Naturalist Training Program Seeks Participants in Chester and Bucks Counties

In the Fall of 2015, the volunteer training program of Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is partnering with The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and Silver Lake Nature Center (Bucks County) to prepare citizens to become volunteer leaders in their communities through natural resource conservation education, citizen science, and stewardship. Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is a citizen volunteer initiative with three key components: an initial 55-hour volunteer training, annual volunteer service, and continuing education in the natural sciences.

Building Volunteer Leadership for Community-based Conservation

Master Naturalist volunteers design and pursue a wide variety of service projects from habitat restoration and native plantings, to nature walks and interpretative displays or publications on natural history, to water quality monitoring and supporting the natural resource conservation efforts of partnering organizations. Since 2010, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist volunteers in Southeastern Pennsylvania have:

  • engaged in more than 6,300 hours of conservation service
  • contributed $140,700 in conservation value and impact to numerous regional partners
  • reached over 9,000 people through education and outreach initiatives
  • improved 330 acres of habitat through stewardship service
  • dedicated themselves to 2,300 hours of continuing education in the natural sciences

Seeking New Applicants for Fall 2015

The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist natural history training sessions include 55 hours of classroom (weekday evenings) and field (Saturday) sessions and will be coordinated by the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and Silver Lake Nature Center (Bucks County) in the Fall of 2015.

The Chester County training, coordinated by The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, will begin on August 18 and finish on November 3, 2015. Classroom sessions will take place on Tuesday and/or Thursday from 6:00pm to 8:30pm at the Stroud Water Research Center (Avondale). Field sessions will take place on Saturdays or Sundays from 9:30am-2:00pm at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, the Stateline Woods Preserve, and the New Leaf Eco Center. A complete schedule is posted on the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist website (www.pamasternaturalist.org).

The Bucks County Training, coordinated by Silver Lake Nature Center (Bristol), will begin on Tuesday, September 15, and meet every Tuesday until November 10 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Field trips are scheduled for Saturdays: September 26, October 10, 17, and 24.

Individuals interested in the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Program in Chester or Bucks Counties are encouraged to apply by May 15, 2015. Applications can be found on the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist website at www.pamasternaturalist.org.

 

Contact:            Andrea Stevens, Program Coordinator progcoord@pamasternaturalist.org or (570) 764-7628

ClearWater Conservancy Announces Resignation of Executive Director

The board of directors of ClearWater Conservancy has accepted the resignation of long-time executive director Jennifer Shuey, effective April 24, 2015.

“Serving as ClearWater’s executive director has been an amazing, transformative experience for me,” says Shuey. “I am proud of how far we’ve come, and I want to salute my many mentors on the board of directors, our talented staff, and our many volunteers and partners for the success we’ve had creating multi-tiered partnerships and bringing a broad spectrum of voices into the conversation around conservation. I look forward to continuing my support for ClearWater’s mission.”

Shuey’s new plans in the community will be released in the near future.

ClearWater Conservancy has worked to protect land and water resources in Central Pennsylvania for 35 years; Shuey is the third executive director. Over the course of her nearly 15-year tenure with the nonprofit, ClearWater has grown from a small grassroots organization into a respected and accredited land trust, protecting 5,600 acres of habitat and restoring 77,900 feet of streams in the region. The organization has also helped improve water quality and protect water supplies, raised funding to provide nearly 20,000 student visits to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, and removed 5.8 million pounds of illegally dumped trash from Centre County watersheds through annually organized Watershed Cleanup Days.

“Jen has done an exceptional job of bringing together new stakeholders and supporters of conservation in our community,” says Steve Miller, the President of ClearWater’s board of directors. “Under her leadership, the organization has also seen a marked expansion of its financial capacity and overall fiscal health. She has built a strong foundation for future successes on the horizon.”

Shuey’s final day at ClearWater will be Arbor Day, April 24. A committee has been formed to oversee the organization’s leadership transition and conduct an open search for ClearWater Conservancy’s next executive director. Miller will serve as interim director.

 

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ClearWater Conservancy of Central Pennsylvania, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), Centre County based land trust and environmental conservation organization formed in 1980 with the mission of promoting the conservation and restoration of natural resources in central Pennsylvania through land conservation, water resource protection, and environmental outreach to the community. To learn more about ClearWater Conservancy, visit clearwaterconservancy.org.

