April 12, 2024

Forest Fridays: The promise of spring

Our recent March and early April “yo-yo” weather pattern has me admittedly yearning for brighter, warmer days. Like the emerging leaves, I must be patient; jumping the gun won’t work out in the long run. A prime example is the magnolia in the side yard, whose blooms almost always get zapped by frost. Timing is everything, so they say.

April 10, 2024

Is it ever okay to take a souvenir from nature?

You're on a walk, and you see a beautiful empty robin’s blue eggshell. The bird has already hatched, and the shell is just sitting on the forest floor. You're a gatherer of beautiful things, and this pretty eggshell would be perfect for your collection. The question is, is it really harmful to take just one object from nature? Let’s find out together, exploring what the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace say about removing things from where you found them in nature.

April 4, 2024

Happy Earth Month! Here are some ways to celebrate, big and small

Happy Earth Month! If you are looking for some ideas to celebrate, we have you covered! From volunteering at a state park or forest event, to making a small donation when you renew your vehicle registration, it all makes a difference! Here are some ideas to celebrate and help care for our planet.

March 29, 2024

Forest Fridays: Bountiful brooks

Spring is here and tomorrow’s youth opener begins another season of trout fishing in Pennsylvania. It seems as good a time as any to talk about our state fish, the brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). Few creatures provide a more awe-inspiring sight than the incredible brook trout. Displaying a carnival of colors, brookies may be small, but they are mighty. Pound for pound, they put up a fight on a taut line as vigorous as any fish of pugilistic repute.

March 28, 2024

The joys of volunteering (and how you can volunteer in the PA Wilds!)

The benefits of volunteering are incredible, and it’s well worth it to make some time in your life to give back as a volunteer. You can help worthwhile causes, be a good steward of local lands, change things to be more equitable and accessible, build a sense of community, and help others discover why you’re so passionate about the things that are important to you. Learn the many benefits of volunteering, as well as specific ways you can give back in the PA Wilds! Check at the bottom of this blog to hear directly from volunteers in the PA Wilds region.

March 26, 2024

BIRD LORE: Baby bird season – Please don’t kidnap the babies!

Spring has arrived, with its joyous symphony of birdsong, spectacular migrations, and feverish nest building. Soon a new generation of baby birds will hatch. If all goes well, by summer’s end these new birds will be ready to join their parents on the next cycle of migration or preparations to survive the winter locally. But sometimes young birds end up on the ground or caught by domestic pets. What should humans do (or not do!) when this happens?

February 29, 2024

How to watch the solar eclipse the Leave No Trace way

On April 8, 2024, parts of the world will experience a total solar eclipse... including a small part of the northwestern section of the PA Wilds region! This includes places like Warren and the Allegheny Reservoir, along with parts of Warren County and McKean County. It is essential to follow these Leave No Trace guidelines when checking out the eclipse so that we can enjoy the view and protect ourselves and the outdoors while we do it.

February 22, 2024

Protect PA Wilds waterways; use caution when removing ice or snow

In large doses, many popular snow and ice removal methods can be harmful to wildlife, plants, streams, and rivers. The PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Chesapeake Bay Program give tips on how you can still remove ice from outdoor surfaces while being cautious about how it might affect the waterways and wildlife.

February 20, 2024

BIRD LORE: Birding without bells and whistles

For non-birders, and those just getting interested in birds, the idea of spending a lot of money on a pair of nice binoculars and a fancy Peterson’s Guide and learning how to tell eight different kinds of sparrows apart can seem intimidating. Here are some simple ways to identify common birds without binoculars, using indicators like shapes, colors, behaviors, and habitat.

February 1, 2024

Trails at Jakes Rocks named as Pennsylvania’s 2024 Trail Of The Year

The Trails at Jakes Rocks, a 35-mile natural surface trail system located in the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County, has been named Pennsylvania’s 2024 Trail of the Year. The trails, located in the Allegheny National Forest and Surrounds landscape of the PA Wilds, are used primarily for mountain biking. However, other types of recreation such as hiking, trail running, and cross-country skiing are also permitted.