Wednesday, January 27, 2010

PA Game Commissioner's Proposals for 2010

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for 2010-11, including broad changes to deer, bear, turkey and small game seasons.

The public may offer comments on all proposed 2010-11 seasons and bag limits, as well as other Board actions, between now and the Board’s next meeting, April 19-20, at which time the Board will finalize seasons and bag limits for 2010-11.  Also, the Board will take action on setting antlerless deer license allocations for the 22 WMUs at its April meeting. Deer harvest estimates for the 2009-10 seasons will be available in mid-March.

Following are highlights that could have a dramatic affect on the 2010/2011 deer season.

The Board of Game Commissioners gave preliminary approval to a slate of deer seasons for the 2010-11 seasons that includes adding Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 2C, 2E, 4D and 4E to the split five-day antlered deer season, Nov. 29-Dec. 3, and seven-day concurrent season, Dec. 4-11.  Those WMUs now part of the split season structure are WMUs 2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E.  The proposed package retains the two-week (12-day) concurrent, antlered and antlerless season in the remaining 14 WMUs.

Based on a motion by Game Commissioner Thomas Boop, the Board directed staff to prepare for its April meeting to suspend the issuance of Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) antlerless deer permits to public landowners, unless an approved management plan is in place.  Boop noted that this action does not impact private landowners ability to enroll in DMAP, which enables landowner to address deer management objectives on their properties. (PA Game Commission: 1-26-2010,
To read the full story click here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

PSU Water Resources Webinar Series

Water quality and water conservation will be the focus of five Web-based seminars produced by Penn State Cooperative Extension this spring.  Topics will include water testing, septic systems, managing ponds and lakes, and safe drinking water.

The first webinar will cover strategies to monitor water wells, springs and streams that are near gas-drilling sites.  That presentation will air Wednesday, Jan. 27, at noon and again at 7 p.m.

"We're starting to get a lot of questions about how people should monitor or test water wells or streams when there is drilling nearby," said Bryan Swistock, senior extension associate in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.  "This webinar will cover what they should do in terms of testing, what tests to run, who does it, how often and how much it will it cost."

Swistock said there are many different testing options, depending on the water use. He said the simplest way to monitor water quality is to test for total dissolved solids.  "If there is a spill or leak from a drilling site, the dissolved solids would indicate that," he said.  "But if you want to test drinking water, you'll need a more thorough test than that."

Swistock stressed that testing performed by the homeowner may have limited value if a case were to develop into a lawsuit.  He suggested that in instances when legal action may occur, homeowners should hire a third-party lab or tester to collect the sample.  Such precautions ensure that the water samples retain a "chain of custody" and that they are collected in the proper manner by a professional, he said.

The water-testing webinar is part of an overall series targeting the most common water questions and concerns people have about water resources on their own property, whether those are water wells, septic systems or ponds.  The series will discuss water-resource types, what kinds of threats exist to water supplies, and how property owners can manage them.

Participants must pre-register for the webinars, but only one registration is required for the entire series. To register click here.  Once participants have pre-registered, they may visit this Web site on the day of the presentation and simply click on the link with the title of that day's webinar.

Penn State Cooperative Extension Water Webinars are held the last Wednesday of each month from January until May and will air at noon and 7 p.m. on each date. 

Dates, topics and presenters for the 2010 series include:
--Jan. 27, Water Testing and Monitoring Strategies Near Gas Drilling Activity, Bryan Swistock, Penn State water resources extension specialist.
--Feb. 24, Saving Money and Your Septic System through Water Conservation, Tom McCarty, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County.
--March 31, Managing Your Pond or Lake, Susan Boser, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Beaver County.
--April 28, Safe Drinking Water Clinic, Peter Wulfhorst, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Pike County.
--May 26, Managing Your On-Lot Septic System, Dana Rizzo, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Westmoreland County.

