Good Natured Pennsylvanians
Ryan Davis is the Pennsylvania Forest Program Manager for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Ryan’s role in the Alliance’s Forest Program is to increase the quantity and quality of forest cover across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and to educate residents and officials on the many values of forest resources.
His focus in Pennsylvania is on education and outreach programs, pollinators, forest management, riparian forest buffers, and upland reforestation.
“I am immensely lucky to work for the Alliance. I get to come up with creative solutions for conservation issues…not much is more satisfying than visiting a tree planting site and watching the trees get bigger each year.”
A Wilkes-Barre native, Ryan grew up in southeastern Virginia, surrounded by swamps, streams, woods, and ponds.
“As early as I can remember, my main interests revolved around catching critters, fishing, climbing trees, and generally just exploring little pockets of wilderness on my own,” Ryan says.
This early engagement in nature helped to solidify Ryan’s conservation ethic and set him on the trail he still walks today.
Ryan first got involved with the Alliance at a riparian forest buffer forum. The Alliance was “looking for someone to help with outreach and riparian forest buffers and I was looking for a job where I could think and act outside of the box,” he says. “The rest is history!”
Ryan’s passion for his work is fueled by a real understanding of ecosystem management.
Without forest cover, especially along streams, our way of life and how we plan our communities would be drastically changed. The forested areas along streams are called forested riparian buffers.
These wooded areas house pollinators, supply clean water and air, sequester carbon, and provide us with sustainable food and fiber.
Ryan currently lives in Lancaster, an area where farm fields dominate and the need for more forested areas are very real.
“It’s only logical to increase our forest cover in these areas, where it doesn’t make much sense to host other land uses anyway,” Ryan explains. “By reforesting our streamsides, we can have clean water, great wildlife habitat and fisheries, and the many other benefits of forests, without wasting space that we need to live and grow food.”
The Alliance works to increase the number of riparian buffers with an end goal of improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Ryan helps to plant thousands of trees throughout the year and works tirelessly to ensure the trees survive past the planting date and flourish into vibrant, healthy forests.
“I think what I have taken away the most from my work over the past few years has been about humans,” Ryan says. “It is easy to have a gloomy perspective on conservation these days, but I find that most people genuinely care and genuinely want to help. They just don’t know how to act, or where to begin, and that’s where we as conservation professionals come in. If we are to be successful in surmounting the conservation challenges ahead of us, we need to empower others to join us in the fight.”
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact us at email@example.com to nominate someone.