest Service in two cities (Evanston and Chicago) for experimantal treatment.

For the full story on the insect release go to:

Emerald Ash Borer Found in Armstrong and Washington Counties Pennsylvania; Quarantine Expanded
(PA Dept. of Agriculture, Harrisburg, July 13, 2009) Campers and homeowners statewide are urged to not move firewood!

For the full story go to:

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Gypsy Moth has left the County (and State)

Most of you probably will not be surprised to hear that the Pennsylvania DCNR is finding that there has been a near-complete collapse of the gypsy moth population in the state. This is very much what many of you reported when you filled out the Gypsy Moth Activity Report on the county’s gypsy moth web site. Many thanks for your efforts – and for your unique observations in the text box. Such surveys are extremely helpful in getting a big picture view of what is happening in our large county.

The general collapse occurred as a result of the extremely unseasonal rainy weather that the whole of Pennsylvania experienced during late May and June. On three separate occasions, stationary fronts parked themselves over the Ohio valley and poured rain on us for a whole week. These were very favorable conditions for the pathogenic fungus, Entomophaga maimaiga, to grow from strength to strength until it killed even strong, late-stage caterpillars all over the county.

Please Report any Flying Moths
Even though it’s pretty certain that we have had a total gypsy moth population collapse, there is still a tiny chance that small residual populations survived in some parts of the county. The best indicator that this has happened is the presence of flying brown gypsy moth males and white non-flying females present on trees. If you do see any adult gypsy moths, please report them online on the county’s gypsy moth web site (www.co.centre.pa.us/gypsymoth).

As always, negative findings (no gypsy moth adults seen) are very important, as a reported absence of gypsy moths is a significant event in itself. (A negative report only takes 10 seconds to make; a positive report takes less than 1 minute.)

Identification Tip: Gypsy moth is one of the few moth species in N. America which flies during the day. Another telltale sign that it’s a gypsy moth is its zigzag flight path as it tracks the scent of the pheromone produced by the female. See the web site for pictures of male and female moths.
(Edited from the Centre County Gypsy Moth Coordinator - Gypsy Moth News, July 2009)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reinventing Smethport’s Forest Legacy

Biomass magazine recently reported on a group of foresters from Pennsylvania who traveled to Austria a year ago to see how the nation has managed its forests for multiple uses for centuries. According to the article, Austria, “which is about two-thirds the size of Pennsylvania, has 1,560 district heating plants using woody biomass—about 20 of those are combined-heat-and-power (CHP) systems. Soon 50 percent of Austria’s energy will come from renewable resources, with 15–20 percent from wood.”

Smethport, a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania, will soon be online utilizing the same technology. The town wants to be the first small town in the U.S. with a woody biomass-fired combined-heat-and-power district heating system.

To read the full article, visit the Biomass magazine website. http://www.biomassmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=2712

Edited from the Society of American Foresters E-Forester (June 29, 2009)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Insect in Hemlock Forests Causes Loss of Canopy, Increase in Invasive Plants

According to new research by ecologists at the University of California–Berkeley, canopy loss in eastern hemlock forests as a result of the hemlock woolly adelgid also is setting the stage for the invasion of non-native plants. The canopy decline leads to even greater invasion of non-native plants when combined with a high concentration of the plants’ seeds and white-tailed deer in affected areas.

For more information, visit the University of California–Berkeley website.
Edited from Society of American Foresters E-Forester June 15, 2009.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Central PA Biomass Energy Workshop

A Biomass Energy Workshop is being offered on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at the Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building, Penn State University Park from 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM, cost $20.00. The workshop is sponsored by Headwaters RC &D, Penn State Cooperative Extension, and Biomass Connections.

Topics include warm season grass establishment, mineland and biomass production, biomass bennefits to wildlife, markets for energy crops, and a tour of biomass energy projects at Penn State.

Do you have an interest in how biomass energy crops support your local economy and protect your environment? Are you a landowner interested in establishing biomass energy crops for home, farm, or industry use but don't know what funding sources are available to help you get started? Would you like to see a machine that makes pellets out of switchgrass up close and personal?

To register or for more information contact the Headwaters RC & D Council at 478 Jeffers Street, Bldg 3, Ste D, DuBois, PA 15801, 814-375-1372 or e-mail Adam Dellinger: adam.dellinger@pa.usda.gov

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

PA Forest Web Seminar Center - Short Summer Series

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center ( http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/) is pleased to announce a special Short Summer Series for the months of July and August.