For more information, contact Bryan Swistock at (814) 863-0194, or e-mail at

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pennsylvania 4-H Youth Natural Resources Events

Penn State Cooperative Extension is again providing two quality field days for 4-H members to explore and learn about the outdoors, the Wildlife Field day and the Forestry Field Day.  For details on each see below.  For more information on 4-H and the Field Days contact Dr. Sanford Smith at 814-865-4261 (phone) or (e-mail).

There is no fee for either event, but all youth and adults planning to attend should sign up through their County Cooperative Extension Office. Please let them know which Program and Tract you wish to undertake. Volunteer Leaders, Agents, and parents are welcome to attend the field day to observe either option. Participants must bring their own sack lunch and drink, and everyone is encouraged to dress for field conditions.

4-H Wildlife Field Day - Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

A wildlife field day for fun and learning is scheduled on Saturday, April 17, 2010, (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.  Sign-up deadline is April 9, 2010!

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 "Wild Turkeys." These fascinating birds are found throughout North America, and they have many unique features and adaptations! Come explore wild turkeys and participate in lots of fun outdoor activities while doing it!

The second option 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 2010 National Wildlife Evaluation Event.

Pennsylvania 4-H Forestry Field Day - Get Smart About Forests!

Pennsylvania?s 4-H Forestry Field Day is slated for May 15, 2010, from 9:45 AM - 3 PM at Laurel Haven Conservation Education Center, Julian, PA (near Penn State). This event is open to all 4-Hers who have taken, or are planning to undertake any 4-H forestry project. The event has two options. There is an "Exploratory Tract" for younger 4-Hers (ages 8-11) and a "Competitive Tract" for older youth (ages 12-18). All adults and 4-H volunteers are welcome to attend.  The sign-up deadline is May 7th, 2010.

Participants signing up for the Exploratory Tract will learn about trees, compass use, and tree measurement, which are all components of the Trees + Me = Forestry 4-H project. This is non-competitive, educational, and fun. No advance study is required for the Exploratory Tract. 4-Hers in the Competitive Tract will participate in a forestry knowledge and judging contest. A project book with everything one needs to know for this tract is available as a download at the web site listed below or by contacting your County Cooperative Extension Office. The top four teens (ages 14 years and up) will go on to participate in the 2010 National 4-H Forestry Invitational in West Virginia.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tree & Shrub Seedlings Available for Wildlife Habitat

The Pennsylvania Game Commission's (PGC) Howard Nursery is again selling tree and shrub seedlings. Most of the seedlings are either evergreen trees or deciduous shrubs with wildlife habitat potential. There is no requirement that a landowner must open his land for public hunting.

They are accepting orders as of 1/4/10. To find out what they are selling and order forms, go to the PGC's  Howard Nursery web page.

Seedlings are sold in Units of 25 seedlings of one species. Some species are in short supply so get your order in soon. You can order by phone or by sending in your order, the information you need is on the order form.

Remember, planting the seedlings is just half the job. Grass and other competing vegetation must be controlled for at least two years to get a satisfactory survival rate. Also don't forget about our furry friends.  Deer and rodents can make a significant impact on survival. Most trees and shrub will need protection from wildlife; tree shelters, fencing, etc.  Do yourself and the seedlings a favor and plant fewer seedlings with a lot of care. Please do not plant seedlings in the middle of the forest.  Shade and root competition from existing trees will be too much for them, ending in a very poor survival rate.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its partners put together an excellent tree planting guide entitled: Landowner Guide to Buffer Success.  Don't let the name fool you, tt is a comprehensive guide broken down by season to show exactly how to make your planting project a success.  The material applies to most any planting job, not just those along stream buffers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Managing Deer Damage in the Landscape

A free online webinar is scheduled for Thursday, January 14, 2010.  The webinar will start at 12 noon and end at 1:00 p.m. It will be recorded and available for viewing online.  Space for this webinar is limited; please make your reservation at least two hours prior to the start of the webinar by calling Pam Thomas at 301-432-2767 x315 or by email -  The web address for the live webinar will only be provided to those that register.