2,164 children headed to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center through ClearWater Conservancy’s Spring 2015 ‘Connections’ Program

ClearWater Conservancy awarded $16,632 in funding through its “Connections” program for 2,164 students from 16 area public and private schools to take part in field trips this spring to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center in State College.

ClearWater’s long-standing “Students-Communities-Streams-Connections” program pays for transportation and admission to the nature center. At Millbrook Marsh, the children will learn about their local natural environment through interactive and hands-on outdoor activities and experiments. In all, the program has sponsored 19,805 student visits since 2000.

“Trained naturalists introduce them to the wetland and the habitat. Activities include discovery walks, educational activities on the trail, experiencing the marsh hands-on by using their senses, and lots of exploration and discovery,” said Molly Hetrick, recreational supervisor at Millbrook Marsh. “All the programs are designed based on the PA State Standards for Environment and Ecology and supplement the school district’s classroom lessons.”

Elementary and middle school students and their teachers received word about their grant awards in March.

The 2015 Connections program is made possible with donations from Wal-Mart Foundation, State of the Art, Inc. Harris Township Lions Club and the many donors who attended ClearWater’s For the Love of Art & Chocolate fundraising event this year.

Spring 2015 funding recipients include:

Bellefonte Area School District 

  • Bellefonte Elementary; teacher Staci Chapman; 59 kindergarten students at a cost of$613.00
  • Benner Elementary; teacher Pam Vaiana; 208 fourth-grade students at a cost of $2,656.00

Bald Eagle Area School District

  • Port Matilda Elementary; teacher Shawnee Morgan; 26 first-grade students at a cost of $352.00

Penns Valley Area School District

  • Centre Hall, Penns Valley & Rebersburg; teacher Ang Homan; 93 fourth-grade students at a cost of $976.00
  • Centre Hall, Penns Valley & Rebersburg; teacher Vickie Fultz; 99 first-grade students at a cost of $1,018.00
  • Centre Hall, Penns Valley & Rebersburg; teacher Heather Bird; 114 second-grade students at a cost of $1,123.00
  • Penn’s Valley High School; teacher Jessica Martin; 107 seventh-grade students at a cost of $1,337.00

Philipsburg Osceola Area School District

  • Phillipsburg Elementary; teacher Denise Putt, 40 second-grade students at a cost of$460.00
  • Phillipsburg Elementary; teacher Kerry Whitman, 45 second-grade students at a cost of $495.00

State College Area School District

  • State College Area Elementaries; teacher Deirdre Bauer; 990 kindergarten, first and second-grade students at a cost of $3,465.00 

Private Schools

  • The Bellefonte Playschool; teacher Lori Proper; 33 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $450.00.
  •  Cen-Clear Child Services, Inc.; teacher Amy Wible; 254 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $2,690.00.
  •  Grace Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten; teacher Anne Goodall; 8 kindergarten students at a cost of $176.00.
  •  Our Children’s Center Montessori; teacher Sarah Potter; 28 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $196.00.
  • State College Area Friends School; teacher Lynne Bradley; 29 pre-kindergarten students at a cost of $308.00.
  • State College Area Friends School; teacher Lisa Gamble; 31 kindergarten and first-grade students at a cost of $317.00.

Millbrook Marsh Nature Center offers a variety of programs, events, and activities to the community, in addition to leading school groups through educational field trips.  Learn more atwww.MyMillbrookMarsh.org

Daniel A. Devlin, PA State Forester and Director of the Bureau of Forestry will Deliver Keynote at Upper Delaware Council’s Event

Daniel A. Devlin, the Pennsylvania State Forester and Director of the Bureau of Forestry, will serve as keynote speaker at the Upper Delaware Council’s (UDC) 27th Annual Awards Ceremony on April 26 at Central House Family Resort in Beach Lake.

As Director of the Bureau of Forestry, Devlin has oversight responsibility for the management of 2.2 million acres of State Forest lands; forest fire management across the Commonwealth; forest insect & disease control and management; conservation of Pennsylvania’s native wild plants including the PA Natural Diversity Inventory; and promoting the conservation of all Pennsylvania’s forest land, both public and private.