Summer Tree ID Made Easy - Wednesday, July 22nd, 7-8:30 PM, presented by Sandy Smith, Youth and Natural Resources Extension Specialist, Penn State School of Forest Resources. The identification of trees by their leaves is perhaps the easiest way to distinguish one species from another. This session will present the basic types of leaves, their characteristics, and how to use a "tree key" for identification. Old and young alike will benefit from learning this valuable skill. Before attending this webinar, each participant should download and print out the 4-H Summer Key for Pennsylvania Trees (available on the website) that will be used during the session.

An Introduction to American Ginseng Forest Farming - Wednesday, August 26th, 7-8:30 PM presented by Eric Burkhart, Instructor and Program Director, Plant Science, Shaver's Creek Environmental Center. Establishing or "farming" American ginseng on Pennsylvania forestlands is a fascinating and potentially profitable activity that can contribute to both plant and forestland conservation. In this presentation, participants will be introduced to one of Pennsylvania's most valuable crops, American ginseng. The botany, biology, ecology, markets, growing options, propagation techniques, and management issues (pests, theft, regulations) will all be covered.

Each session is recorded and loaded onto the Web Seminar Center along with a copy of the presentation and any handout materials. So, if you are unable to participate in the "live" session, a recording of it will be available for you to view at your convenience. To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process. If you are a member of the Penn State community, you already have your User ID, but we would ask you to register on the website so that you can receive reminders of upcoming programs. Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software.

To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed internet connection and sound. To register and take part in the live seminars or to view the upcoming seminars schedule, visit http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Woody Biomass Desk Guide and Toolkit Available Online

A new woody biomass desk guide and toolkit are now available online. The purpose of the guide is to equip natural resource professionals and outreach specialists with the information and tools needed to increase awareness of the use of woody biomass for energy in the U.S.

Communities today are challenged to develop effective strategies that support forest ecosystem health, mitigate the effects of climate change, satisfy growing energy needs, and provide local economic opportunities. For some communities, woody biomass may be a viable option for meeting these needs and deserves serious consideration. Forests in the United States represent an important potential energy and biobased product resource. NACD, in collaboration with federal, state, and local partners is working to raise awareness about the potential for woody biomass as a primary feedstock for such products.

This Woody Biomass Desk Guide and Toolkit provides an overview of woody biomass production and utilization in the U.S., tips of how to provide effective outreach for your clientele, and educational handouts to share with your audiences. The purpose of this guide is to equip natural resource professionals and outreach specialists with the information and tools needed to increase awareness of the use of woody biomass for energy in the U.S.

This Guide is designed for use by conservation district, Resource Conservation & Development and Extension professionals throughout the U.S. It also contains handouts and other resources to assist in educating respective audience. The Desk Guide and Toolkit is a comprehensive guide comprised of the following sections: Reference Sections, Handouts, Case Studies, Introductory PowerPoint Presentations, Frequently Asked Questions, Glossary, and Additional Resources.

You can pick and choose from the materials in this Guide and Toolkit to create the outreach strategy or program that best meets your objectives. Whether you need to give a thirty-minute presentation to your local county commission or conduct a week-long professional development training for consulting foresters, the resources in this program can help.

For the full guide and toolkit go to the National Association of Conservation Districts web site at:


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Wildlife Food Plot Manual Available

Craig Harper, Professor/Extension Wildlife Specialist from the University of Tennessee recently finished a manual on wildlife food plots. It is available for viewing or purchase at the following web site: http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/wildlife/default.asp#habitat.

In writing the manual, Harper tried to put food plots in the correct context with holistic habitat management. Food plots are not needed to sustain healthy wildlife populations, but they can provide a positive benefit, and many landowners are trying to grow and manage food plots. It is important to give them accurate information regarding food plots if they are going to be planting them.

The manual was written primarily for the Southern region, but provides a lot of information that is just as pertinent further north and west. You will see Cooperative Extension played an important role in the review and content.