Overabundant deer populations pose serious issues for many homeowners, agricultural producers, woodland owners, as well as the public at large.  Safety issues such as Lyme disease and deer-vehicle collisions have impacted most people to the point that a survey found that 1 in 6 citizens know someone who has had a deer-vehicle collision. Many agricultural producers find that deer damage their crops to the point that it is not economical to grow the crop in some cases. Many homeowners have had thousands of dollars of damage to landscapes and deer have reduced the biodiversity of our woodlands due to their selective browsing of vegetation. Finding ways to manage deer so they are in balance with the environment is essential.

What can be done? This webinar will look realistically at lethal and non- lethal management options available to individuals and communities such as vegetation management, fencing, repellents and scare techniques, as well as population management using hunting. Many communities have worked together to educate citizens, stakeholders, and government officials to build consensus and develop strategies to manage overabundant deer populations using non-lethal techniques as well as managed hunts, sharpshooters, and more widespread use of legal hunting. After many decades of dealing with deer problems in Maryland this webinar will look at what works, what doesn’t, and the types of strategies are needed to implement effective community deer management in a developing landscape.

The speakers for the webinar will be Jonathan Kays, Extension Natural Resources Specialist and George Timko, Deer Biologist with the MD DNR Wildlife Division. Much of the information covered is found in the extension publication, Managing Deer Damage in Maryland (EB354C).

More information on managing deer can be found at:
Caring for Deer and Forests: A Resource Center for Eastern North America

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Webinar - Beginning Maple Syrup Production

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center is pleased to announce the January webinar. Bob Hansen, Forest Resources and Maple Products Extension Educator, Penn State Cooperative Extension, will be presenting Beginning Maple Syrup Production on Tuesday, January 12th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.

Many forest landowners seek additional opportunities to generate income off their property, not tied to harvesting timber; others like to be self-sufficient and make use of the resource they have; other landowners are looking for family-centered hobbies making use of their forested resources. This webinar will introduce the process of making maple syrup on a small scale, from selecting trees to managing your sugar bush, and what to think about if you want to get bigger and turn it into a business. Live presentations qualify for 1.0 SAF CFE, Category 2 credit.

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 ask that you register on the website so you can receive reminders of upcoming programs.

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

Click here to view other upcoming webinars.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Central Pennsylvania Forest Landowner Conference Announced

Penn State Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Penn State School of Forest Resources, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, and the Woodland Owners Association of Centre County are pleased to announce the 2010 Central Region Forest Landowners Conference. The conference is scheduled from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Saturday, February 27, 2010, at the Penn State School of Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA. This year the conference focuses on “What Every Forest Landowner Needs to Know.” Topics include: tree identification, maps and boundaries, timber sales, habitat enhancement, woodlot safety, insects and diseases, forest ecology, timber taxes, and others.

Pennsylvania has nearly 17 million acres of forests covering 60% of the state’s land area. The largest share of Pennsylvania’s forest is privately owned, accounting for more than 70% of the forested acres (12.5 million acres). Estimates put the number of private forest owners at more than 750,000. Families own forest for diverse reasons including values such as aesthetics, wildlife, privacy, and family legacy.

Pennsylvania’s forests support a forest products industry that is a key component of the state’s economy. The industry is the fourth largest in the state, employing over 90,000 workers in 2,500 firms and contributing more than 5 billion dollars to the state’s economy annually. Pennsylvania’s forests also provide habitat for a diversity of plants and wildlife. They are a source of beauty and serve as a place to recreate. Our forests also help to purify the air we breathe and the water we drink.

The forests of Pennsylvania are a renewable resource. Please plan to attend this year’s conference to learn how you can properly manage your forest to ensure it provides continued benefits into the future.

To register or for more information contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension office in Centre County at 814-355-4897 or e-mail The registration fee is $20.00 per person and includes presentations, a luncheon, and educational materials. The deadline for registration is Friday, February 20. Participants must be pre-registered. To download a copy of the conference brochure click here.