The Keystone Tree Fund helps plant trees to assist with water quality.
The Keystone Tree Fund helps plant trees to assist with water quality.
Creek, water, trees, mist, nature, forest. DCNR Logo. Text: resource
Newsletter of the Pa. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
March 31, 2021
Tree, plant, field, outside, grass, leaves.
Featured in Our Good Natured Blog
Support Tree Planting Along Streams and in Communities
There’s now a way to donate to planting trees along streams and in communities!
The newly established Keystone Tree Fund can accept direct donations of any size, as well as receiving $3 donations when you renew your driver’s license or vehicle registration.
“Across the commonwealth, we are seeing growing understanding and interest in planting trees as a natural solution to many issues -- for climate resilience, improving water and air quality, and helping with flooding,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “The Keystone Tree Fund gives everyone the opportunity to support that work.” Read more...
Man, women, people, outside, plants, notebook, pencil, hat, maks.
DCNR Announces Operational Changes at State Parks and Forests
DCNR announced an upcoming return of outdoors programming at state parks and expansion of occupancy limits within park and state forest buildings, effective Sunday, April 4.
This is in line with Governor Tom Wolf’s latest orders intended to prevent the spread and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
“This and other operational changes follow Department of Health guidelines while broadening the enjoyment of state park and forests visitors. Since the pandemic’s outset we kept our lands open to all so that people can safely enjoy outdoor recreation to maintain positive physical and mental health,” Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said.
State park and forest visitor centers, offices, theaters, and interpretive wings will return to an occupancy limit of 75 percent. Volunteer work days are also permitted to resume. Read more
Person, outdoors, hat, jacket
Good Natured Pennsylvanians
Claire Jantz is a founding member and Chair of the Friends of Michaux State Forest, working with DCNR to protect more than 85,500 acres of public land.
She was awarded the 2020 Spirit of South Mountain Award, given for her work that has made a big impact in advancing a positive and sustainable future for the South Mountain landscape.
As a professor in the Geography-Earth Science Department at Shippensburg University she teaches introduction to sustainability, urban geography, biogeography, and land use.
Claire works to ensure her students understand the importance and significance of public lands -- for people, flora and fauna, and healthy ecosystems.
“I also want them to see that successful conservation is a collaborative process and requires people from different perspectives working together towards a common goal,” Claire says -- something she does regularly.
Claire also serves on multiple South Mountain Partnership committees, the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy board, is a supporter of the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council; and is a member of the Rotary Club of Shippensburg, Borough of Shippensburg Zoning Hearing Board, and Shade Tree Commission.
Living close to the forest, it’s easy for Claire to head into the woods to hike and bike.
Trips to Michaux, and a connection to the area’s history, culture, scenic beauty, and its role in supporting globally important ecosystems has become an important part of her life.
Claire wanted to give back to this public resource and answered the call from the Pennsylvania Parks and Forest Foundation to form a Friends Group.
“I personally love doing anything related to outreach and education, so I’ve really enjoyed organizing and attending our “Hike through…” programs where we learn from local experts about different aspects of the forest,” Claire says. “I am also really excited that we will soon be launching a volunteer stewardship program.”
Members take on a wide variety of tasks with much time devoted to picking up litter and holding organized litter pickups.
Other projects include sign painting, building habitat boxes, and helping to maintain the shooting range.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Claire says. “We have learned so much about the forest from the rangers and other DCNR staff, and from other Friends Group members, it has made me appreciate Michaux State Forest even more.”
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact us at ra-resource@pa.gov to nominate someone.