The only way anyone can purchase the manual is through the website listed above. When an order is placed on-line with a credit card, it is sent by the mailroom that day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pennsylvania Tree Farm Forestry Field Day

The Pennsylvania Tree Farm Program is holding their annual field day at the Hillwood Tree Farm in Lucinda, PA on June 13th, 2009. Hillwood Tree Farm, owned by George & Jane Schmader was selected as the Pennsylvania Outstanding Tree Farm of the year for 2008 and will be the host of the event. The field day is being held in conjunction with the Woodland Owners of Clarion – Allegheny Valley’s annual picnic.

The day will feature presentations and demonstrations on three of the four aspects of Tree Farming, Wood, Wildlife, Water and Recreation. Presenters scheduled are; Wood - Gary Gilmore, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Wildlife - Rod Bimber, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Water - Trudy Alexander& Bernie Spozia, Clarion County Conservation District, there will also be time allotted for Recreation in the form of hiking and fellowship.

At 10 AM there will be a program on trees, habitat and environment geared specifically for the youth in attendance.

The Woodland Owners of Clarion Allegheny Valley (WOCAV), American Tree Farm System, (ATFS), Pennsylvania Forestry Association (PFA), Clarion County Forest Stewardship Committee, in conjunction with our partners, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Clarion County Conservation District, (CCCD), and Penn State Extension promote best management practices throughout the local area, state and nation. Please join us for an informative and educational experience and consider becoming a member of one or more of the above mentioned organizations.

The agenda and registration information for the program can be obtained at the WOCAV web site http://www.thewocav.org/.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New EAB Insecticide Bulletin Available

In case you have not seen this a new chemical control bulletin, prepared by university researchers, is now available on the emeral ash borer web site.

The most current, up-to-date information and research on if, when, and how to treat ash trees for Emerald Ash Borer is available in this bulletin. This downloadable bulletin can be printed now; printed copies will be ready soon. Check back here for availability.

Production and distribution of this bulletin were supported in part by cooperative agreements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection. This bulletin may not necessarily express the views of the USDA.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sustainable Woodlands Webinar Series

Cornell Cooperative Extension is pleased to announce a special webinar series titled "Sustainable Woodlands." The series emphasizes the range of skills and attitudes necessary for maintaining a well-managed, and sustainable, woodland. Cornell's ForestConnect program and the Department of Natural Resource are working with the Sustainable Forests Partnership on this project.

Cornell has an exceptional cadre of speakers scheduled over the next few months. See the information below for details on dates and topics. Webinars provide an opportunity for nationally acclaimed speakers to provide an educational experience via a high-speed Internet connection to people around the world.

ForestConnect is a pioneer in offering forest-related webinars and includes more than 1200 registered participants who own or manage almost 10 million acres. Prospective participants need to pre-register; registration is easy, happens once and is free. Register at http://www.forestconnect.info/ via the web conference link. Detailed information about the webinars, and previously recorded webinars, are available at this website. All webinars are offered free from 12:00 to 1:15 (Eastern time) and limited to the first 100 participants logged on. A high speed internet connection and functional speakers are required. All webinars are recorded for later viewing.

June 1, 2009 - Enhancing biological diversity on forest lands. Kristi Sullivan, Cornell University
June 15, 2009 - Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources. Dr. Andrew Egan, Paul Smith's College
June 29, 2009 - Sustaining healthy and productive forests. Dylan Jenkins, The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania
July 13, 2009 - Forest carbon cycles and management. Maria Janowiak, Michigan Technological Institute
July 27, 2009 - Landowner perspectives on forest stewardship and sustainability. Ruth McWilliams, USFS (retired)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Deer Habitat and Management Tour

PA GAME LANDS Deer Habitat & Management Tour

Sunday – May 31st, 2009, 1:00 PM
Elk County State Game Lands # 44

This will be a tour of habitat work and various projects that profile deer management issues in the state and the local areas.

The tour is free and open to the public .

Wear clothing and boots suitable for short walks in the woods and fields. Jackets or rain gear may be needed dependent upon the weather conditions. High clearance vehicles are preferred, though four-wheel drive is not needed, as you use your vehicle to travel to various locations on the game lands.

The tour starts at 1:00 PM at the Old CCC Camps in Carmen, site of the present day Game Commission Food & Cover Crew Headquarters, located on Game Commission Road. By approximately 5pm tour returns to starting point and refreshments are served.

