Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Penn State Natural Resources Extension Newsletter Available

The summer issue of Penn State's Natural Resources Extension newsletter entitled Forest Leaves is now available.  This newsletter is a quarterly newsletter that is sent out electronically.  You can view the lastest edition here.   Past issues can also be viewed on the PSU Natural resources Extension, Forest Leaves site.

This is a great newsletter that you may wish to subscribe to.  There is no charge to subscribe.  If you wish to be added to the distribution list contact Allyson Brownlee Muth, Forest Stewardship Program Associate, The Pennsylvania State University.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New USGS Land Cover Maps Available

This appears to be a very good reference for you to consult before doing on-site visits. Take a moment to check out your lands to get a first hand impression of how well it works.  It is available for anyone with computer access.

From: E&E PUBLISHING SERVICE, July 14, 2010
Laura Petersen, E&E reporter

Decades of mapping, advances in satellite imagery and a dedication to scientific decisionmaking has resulted in the first comprehensive, interactive land cover map of the United States.

"It's the best imagery we have right now, the best characterization of land cover that exists as far as I know," said John Mosesso, manager of the Gap Analysis Program (GAP), a project of the U.S. Geological Survey that created the map.

The map depicts the extent of forests, grasslands, wetlands and other habitats from coast to coast. USGS has made it searchable by state and region at three different levels of detail using eight, 43 or 590 classification categories. That means a user can view the map as broadly as forest or shrubland, or as specifically as Mediterranean California Lower Montane Black Oak-Conifer Forest and Woodland.

The habitat information can be combined with maps of species distribution and protected areas to see where there are conservation holes. While this can be used for endangered species, GAP's motto is "Keeping common species common." USGS makes no specific recommendations, but the hope is that resources managers will use this information to proactively fill in conservation gaps before habitats are fragmented by development and wildlife pushed toward extinction.

To access the land cover viewer click here and go to the Land Cover Viewer at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gulf Oil Leak & Backyard Birds

I received this message from the Cornell Ornithology Lab.  Thought I would share it with my readers.  If you are a bird watcher you may be interested in assisting by monitoring nesting birds in your area, particularly those that migrate through the Gulf area.

Will the Gulf Oil Spill Affect Birds That Nest in Our Backyards?

NestWatch Needs Your Help
We've seen images of oiled pelicans, plovers, and other shorebirds and wading birds from areas affected by the recent spill. Species that nest on beaches and in coastal marshes, like plovers and terns, are being monitored by state wildlife officials. But many birds that nest in backyards all across North America, such as Red-winged Blackbirds and Tree Swallows, may winter in the coastal and marsh environments along the Gulf of Mexico where they could potentially be affected by the oil spill. We need your help to track nesting success of these birds in your own backyard and neighborhood.

Call for Data:
Birds passing through the Gulf region could carry contamination with them, creating an "oil shadow" of declines in bird reproduction hundreds of miles away from the coast. NestWatch accepts data for all North American birds. We are asking you to focus on these five backyard bird species and other migratory birds that may use the Gulf during some part of their annual cycle and could potentially be affected by the oil spill.

Citizen-science participants have been helping the Cornell Lab monitor the success rates of nesting birds for 45 years. Now, it’s especially critical to capture data on nesting birds to reveal the health of birds before they encounter the oil spill—as well as in the years ahead, to detect possible long-term effects.

If you would like to be part of this effort, please visit Thank you for helping the birds!

Laura Burkholder, project leader

Friday, July 2, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer Making Headlines in PA.....Again!

It apears as though the emerald ash borer (EAB) is rearing its ugly head in central PA again.  I am afraid it is here to stay and may have a significant impact on the ash resource.  Yesterday, July 1, 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of EAB in three new counties, Centre, Fulton and Somerset counties.  They are also awaiting confirmation from an area detected in Union county as well.  To protect PA's hardwood industry, the secretary of agriculture is urging the public to heed existing qauarantines and not move firewood.  Pennsylvania is the largest producer of hardwood lumber in the nation.  To read the full news release go to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's web site.

On June 25, 2010 Penn State Natural Resources Extension sent out a news release concerning EAB.  More specifically, describing the monitoring system in counties that are not yet impacted by the insect.  The use of what are know as purple panel traps is described.  These traps can be seen hanging in trees throughout the area.  To read this article go to Penn State Extension's Forest Stewardship News web site.

Lastly, Cornell Cooperative Extension will be hosting a live webinar on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 highlighting the work that Dr. John Vandenberg and Leah Bauer are doing to find biological control agents for this insect pest.  We are already implementing cultural and insecticidal controls but biological controls may be the best answer.  The webinars are hosted live at noon and again at 7:00 PM and generally last about an hour.  Anyone who has not previously registered [you only need to register once] can complete the registration via the WEBINARS link at