Devlin previously worked as a Reservation Forest Manager for the USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs and as an Assistant State Forester and staff wildlife biologist for the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

He received a B.S. in Forest Science and a M.S. in Wildlife Management from the Pennsylvania State University.

The UDC’s April 26 banquet at 81 Milanville Road will begin at 3 p.m. with a reception offering appetizers and a cash bar. A buffet dinner will be served at 4 p.m.

Director Devlin will deliver his address at 5 p.m., immediately followed by the presentation of awards to those who have acted to enhance or protect the resources of the Upper Delaware River Valley.

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $26. Advance reservations are required by Friday, April 17.

For more information, please visit http://www.upperdelawarecouncil.org.

DCNR Bureau of Recreation & Conservation Reorganization

Bureau reorganization focuses on public needs, program areas

As DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation girds for a new round of annual grant applications, it’s doing so with a new lineup of staffing positions and duties that best meets the ever-changing needs of the public, its director says.

“The new organization will provide our grantees and the public with improved customer service,” said Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Director Lauren S. Imgrund. “It modernizes our structure and places staff resources in the program areas most important to the public: community parks, trails, land conservation and partnerships.”

“The bureau restructuring also provides improved points of contact and service for small communities, trail organizations and rivers. In addition, it directs resources to help communities with the process required for park and protected land conversions, and provides additional focus to DCNR’s federal funding, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Federal Recreational Trails Program.”

Imgrund said the bureau embarked on its recent reorganization with an eye to streamlining data reporting; emphasizing staff-level program management and policy development; improving career mobility within the bureau; and focusing on staff core-program responsibilities.

“The newly established series of responsibilities and titles more accurately affect the bureau’s work,” Imgrund said.

Why now?

“With any organization, it is important to periodically re-evaluate staff responsibilities and program areas,” the director said. “This assures that the organization is focusing its limited resources on the current public needs and program areas, and the public should appreciate desired effects, including staffing numbers and specialties.”

The director said the new organization focuses the bureau’s Central Office staff in the following program areas:

Community Parks and Recreation Section, with six staff members, will help communities plan and develop parks and natural areas;

Land Conservation and Stewardship Section, with three staff members, helps communities and land trusts conserve land, and assures projects DCNR invests in are not converted to non-recreation uses;

Trails, Greenways, and Statewide Planning, with three staff members, helps communities acquire, plan and develop trails and greenways and leads statewide planning efforts;

Landscape Partnerships and Educational Services, with four staff members, leads landscape partnerships, rivers and educational programs, and manages the Heritage Areas Program.

Imgrund noted as part of each of the above sections, one section chief and one program specialist have been assigned. They are: Community Parks and Recreation Section Chief Cindy Dunlap and Small Communities Program Specialist Beth Helterbran; Land Conservation and Stewardship Section Chief Ashley Rebert and Land Stewardship and Conversion Program Specialist Alex Tatanish; Trails, Greenways, and Statewide Planning Section Chief Alex Macdonald and Trails and Greenways Program Specialist Mark Hansford; and Landscape Partnerships and Educational Services Section Chief Mike Piaskowski and Rivers Conservation and Scenic Rivers Program Specialist Kelly Rossiter.

 

WREN Announces 2015 Source Water Protection Collaborative Grants

The Water Resources Education Network (WREN), a project of the League of Women Voters of PA Citizen Education Fund, is pleased to announce the availability of 2015 Source Water Protection Collaborative Grants. WREN hopes to inspire local leaders, communities and water systems to join together, and use common sense prevention measures and education as a powerful new approach to reduce threats to community drinking water.  Now is the time to gather your team, line-up local partners or county officials and join the cause  – create a great project with the support of a WREN grant.
Applications will be due March 20, 2015. Details, grant information and application forms are available at the WREN Source Water Protection Grants page: http://www.waterwisepa.org/grants/our-grants/source-water-protection-grants  Funded project activities are to take place July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016.

Tagged hawks move about Central and South America

Four broad-winged hawks tagged by scientists at Hawk Mountain and near its world-famous Sanctuary have been tracked more than 4,000 miles to Central and South America, and one is currently moving about central Brazil.

