Hawk Mountain reports a rarity for raptor research

A turkey vulture trapped and tagged with a satellite telemetry unit in 2004 by Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was recently re-sighted more than a decade later and with its transmitter still working.

“The units we use are estimated to work anywhere from three to five years, so this one is a real overachiever,” jokes Dr. Keith Bildstein, the Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science at Hawk Mountain. He also says the bird is being monitored as part of a long-term study on the movements of scavenging raptors, birds that are little studied but play critical roles in the ecosystem.

The vulture in question is named Irma Broun in honor of the Sanctuary’s first volunteer, the wife of its first ornithologist Maurice Broun, and was trapped and tagged in August 2004 by Sanctuary Graduate Student Jamie Mandel at a garbage dump in Penn Argyl.

“Working with a veterinarian, we placed a data logger in the bird’s body cavity to record core body temperature and heart rate. It meant that we would need to recapture the bird the following year to extract the logger and download the data to learn how turkey vultures use and save energy during migration,” explains Bildstein.

Despite many efforts, the bird was never caught although both the turkey vulture and the tracking device are still ticking more than 10 years later. The finding and re-sighting is outlined on the latest Sanctuary blog, The Vulture Chronicles athawkmountain.wordpress.com.

Pending a sponsor, the next step will be an attempt to re-trap the bird, secure the data logger, and attach a new telemetry unit. Units cost on average $5,000 for the device and data downloads. To sponsor, call Dr. Bildstein at 570-943-3411 x108.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world’s first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. Learn more at www.hawkmountain.org.


PennFuture announces Larry Schweiger as new president and CEO Experienced leader

PennFuture announced today the appointment of Larry J. Schweiger as president and CEO of the statewide environmental advocacy organization after a four-month national search. He succeeds Cindy Adams Dunn, who left the organization in January to assume the role of Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

“We’re thrilled that Larry is willing and eager to lead PennFuture at this critical juncture for energy and the environment in Pennsylvania,” said David Lane, chair of PennFuture’s board of directors. “His depth and breadth of experience on these issues is unparalleled and he retains a passion and commitment for the work we do that is second to none. He is an environmental and climate champion for our times and ready for the challenges, and opportunities, that lie ahead.”

Schweiger comes to PennFuture after ten years at the helm of the National Wildlife Federation, where he led the organization’s four million members and supporters and 47 state and territorial affiliates. He is a past president and CEO of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, held a key leadership role at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and served as Executive Secretary of a bipartisan environmental committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Pittsburgh-area native is an author, national speaker and highly-regarded nature photographer, creating resonant images of, among other things, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, tar sands mining, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He is an avid fresh and saltwater angler, boater and canoeist.

“America works best when we work together,” said Schweiger. “Clean energy, natural resource protection and a safe environment are not partisan issues, rather, they touch us all. I am committed to helping give these issues the priority they deserve here in Pennsylvania. PennFuture has long been mindful of the impact of its efforts on this and future generations and it’s the lens through which we will continue to view all our efforts.”

PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998 with offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre. PennFuture’s activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state, and federal courts; advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level; public education; and assisting citizens in public advocacy.


WPC Expands Natural Area in Slippery Rock and Enhances Forested Views Along the GAP

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has permanently protected two important natural areas, conserving a total of 87 acres in Butler and Somerset counties this month.

On June 17, 39 acres adjacent to the Conservancy’s 202-acre Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area, a site known for its spectacular display of wildflowers along its hiking trail, were protected. This purchase is the fifth addition to the Conservancy’s Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area in Slippery Rock Township, Butler County, since its original acquisition in 1979. The property features forestland, a priority stream and habitat for a number of species. There also are plans, contingent on funding, to construct a new trail. View the full press release on our website.

The Conservancy has also protected approximately 48 acres near the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail in Upper Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. The property, which fronts a portion of the Casselman River, protects wildlife habitat and forested views along the GAP, one of the Laurel Highlands’ top recreational and tourist attractions. Kayakers and canoeists can view and experience the conserved property via the six-mile-long Casselman River Water Trail. The Conservancy has an established history in and commitment to protecting land in the Laurel Highlands, with nearly 83,000 acres conserved since 1951.