Take Route 949 South out of Ridgway for approx. 8 miles – just prior to the twin bridges that cross over the railroad tracks and Toby Creek turn left onto Game Commission Road. This is approx. 1 mile north of Portland Mills on Rt. 949.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wood Pellet Stove IRS Incentive


This could be the year to invest in a new wood or pellet stove. I just found out about a 30% tax credit of up to $1500 that has been approved for models that meet certain energy efficiency standards. The IRS has not issued the final guidelines on the efficiency standards, however, but they are expected soon. Check out the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association website for details: http://www.hpba.org/index.php?id=34 Current wood pellet prices from a local supplier this spring were around $225/ton.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Carbon Market Opportunities Web Site


Some of you may have heard, but I thought I'd share this with those that had not. The USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area "Carbon Market" opportunities web site is up and running! Link to it from the Northeastern Area Homepage ( http://www.na.fs.fed.us/) or directly at: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/ecosystemservices/carbon/index.shtm .

The website delivers background information on climate change and forests and as well as information about how private forest landowners can engage in voluntary markets and the potential costs, benefits, risks and opportunities of doing so. Look for other updates, tools and resources on the website as well, including a link to CVal, a newly released forest carbon spreadsheet valuation tool designed for landowners and consulting foresters.

Many thanks to Sarah Hines of the Forest Servicefor compiling/creating this web content for us!

Carbon Trading 101 Webinar


A special one-hour web seminar program on carbon trading will be presented by Kurt Krueger, District manager or larson & McGowin, inc. on Thursday, April 30, 2009 from Noon to 1:00 PM (eastern time). The program will discuss the basics of forest carbon offset projects, how landowners might qualify, and how carbon credits are sold on various markets.

Web Access Instructions:
On the day of the webinar, go to: http://ethreemail.com/e3ds/mail_link.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fforestrywebinar.net&i=0&d=D700F836-6D5E-4818-9A73-676560F3F51A&e=robert_bardon@ncsu.edu about 10-15 minutes prior to the start of the session (pay attention to the time zone on the announcements), click on the particular webinar link, enter your name to login (no password is needed)....follow instructions for SAF CFE credit if desired, and the webinar will then load on your computer.
If you have not yet participated in a Elluminate webinar then Please go to http://ethreemail.com/e3ds/mail_link.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.elluminate.com%2Fsupport&i=3&d=D700F836-6D5E-4818-9A73-676560F3F51A&e=robert_bardon@ncsu.edu for setting up your computer. You should do this at least 24 hours in advance of a live webinar in case you have any problems that need to be resolved. If you have any hardware or software issues you can call Elluminate Support at 1-866-388-8674, option 2.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Invasive Plant ID Publication

A new publication entitled "Mistaken Identity? Invasive Plants and their Native Look-alikes, An Identification Guide for the Mid-Atlantic" is now available. The publication was published by the Delaware Department of Agriculture in collaboration with Claude E. Phillips Herbarium at Delaware State University and the Delaware Center for Horticulture and funded by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

This publication is a full-color, 62-page booklet. The purpose of the work is to facilitate correct identification of confusingly similar invasive and native plant species. Targeted at land managers, gardeners, conservationists, and all others interested in plants, this booklet provides side by side comparisons of over 20 invasive plants and their native look-alikes. Common trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and herbs are included. The booklet includes a section on controlling invasives as well as specific species control recommendations. Lastly, for those of you who are not up on your botany a very thorough glossary of botanical terms is included.

To view the publication on line (you will need a high speed internet connection) go to:


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Forestry Internet Seminar: Rehabilitate Cutover Stands

Many woodland owners and foresters find themselves confronted by the need to rehabilitate a woodlot that has been logged by the high grade method. Although recognition of the problem has increased, only recently have guidelines been developed to correct this unsustainable practice. On Wednesday April 15th, join Dr. Ralph Nyland for a webinar on “Rehabilitating Cutover Stands”. Dr. Nyland is a Distinguished Service Professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Dr. Nyland will cover the steps and criteria to guide forest activities, determine the optimum strategy to salvage the stand, and satisfy the owner’s objectives. This April webinar is a sequel to the February 2009 webinar by Dr. Nyland that covered the impacts of exploitation harvests. A recorded version of the February webinar can be viewed at the ForestConnect website (http://www.forestconnect.info/).