“We’re not sure if this is the beginning of a return migration or if she is just wandering, but we look forward to watching her journey and hope to see her return to Pennsylvania this spring,” says Dr. Laurie Goodrich who oversees the field research.

Last summer biologists tagged three juveniles and one adult broad-winged hawk during the pilot year of research. Telemetry signals stopped on one juvenile during September, but the other two juveniles born on Hawk Mountain migrated to southern Mexico and Panama. The two were last heard from in November, while “Abbo,” the adult, continues to make sporadic appearances on the radar each time she moves her location. Goodrich explains that the lack of a signal from the other birds is likely because the birds are in large tracts of thick, unbroken forest where the solar-powered transmitters don’t receive enough sunlight to recharge.

“We hope to hear from them again in spring when the birds start soaring, and eventually begin to migrate north,” says Goodrich, “but Abbo is checking in with us regularly.”

“Abbo” raised three young from a nest in New Ringgold, and was trapped by the team using mist netting. She was named by a donor who sponsored her telemetry unit at a cost of $5,000. After Abbo and her mate raised their young, she set off on her migration, traveling south through Central America to central Brazil. Here she was located south of the Amazon near a national park in late December, but in January, she began another movement back towards Peru. She now is in the great forested area of central Brazil in the state of Amazonas.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary launched the study of this iconic Pennsylvania raptor last year with support from the Kittatinny Coalition, Pennsylvania Game Commission, and several generous private donors, with the goal to learn more about the broadwing and its impressive long-distance migration as well as its nesting ecology. Each September large flocks of the small, soaring hawks gather in swirling “kettles” as they take advantage of energy-saving thermals, or rising columns of warm air. The broadwings follow the Appalachians south and build in numbers before funneling through Central America where nearly the entire world’s population will pass within a two-week timeframe. In April they return to Pennsylvania forests to raise their young and begin the cycle anew.

“Many birdwatchers make a special visit to Hawk Mountain in mid-September in hopes of seeing broadwings on the move,” says Goodrich. “If your timing is right, it’s an amazing sight to see.

The goal of the study is to use the popularity of this migration and the power of satellite telemetry to learn more about the conservation threats and habitat needs of this species year-round, and to track their movements from Pennsylvania nest sites to Central and South America in the fall, and back to Pennsylvania in the spring, and for up to two years. Findings will guide conservation efforts.

This summer, Hawk Mountain plans to tag up to eight more broadwings from nests along the Kittatinny Ridge and in the Delaware Water Gap area. To follow the work, visit www.hawkmountain.org/Broadwing to link to a dedicated Facebook page, blog and to learn more. Scientists also are in need of volunteers with a strong interest in bird watching to report any sightings of broadwing nests during May and June and donations of $100 to $5000 are needed to support field work, nest finding and telemetry, $5000 donors have the right to name a tagged bird. To learn more, please contact Dr. Goodrich atGoodrich@hawkmountain.org.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. It’s 2,500-acre Sanctuary is open to the public year-round, and funds from membership dues and trail admission directly supports its local-to-global research, training and education programs. To learn more, visit www.hawkmountain.org.

ClearWater Conservancy accepting applications for outdoor education grants until February 20

Educators at schools throughout Centre County can now apply for a grant that will provide a day of outdoor education for students in preschool through 7th grade in spring 2015.

Since 1997, ClearWater Conservancy’s Connection Project has funded trips to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center for students in schools throughout Centre County to provide watershed education in an outdoor setting. By reaching out to younger generations, ClearWater Conservancy hopes to teach children about the natural world, encourage them to take actions for conservation and inspire them to share what they learn with parents and friends.

With school budgets tight across the Commonwealth, this project provides children with a valuable outdoor educational experience they would not otherwise enjoy. Teachers can apply for grant funding and once approved, they will be able to schedule a field trip with the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. Eligible expenses include Millbrook Marsh Nature Center program fees and transportation costs. The simple two-page application and a post-field trip feedback form are available on ClearWater’s website. Grant recipients will be announced as soon as possible after the application deadline.

The Connections project is targeted to the five Centre County school districts–Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley, Philipsburg, and State College–as well as charter and private schools in Centre County. However, schools beyond Centre County may also apply for funding.

