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Your forest is part of something big. 

 Take a virtual tour of Bald Eagle Tree Farm for tips on         improving the health of Pennsylvania's woodlands. 

Your forest is working countless jobs...

 

Pennsylvania's forests are always working. They work together to form migratory routes for millions of animals. Forest cover works to cool and clean the air, keep soil in place and produce oxygen. Food, medicine and countless materials we need to survive and thrive also originate from the state's forests. And most of us know the feeling of being called to the woods to nourish our souls in natural beauty as we enjoy our favorite outdoor activities such as hunting and hiking. 

...and facing many threats.

 

A forest is unable to function naturally and maintain its health when diseases, non-native insects, and invasive plants disrupt the working relationship between wildlife, vegetation, water, and air. Also tipping the balance of these natural systems is forest fragmentation, where large forests are broken into smaller segments, often due to low intensity urban development. Many of these issues are present due to human activity, and it will take our help to manage them effectively.

 

There's a saying, "If you love your forest, don't leave it alone."

 

Over 70% (11.5 million acres) of Pennsylvania’s forests are privately owned woodlots, making woodland owners key to successful forest conservation. Many of these woodlots (63%) are less than 10 acres, so we need to work together to create real and lasting changes and shape the future of our forests. 

 
Shared landscapes call for shared action.

 

The Scotia Barrens Young Forest Initiative is part of ClearWater Conservancy's mission to ensure healthy forests and wildlife habitat. The main focus of this initiative is to foster stewardship across boundaries by identifying a common purpose, enhancing common knowledge, and promoting recognition of shared landscapes and the need for action.

Tour Bald Eagle Tree Farm, virtually.

 

To understand more about how to improve forest health and wildlife habitat, join us on a virtual tour of Bald Eagle Tree Farm owned by John Hoover. This 600-acre forest in Centre County, PA offers a unique opportunity to showcase a variety of forest management practices to increase diversity and benefit numerous wildlife species. The tour also includes information about where to start, how to find technical and financial assistance, and the importance of legacy planning.

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Bald Eagle Tree Farm is owned by John Hoover and located in Blanchard, PA, off PA-150 N between Lock Haven and Bellefonte.
Take a virtual video tour to learn more about what makes a forest healthy….

  • What to look for in the canopy and forest floor
     

  • How to identify & control weedy invaders
     

  • How to help declining songbirds
     

  • Why creating or restoring temporary ponds and other wet areas is important for woodland creatures

  •  How to provide additional support for wildlife

  • Where to get started and who can help answer your questions

Contact ClearWater Conservancy to discuss these topics and the management of your woodlot/forest: Email suzy@clearwaterconservancy.org or call us 814-237-0400

 

Take the video tour:

 

Forest Management, with Mike Eckley, Forester and Instructor PSU DuBois:
 

Understanding the current condition of your woodlot is an important first step to understanding potential opportunities for management.  This tour stop covers the initial conditions of the Bald Eagle Tree Farm and how he developed a forestry program to achieve his goals. Learn about key forest condition factors that help diagnose the best management practices for your woodlot.  Basic forestry concepts such as composition, structure, and regeneration will be defined and integrated into the field tour experience along with correlations with social, economic, and ecologic outputs.  Forest evaluation through the lens of forest health, sustainability, and wildlife habitat will also be discussed.

 

Identification and Control of Invasive Forest Plants with Dave Jackson, Forestry Educator, Penn State: 

Invasive plants grow rapidly, spread aggressively, and displace native plants and wildlife. They cause a decline in species diversity, inhibit regeneration success, slow natural succession, and degrade habitats. This stop will discuss why we should all be concerned about invasive plants, particularly if we are interested in wildlife. It will cover how to identify some of the most common invasive forest plants. And it will introduce you to various control measures used with a focus on herbicides.

 

Supporting Wildlife Habitats with Mark Banker, Wildlife Biologist:
 

Forests provide critical habitat for wildlife. This tour stop will review several of those habitats, as well as supplemental activities undertaken at Bald Eagle Tree Farm to provide additional support to minimize browse and other pressures on growing trees (e.g., food plots, apples, chestnuts).

 

Vernal Pool Habitats with Jim Julian, Ecological Program Specialist, DCNR:

 

Forests and vernal pools are the perfect combination for a wide variety of wildlife that depend on both habitats, including many Species of Concern like the Jefferson salamander. Private landowners can play a key role in conserving these vital habitats. At this stop we will talk about the different animals and plants residing in four restored vernal pools at Bald Eagle Tree Farm.

 

Forest Pollinators, with Ryan Davis, Chesapeake Forests Program Manager, Alliance for the Bay:

 

Loss of habitat is a major reason of pollinator decline, and native deciduous forests with young forest stands may play an important role in supporting many pollinator species. Learn about best management practices and other ways to restore habitat for these important native species.

 

Warbler Habitat Management with Josh Rittenhouse, Private Lands Forester:

 

Creating and maintaining diverse forest ages and structure provides a broad spectrum of habitat conditions. This tour stop will discuss how forests can be managed to help at-risk songbirds, like the golden-winged warbler and cerulean warbler.

 

Technical Assistance and Legacy Planning:

 

The state’s diverse natural resources provide lots of choices for people interested in conserving their land and improving its value for wildlife, water quality, forest health, and other natural benefits. There is a broad range of programs available to assist private landowners who are interested in conservation on their land, and these can range from simply converting a patch of lawn into a wildflower meadow for pollinators to whole-scale forest management techniques and site restoration.

Are you ready to take the next steps to manage your woods and forest? Please contact me, Suzy Yetter, ecologist with ClearWater Conservancy, to talk about your desires and goals and to start pulling together a plan that works for you. I’ll talk to you about different programs available to assist you both financially and technically and can help get the ball rolling. Or, if you’re simply looking for technical guides, workshops, or other information to help you work at your own pace, I can help you there, as well.

To learn more about available options, please contact me by email or phone, listed below. Or contact the experts featured here directly. We are so fortunate to live in an area that has so many different organizations out there to assist us, from Penn State Extension and the Center for Private Forests to the NRCS and County Conservation Districts, DCNR, PA Game Commission and Fish and Boat Commission, and, of course, nonprofit organizations like ClearWater Conservancy, Penns Valley Conservation Association and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. So please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here for you.

Call or email Suzy Yetter, ecologist at ClearWater Conservancy, for more information:
email: suzy@clearwaterconservancy.org or call: 814-237-0400. 

 
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Additional Resources

Additional Resources:

These resources may also be helpful as you learn more about forest management and work toward goals for your property:

1. Thinning Forests to Save the Birds, a video by USDA NRCS

2. Appalacian Mountains Joint Venture's Virtual Field Tours offers information about sustainable forest practices to improve and create wildlife habitat. The videos cover:

In this video by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), you'll hear from John Hoover and see the Blad Eagle Tree Farm during the harvesting of warbler blocks and building of vernal pools. Information about the need for creating multiple aged forests for golden-winged warblers and other birds is also provided.