The Forest Connect Internet Seminar Series is an interactive web conference and was the first of its kind in the US. Each seminar uses the Internet to distribute, or webcast, a live and interactive presentation. Since May 2007, web-based seminars have connected forest owners, managers, and practitioners from throughout the United States and overseas. More than 1200 owners and managers from 40 states and nine countries are registered and receiving announcements for the monthly webcasts.

Seminars occur on the third Wednesday of each month. Each webcast is provided live, twice. The initial broadcast each month is from Noon - 1:00 PM with a repeat live broadcast the same day from 7:00 - 8:00 PM, Eastern Time. Participation is as easy as a high-speed internet connection via a web browser. Participants will connect to a secure Cornell Cooperative Extension server to join the presentation. Participants must pre-register once, without charge, at http://www.forestconnect.info/. Email notification of internet URL details for the web conference will be sent to everyone registered.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Web Seminar: Invasive Insects in Your Forest

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center ( http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/) is pleased to announce the April on-line program. Greg Hoover, Senior Extension Associate, Penn State Department of Entomology, will be presenting, Invasive Insects in Your Forest on Tuesday, April 14th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.

Some exotic insects have found Pennsylvania forests a good home away from home. This session will explore the most troublesome exotic insects causing damage in Penn?s Woods and the control options available. This seminar also counts towards 1.0 credit of Category 2 SAF CFE credits.

Live seminars are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month at noon and 7 p.m., skipping July and August. Each session is recorded and loaded onto the Web Seminar Center along with a copy of the presentation and any handout materials. So, if you are unable to participate in the "live" session, a recording of it will be available for you to view at your convenience. Of course, none of the interactive elements will be available when watching the recording.
To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process. If you are a member of the Penn State community, you already have your User ID, but we would ask you to register on the website so that you can receive reminders of upcoming programs.

Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound. To register and take part in the live seminars or to view the upcoming seminars schedule, visit http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/.We look forward to having you join these discussions and learning experiences. "See" you there on April 14

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Newly Released Estate Tax Planning Guide

The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station and its collaborators recently released the estate tax planning guide titled “Estate Tax Planning: What Will Become of Your Timberland?” This is the updated version of one of the most widely used tax publications for private family forest owners. The electronic version is available free at: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs112.pdf

The publication contains 180 pages of practical estate planning techniques and estate tax laws and rules with many examples and applications specifically for woodland property. It is written to assist woodland owners and their advisors­attorneys, consulting foresters, tax preparers, financial planners, as well as state agency foresters and cooperative extension agents.

For more information contact Linda Wang at lwang@fs.fed.us or (404)272-4791, Neal Bungard at nbungard@fs.fed.us or 603-868-7719, or John Greene jgreene01@fs.fed.us or (504) 589-7130.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Timber Tax Management for Family Forest Owners

"I haven't seen this book, but Dr. Hoover has been very active in timber tax issues for many years and guides the website noted below. I suspect this book would be a good invest (and tax deductible) for anyone working in forest tax/revenue arenas."
Peter Smallidge
Cornell Cooperative Extension

The tax treatment of family forests is a very specialized area of taxation. Professor Hoover has devoted his career to making these provisions understandable to family forest owners. Mr. Koontz partnered with Professor Hoover as a graduate student at Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. As part of his graduate program Mr. Koontz learned the tax treatment of timber and created the National Timber Tax Website. He has continued in this role and answers the hundreds of questions submitted to the site.

This publication is intended for family forest owners who don't have immediate access to tax professionals with expert knowledge and experience in this highly specialized field. Although the information included will be adequate for family forest owners needing to report basic transactions, we recommend that all family forest owners work with a tax professional in their vicinity. We have included footnotes citing the authority for almost all of the tax treatments discussed. These can be ignored by most readers. They are intended to provide tax professionals working with family forest owners the information needed to justify the treatment of timber related transactions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PA 4-H Wildlife Field Day - Have a Wild Time!


A wildlife "field day" for fun and learning is scheduled on Saturday, April 18, 2009, (9:30 AM - 3:00 PM) at Rock Springs (Ag Progress Days Site) near Penn State. This state event is wide open to all 4-H'ers (ages 8 -18) interested in or currently taking wildlife projects. 4-H adult volunteers and parents are also encouraged to attend. There will be two program options offered concurrently at the event.