North Branch Land Trust Protects the 3053-Acre Mocanaqua

From left to right: Mark Van Loon- Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, Tanya Garrity - RJG, Joe Stine - DCNR, Audrey Broucek - DCNR, Nick Lylo – DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Paul Lumia - NBLT, Mike Dziak - Earth Conservancy, Jeff Shaw - Earth Conservancy, Brian Stahl – Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, Rylan Coker - NBLT

From left to right: Mark Van Loon- Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, Tanya Garrity – RJG, Joe Stine – DCNR, Audrey Broucek – DCNR, Nick Lylo – DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Paul Lumia – NBLT, Mike Dziak – Earth Conservancy, Jeff Shaw – Earth Conservancy, Brian Stahl – Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, Rylan Coker – NBLT

North Branch Land Trust (NBLT), working in partnership with the property owner Earth Conservancy, The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) – Recreation and Conservation Division and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, recently closed on the purchase of the 3053 acre Mocanaqua Highlands. The property is situated east of the town of Mocanaqua and borders the Susquehanna River to the north and Lily Lake to the south.

Due to the properties abundance of unique plant and animal species, scenic view-sheds and existing greenway and trail network, it is listed as a high priority area for conservation in the Land Trusts Strategic Conservation Plan, the Lackawanna & Luzerne Counties Open Space, Greenways & Outdoor Recreation Master Plan, and the Luzerne County Natural Areas Inventory.

To ensure that the property is protected in perpetuity from any future development, NBLT partnered with the Earth Conservancy in applying for a DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Grant in early 2013. The grant was awarded in 2014 as part of the DCNR Enhance Penn’s Woods Program – a two-year initiative to repair and improve Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests. Funding for these grants comes from Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund (Key93), the Environmental Stewardship Fund, the Growing Greener Bond Fund and federal funding sources.

After purchasing the property NBLT deeded it over to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and the property is now part of the Lackawanna State Forest system. The property will be available for public recreation activities such as hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, hunting and other activities as designated by the Bureau.

NBLT looks to partner with conservation minded organizations to achieve its conservation goals in northeastern Pennsylvania. To that end NBLT looks to future partnerships with Earth Conservancy, PA Bureau of Forestry, and other state and local conservation organizations interested in protecting our regions natural assets.

NBLT Executive Director Paul Lumia stated that partnering with Earth Conservancy is a good fit for NBLT and its regional conservation mission. Earth Conservancy is a nonprofit organization with a mission to reclaim and return thousands of acres of former coal company-owned land to the region. It collaborates with local communities, government agencies, education institutions, and the private sector to spearhead the creation and implementation of plans that restore the land’s economic, recreation, residential and ecological value.

The mission of the North Branch Land Trust is to work in partnership with landowners and their communities to conserve the scenic, natural and working landscapes in Northeastern Pennsylvania that sustain us. For more information about the North Branch Land Trust contact the land trust at info@nblt.org.

Lancaster Farmland Trust Invited to Testify Before Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry

Karen Martynick, Executive Director of Lancaster Farmland Trust, will offer testimony on Thursday, June 11, at 10 a.m. before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry. The topic will be implementation of conservation programs in the Agricultural Act of 2014; specifically, Martynick will present comments regarding the interim final rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
Lancaster Farmland Trust leads the nation in farmland preservation and the Land Trust Alliance asked Martynick to testify. The Alliance represents more than1,100 member land trusts supported by more than five million members nationwide.
As a private, nonprofit land trust, Lancaster Farmland Trust has utilized funding from the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program and currently has two projects pending under the ACEP program. Martynick’s comments will include suggestions to improve the program and increase the ability of the Trust and other land trusts to carry out the goals of the program.
You may watch and listen online via live video and audio feed here: http://agriculture.house.gov/news/live-audiovideo

Go Mobile!

AppEmailHeader-1024x422In 2014, Natural Lands Trust and The Trustees of Reservation collaborated to create a mobile app that offers an interactive guide to our preserved lands.

The app, available for iOS and Android devices, provides interactive trail maps, easy ways for users to find properties nearby, dynamic directions, details about each property, built-in social media sharing, event listings, and more.

NLT is pleased to make the app available to other conservation groups around the country.

The app was built from the ground up so that it could be customized with the brand and content of other organizations at a fraction of the cost of building an app from scratch.

Visit here to learn more about the app.  Or download a version in the Google Play Store or the App Store.