Also in the News

Man, kneeling, indoor, plants,garden.
Economic Impact Spotlight: Forest Buffer Effort Grows More Than Streamside Plantings
In its simplest sense, DCNR’s Forest Buffer Program seeks to improve water quality by planting greenery along streams and rivers. But so much more goes into this widening effort than growing new trees, shrubs, and grasses.
Before these eventual streamside forests achieve their intended goal of filtering potential pollutants and fortifying streambanks against erosion, they need help. Lots of help.
Essential are the legions of volunteers answering the call to plant; the conservancies, contractors, and landowners supporting them; and DCNR, which aids all through grants and technical expertise.
And then there are the specialized local nurseries, supplying planting stock that will not only survive but thrive in its carefully selected environs.
The Forest Buffer Program grows more than streamside plantings, it nourishes the business of nurseries offering select stock.
Businesses like the Kirkwood, Lancaster County-based Octoraro Native Plant Nursery, where owner Jim MacKenzie points proudly to a 31-year history “of growing plants for sustainable landscapes and service to our customers.” Read more
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Almost 5,000 Historical Photographs Available on New Geologic Survey Collection
The Pennsylvania Geologic Survey’s historical photograph collection is now available in a new and updated format. The public can continue to search, view, and download photographs from the bureau’s collection -- of which there are more than 4,600.
The Historical Photographs collection includes photographs taken by bureau geologists and staff dating as far back as the 1920s.
Photographs depict a wide range of topics, including geologic features, cities and towns, and the state’s quarrying, mining, and oil and gas industries.
Browse the collection and look back to see how Pennsylvania’s landscape has changed over the years, and to see some of the quarries, mines, and oil wells that helped to shape Pennsylvania’s economy in the 20th century.
Man, outside, grass, safty vest, litter, pick up, road
Pick Up Pennsylvania to Give Back to Parks and Forests
Everyone wants to live, work, and play in a clean and green community -- and it’s up to everyone to make it possible and improve the overall quality of life for us all.
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to participate in Pick Up Pennsylvania -- a campaign of community cleanups running through May 31 -- cleaning up litter and trash along our roadsides, streams, beaches, parks, forests, and neighborhoods.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful coordinates the litter cleanup campaign and volunteering is easy.
People can organize their own local event and register it at Pick Up Pennsylvania or can sign up to participate in an already registered event. Gloves, trash bags, and safety vests are provided.
Register Now for a Virtual Introduction to Climate Change
You may be hearing more and more about climate change lately. How does this topic make you feel? Are you concerned? Afraid? Do you want to know more?
Join the Presque Isle State Park naturalists on Friday, April 2 at 1:00 P.M. for a virtual introduction to climate change.
The program will explore what climate change means as it relates to both the scientific community and people in general.
Please register online by Wednesday, March 31.
People, outside, trees, forest, trail, bridge, steps, mountain.
Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps Making a Difference in the PA Wilds
The Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps program plays an important role in helping steward public spaces, while creating meaningful job opportunities for young people in rural communities, just like the CCC did generations ago.
Members experience diverse, ever-changing work environments and are given the training to carry on the skills they learn.
Over the years, members have worked on projects such as trail building, constructing kiosks, building, and repairing benches as well as more complicated projects, like masonry, building suspension bridges, and replacing other worn out infrastructure.
The Pennsylvania Wilds region is home to the greatest concentration of public lands in the commonwealth.
Learn more about the Outdoor Corps in a recent blog post, and how they are impacting an area with more public land than Yellowstone National Park.
You can also see the corps in action, as well as hear about members’ experiences in a new video from the PA Wilds Center.
Bird, tree, forest, woods, animal, hawk, branch.
Spring Hawk Watch Begins April 1 at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Hawk Mountain invites visitors to look for returning raptors and other migrants during its annual Spring Hawk Watch, held daily from Thursday, April 1 through Saturday, May 15, from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., at the Sanctuary’s famous North Lookout.
The sanctuary has monitored the spring raptor migration since the 1960s and reports an average of about a thousand raptors each season.
In conjunction with the count, international trainee-run spring weekend programs also begin on the first and are held every Saturday and Sunday throughout the count, including the live raptor program, Raptors Up Close!
Trail fees apply for non-members and cost $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. Tickets can be purchased online.
Bird, branches, tree, outside, brush, pile. Text: Conservation Tip
Spring is the time when most people begin their yard clean ups. Many will burn downed tree limbs, leaves, and other debris; however, the greatest danger of wildfires in Pennsylvania occurs during the spring months of March, April, and May.
Ninety-nine percent of Pennsylvania wildfires are caused by people, and in most cases, it is from debris burning.
Check out some alternatives to burning debris:
  • Re-use it -- Mulch leaves and twigs with a lawnmower to return nutrients to the grass, and lay mulch in your yard with dried grass or pine needles.
  • Break it down -- Borrow or rent a chipper to break down leaves and branches which also can be used as mulch to retain soil moisture and control weeds.
  • Compost -- Compost grass clippings, leaves, branches, and food scraps in a container or on the ground to break down naturally into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
  • Home for wildlife -- Stack your debris into a strategic pile for wildlife habitat -- birds, small mammals, and other wildlife store food in brush piles and use them for shelter.
  • Spread it around -- If you have wooded property past your lawn, you can spread leaves and branches around on the ground in those areas as well.
Flower, petals, ground, leaves, outdoors, leaves. Text: Upcoming Events
Now that the weather is warming up, it’s a perfect time to start exploring state parks and forests.
Here are some upcoming opportunities to view wildlife, see signs of spring, and more:
Check the DCNR calendar of events for additional virtual events in state parks and forests.

Featured Photo

ANewt, outdoors, water, leaves, ground, forest floor.
A red spotted newt emerges from the cold spring waters of a vernal pool as the sun sets in Tuscarora State Forest.

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