The first option is the "Exploratory Tract," designed for youth ages 8-11. It will include hands-on wildlife educational activities and guest speakers. This year's theme for the Exploratory Tract is "Pennsylvania's Birds of Prey.” These magnificent birds are at the top of the food chain, and they have many unique adaptations and abilities! Come explore these birds through fun outdoor activities!

The second is the "Competitive Tract." It will offer youth, ages 12-18, a chance to participate in a wildlife habitat evaluation contest. This is an educational competitive event that provides a great opportunity for youth to apply their knowledge about wildlife to real life situations. The Competitive Tract will also include a habitat tour. There is a project book that 4-H'ers should study before coming to this event. It is available on request through the County Cooperative Extension Office, or it can be downloaded from the web site listed below. Four 4-H'ers, between the ages of 14 and 18 years old, will be selected to attend the 2009 National Wildlife Evaluation Event.

Volunteer Leaders, Agents, and parents are welcome to attend the field day to observe either option. Attendees are encouraged to dress for the field, and bring along their own bag lunches and and water bottles. Lunch will NOT be provide this year, sorry. There is no fee for the event, but all youth and adults planning to attend should sign up through the County Cooperative Extension Office. Let us know which option your youth wish to undertake. Additional information and directions to the event can be found on the event web site: http://pa4h.cas.psu.edu/79.htm Sign-up deadline is April 13, 2009!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Deer Habitat Workshop

A deer habitat workshop entitled “Deer Density and Carrying Capacity Workshop” is scheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2009 at the Western Clinton Sportsman’s Associations complex in Hyner, Clinton County, Pennsylvania. The program is scheduled for 9:00 am – 4:30 pm. Registration begins at 8:30 am. The cost is $15.00 per person and includes refreshments, lunch, and handout materials.

Penn State Cooperative Extension in partnership with the North Central Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association are providing a workshop specifically for anyone interested in learning more about white-tailed deer biology and management as it relates to the carrying capacity of the habitat. Other cooperators include: The Western Clinton Sportsman’s Association, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. This hands on, in the field workshop gets participants in the woods looking at deer habitat. Participants will assist in collecting deer population and habitat data and learn:
· To calculate the deer density in a given forest setting
· To evaluate the condition of deer habitat
· How the condition of the habitat relates deer numbers and habitat carrying capacity.

This is an opportunity to talk to wildlife biologists and other natural resource professionals who have experience in implementing various forest and wildlife habitat management strategies.

Pre-registration for this workshop is required prior to Monday, March 30, 2009. Space is limited so please register early. For registration or additional information contact Penn State Cooperative Extension-Centre County at 814-355-4897 or CentreExt@psu.edu.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Forestry Internet Seminar: Climate Change, Wildlife, and Woodlands

Cornell Universitie's March 18th ForestConnect webinar will focus on wildlife and woodland changes to expect. Those not registered for the webinars can do so through http://www.forestconnect.info/ (once, easy, and free)

Discussions of climate change in the popular press have highlighted negative effects on polar bears and arctic sea ice, but what will climate change mean for our environments in the Lower 48 and Northeast? Changes in temperature, season length, snowpack, and severe weather events are predicted. For some climate patterns, changes have occurred. As temperature and rainfall patterns change, some species will be favored while others are expected to decline. Some animal populations will increase in number, while others will decline or shift to new areas. During this webinar we will discuss how our forests may change and how different kinds of wildlife may be affected, and explore practical steps you can take to manage your water, woods and wildlife in the face of change.

The ForestConnect Internet Seminar Series is an interactive web conference and was the first of its kind in the US. Each seminar uses the Internet to distribute, or webcast, a live and interactive presentation. Since May 2007, web-based seminars have connected forest owners, managers, and practitioners from throughout the United States and overseas. More than 800 owners and managers from 40 states and three countries are registered and receiving announcements for the monthly webcasts.

Seminars occur on the third Wednesday of each month. Each webcast is provided live, twice. The initial broadcast each month is from noon to 1:00 PM with a repeat live broadcast the same day from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, Eastern Time. Participation is as easy as a high-speed internet connection via a web browser. Participants will connect to a secure Cornell Cooperative Extension server to join the presentation. Participants must pre-register once, without charge, at http://www.forestconnect.info/. Email notification of internet URL details for the web conference will be sent to everyone registered.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wildlife Habitat Web Seminar

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center ( http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/) is pleased to announce the March on-line program. Gary San Julian, Professor of Wildlife, Penn State School of Forest Resources, will be presenting, "Wildlife Habitat on Your Property" on Tuesday, March 10th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.