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity to bring this app to your organization, contact:
Oliver Bass
Natural Lands Trust
610-353-5587 x244

– See more at: http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/go-mobile/#sthash.eJr6N0KM.dpuf

Get Outdoors PA Partners Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day on June 13th 

Get Outdoors PA is partnering with community partners statewide to celebrate its two-year anniversary on the weekend of National Get Outdoors Day – June 13th. Get plugged into the adventure and fun by visiting our calendar at GetOutdoorsPA.org and finding a guided program near you! You can try a hike and bike program with the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails, flat water kayaking at a Memorial Lake State Park or an “Outdoors for Everyone” day, which includes orienteering, fishing, hiking and cycling at Prince Gallitzin State Park.

Today seven organizations–PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PA Fish and Boat Commission, PA Game Commission, PA Department of Health, PA Recreation and Park Society, PA Land Trust Association and PA Parks and Forests Foundation– manage the program for an ever-growing number of community partners. Their partnership with local non-profits, such as conservation organizations and park and recreation departments, is the key to the program’s success. These community partners are offering programs locally that follow a Get Outdoors PA model and are promoted on GetOutdoorsPA.org. With almost 100 community partners statewide, you’re sure to find a Get Outdoors PA program near you! With almost 100 community partners statewide, Get Outdoors PA is sure to offer programs near you!

Visit GetOutdoorsPA.org today to plan your outdoor activities for the weekend of June 13th!

John Quigley Confirmed by Senate as DEP Secretary

John H. Quigley was confirmed as the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on June 3.

From 2009 to 2011, Quigley served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Prior to his appointment as secretary, Quigley worked for DCNR in several capacities, including overseeing strategic initiatives and operations, and as chief of staff.

Quigley has had a diverse career in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors, including eight years as the mayor of the City of Hazleton, government relations manager with Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future, and management positions with industry-leading companies.

Quigley’s diverse career in the nonprofit, public and private sectors has made him a sought-after expert by industry, government and non-profit leaders across the United States and abroad.


Russell Redding Confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture

Governor Tom Wolf nominated Russell C. Redding to serve as the 26th Secretary of Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in January 2015, and was confirmed by the Senate on May 14, 2015. Redding is the former dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College.

Redding has extensive experience as a public servant, having spent more than 20 years serving Pennsylvania in Harrisburg and Washington D.C. He worked on Capitol Hill as Ag Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and served for 16 years in the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, serving as secretary from 2009-2011 under Governor Rendell.

He is a graduate of Penn State, having earned his B.S. in Agriculture Education and M.S. in Agriculture and Extension Education. In addition, he is a graduate of the Agribusiness Executive program.

A native of Pennsylvania, Redding has an innate understanding of production agriculture, stemming from his youth on his family’s dairy farm and his time as a dairy farm operator. He currently serves as Chair of the USDA Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture.

Russell, his wife Nina and sons Garrison and Elliot reside in the Gettysburg area, where the family is active in the community, their church and the local 4-H Club.

DCNR secretary unanimously confirmed by Pennsylvania Senate

DCNR secretary unanimously confirmed by Pennsylvania Senate
Cindy Adams Dunn, appointed by Governor Tom Wolf in January to the post of secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, has been confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate in a unanimous vote.

Dunn is the sixth secretary to head DCNR in its nearly 20-year history.

The Senate also confirmed secretaries of the departments of State, Banking & Securities, and Human Services.

“I commend the Senate for their action in confirming a stellar group of public servants during today’s hearings,” said Gov. Wolf.  “The unique qualifications and skills of these leaders, combined with deep experience in state government, make Secretary Pedro Cortés, Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary Robin Wiessmann, and Secretary Ted Dallas valuable assets to my administration. I am confident that they will perform to the highest standards and am very glad to have them on board.”

Prior to her appointment, Dunn served as President and CEO of PennFuture, a statewide environmental organization. Previously, she served as DCNR’s Deputy Secretary of Conservation and Technical Services. In that capacity, she led DCNR’s Conservation Landscape program and oversaw the community conservation partnerships grant program, which provides $30-$60 million annually for conservation and recreation throughout the Commonwealth.

Dunn’s leadership posts over more than a decade at DCNR include oversight of the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation as well as the Office of Communications, Education and Partnerships.

Prior to joining DCNR, Dunn served as the executive director of Audubon Pennsylvania from 1997-2003, and was the Pennsylvania program director for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for 10 years.

Dunn holds a master’s degree in biology from Shippensburg University.


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