So far, ClearWater has raised the funds to send over 19,200 local students to Millbrook Marsh Nature Center for hands-on environmental education.

“Learning in an outdoor environment is great, and the students engaged with the teachers enthusiastically,” said Anne Houck, a teacher at Mountaintop Elementary School, Snow Shoe, after her class took part in Connections. “The nature walk through the marsh was filled with interesting facts, and the students especially enjoyed examining the living things that came from the stream.”

Applications will be accepted until February 20.

To apply or donate for this year’s trips, please contact Sarah Edge at sarah@clearwaterconservancy.org or visit www.clearwaterconservancy.org and navigate to Outreach.

Naturalist Training Program Seeks Participants in the Philadelphia area

In the Spring of 2015, the volunteer training program of Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is partnering with Friends of the Wissahickon to prepare citizens to become volunteer leaders in their communities through natural resource conservation education, citizen science, and stewardship. Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is a citizen volunteer initiative with three key components: an initial 55-hour volunteer training, annual volunteer service, and continuing education in the natural sciences.

Building Volunteer Leadership for Community-based Conservation

Master Naturalist volunteers design and pursue a wide variety of service projects from habitat restoration and native plantings, to nature walks and interpretative displays or publications on natural history, to water quality monitoring and supporting the natural resource conservation efforts of partnering organizations. Since 2010, Pennsylvania Master Naturalist volunteers in Southeastern Pennsylvania have:

  • engaged in more than 6,300 hours of conservation service
  • contributed $140,700 in conservation value and impact to numerous regional partners
  • reached over 9,000 people through education and outreach initiatives
  • improved 330 acres of habitat through stewardship service
  • dedicated themselves to 2,300 hours of continuing education in the natural sciences

Seeking New Applicants for Spring 2015

The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist natural history training includes 55 hours of classroom (weekday evenings) and field (Saturday) sessions and will be coordinated by the Friends of the Wissahickon in the spring of 2015.

The training will begin on April 6, 2015 and end on May 28, 2015. Classroom sessions will take place on most Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:00-8:30pm at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Field trips are scheduled on four Saturdays (4/11/15, 4/25/15, 5/9/15, 5/16/15) beginning at 9:00am and continuing through most of the day.

Individuals interested in the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Program in Philadelphia are invited to apply by February 17, 2015. Applications can be found on Pennsylvania Master Naturalist’s website at www.pamasternaturalist.org under “Become a Master Naturalist” and “2015 Training”.

Contact:          Andrea Stevens, Program Coordinator

progcoord@pamasternaturalist.org

(570) 764-7628

 

Allegheny Land Trust Closes on Fifth Property of the Year

On December 31, 2014, Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) closed on the 8.5-acre Fairhill Recreation Association project in Sewickley, making 2014 the first year in the organization’s 20-year history to acquire five properties in one calendar year.

ALT acquired 76 acres in 2014, and brought the organizations total protected green space to over 1,700 acres in Allegheny and Washington Counties. The land value of the 76 acres totaled about $1.4 million, of which $430,000 came from land donations.

“2014 was a banner year for us. We would not have been successful without the excellent collaboration with our volunteers, funders and partners,” ALT President & CEO Chris Beichner said. “I’m proud of the work our Board and staff has put in to advance our goals and to create beautiful, natural preserves for wildlife habitat, water management and passive recreational opportunities.”

Other green space protected by the land trust in 2014 includes a 9-acre parcel in Sewickley Borough, which protects an important headwater area; an 8.5-acre parcel in Richland Township; a strategic 2-acre parcel in Elizabeth Borough providing trail head access and road frontage for the Dead Man’s Hollow Conservation Area; and a 48-acre parcel in Sewickley Hills that expanded the Audubon Greenway Conservation Area linking Sewickley Hills Park to Sewickley Heights Park.

Though the land trust said they don’t expect to close on as many properties again in 2015, they have already made significant progress on two Sewickley-based projects that exceed the 2014 total protected acreage. One parcel includes 58-acres in Sewickley Heights Borough that would ultimately expand and become part of the borough’s park, and the other is a 30-acre parcel offered by Sewickley Borough that ALT was the successful bidder on.

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