Forest landowners often have a small number of acres close to their homes they would like to enhance for wildlife, while at the same time preventing wildlife/human conflicts. Many would like to develop habitat for small game, song birds, and larger wildlife species on their land. These goals are not mutually exclusive if short and long term objectives are established and management options are put in place to reach the owners' wildlife and habitat goals. This seminar also counts towards 1.0 credit of Category 2 SAF CFE credits.
Live seminars are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month at noon and 7 p.m., skipping July and August. Each session is recorded and loaded onto the Web Seminar Center along with a copy of the presentation and any handout materials. So, if you are unable to participate in the "live" session, a recording of it will be available for you to view at your convenience. Of course, none of the interactive elements will be available when watching the recording.

To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process. If you are a member of the Penn State community, you already have your User ID, but we would ask you to register on the website so that you can receive reminders of upcoming programs. Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound. To register and take part in the live seminars or to view the upcoming seminars schedule, visit: http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Call For Volunteers

Musser Gap Deer Density Survey

Musser Gap was conserved in 2007 to protect important water resources and wildlife habitat that was threatened by a residential development. The property was purchased by ClearWater Conservancy in partnership with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), State College Borough Water Authority, the six Centre Region municipalities, and Altrusa International of Centre County. It is now owned by DCNR Bureau of Forestry and is part of Rothrock State Forest.
The Musser Gap Stewardship Committee was established in 2008 to create a Conservation Stewardship and Recreation Plan to guide the conservation and enhancement of the natural resources of Musser Gap while creating a recreational gateway between the community and Rothrock State Forest.

Volunteers are wanted to help conduct a deer density and browse impact survey in Musser Gap and surrounding properties on Friday, March 27th starting at 8:00 a.m. in the Ferguson Township Building. April 1 will be the snow date. Anyone interested in assisting with the data collection is encouraged to volunteer. Participants will learn how to calculate the deer density in a given forest setting; how to evaluate the condition of deer habitat and the level of deer browsing impact on tree seedlings; and how the condition of the habitat relates to deer numbers and habitat carrying capacity.

Dave Jackson, Forest Resource Educator with Penn State Cooperative Extension, will teach volunteers the survey protocol the morning of the survey. We will then travel to Musser Gap where groups of volunteers, led by experienced personnel, will assist in conducting the surveys on pre-established transect lines. Volunteers need to be prepared to hike in the woods for more than a mile over rough terrain. Following the field data collection, we will reconvene as a group to compile the results and discuss what we found. Data collected by the survey will be used to help guide habitat management in Musser Gap and will be shared with neighboring landowners.
The survey is being coordinated by Penn State Cooperative Extension, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, and ClearWater Conservancy.

Pre-registration is required by March 20, 2009. To volunteer please call ClearWater Conservancy at 237-0400 or email at Katie@clearwaterconservancy.org.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Abandoned Mine Drainage in the West Branch Watershed

An Economic Benefit Analysis:
Abandoned Mine Drainage Remediation in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed


Sponsored by the Woodland Owners of Centre County

Rebecca Dunlap, Project Manager for Trout Unlimited’s West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative, will be presenting An Economic Benefit Analysis for Abandoned Mine Drainage Remediation in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed, at 7 - 8 pm on Thursday, March 12th at Foxdale Village Auditorium in State College. For directions go to: http://www.foxdalevillage.org/location.html

In response to the nation’s current economic climate, environmental-related issues have taken a back-seat to domestic policy and unemployment. In fact, a January poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center cites that only 41% of voters deemed protecting the environment a top priority – down 15 points from last years’ 56%. While this precipitous drop is not surprising, it highlights the fact that environmental issues are not likely associated with job creation or increased local economic productivity.

Contrary to this evidence, Trout Unlimited recently published a study documenting the economic benefits associated with remediating local abandoned mine drainage pollution. The study reports that cleaning up the more than 1,200 miles of polluted waters and 42,000 acres of abandoned mine lands in the West Branch Susquehanna River watershed could potentially create approximately 6,000 green-collar jobs and an associated $800 million in economic benefits. The study also reports that streams free of abandoned mine drainage pollution would potentially generate $22.3 million in sport fishing revenue on an annual basis.