March 10, 2023

Spring is around the corner… time to jump in the (vernal) pool!

As days begin to lengthen and thoughts turn to spring, one of the earliest signs of the forest reawakening are the sights and sounds around vernal pools. Vernal pools appear as small dry depressions and damp spots in the forest in August and September, but slowly fill with fall rains and winter snow, setting the stage in late winter and early spring for an often raucous “pool party" with salamanders and frogs.

February 28, 2023

The Allegheny National Forest celebrates 100 years

With the simple stroke of a pen 100 years ago, President Calvin Coolidge signed a proclamation establishing the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). Thanks to President Coolidge and several other U.S. Presidents, you, me and many others get to enjoy the wonder of it all. The journey that moment in 1923 to now has been long and difficult, with hard work throughout the ANF's history.

February 24, 2023

Help track wild turkey populations

Have you seen a group of turkeys on your last hike? Or maybe you just spotted them crossing the road on your commute to or from work? By simply reporting those turkey sightings to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, you can help track wild turkey populations and gather necessary data. You are encouraged to report any turkeys observed until March 15 and submit it to the PA Game Commission's online form.

February 15, 2023

Why “Leaving No Trace” means caring for our PA Wilds

As you’re enjoying the Pennsylvania Wilds region, whether you live here or are traveling through the area, you'll notice the vast amount of public lands and green spaces that make it so... well, wild! It can be easy to take all of this land for granted, but caring for our PA Wilds is an easy way that we can ensure that we (and other people around us) have a positive experience while also preserving these wild areas. Leave No Trace is an organization that helps promote minimal environmental impact practices.

February 10, 2023

Stop calling me names!

Most natural resource professionals remember their early days of learning to name plants and trees, first learning the common names and then advancing to scientific names. Common names are the source of much confusion and frustration, especially when they don’t seem to make any sense. Ryan Reed lists of some examples of trees with common names that are confusing, questionable, or downright misleading.

February 8, 2023

What’s the difference between a DCNR ranger and a state park manager?

The Pennsylvania Wilds encompasses over 2 million acres of public lands, which are protected and set aside for citizens and visitors to enjoy. The region boasts 29 state parks and eight state forests, which are operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. One common question many travelers have is, "What exactly is the difference between a DCNR ranger and a state park manager?"

January 27, 2023

The incredible snowflake

Have you ever stopped to wonder how many individual snowflakes you might be gazing at when you admire a snow-covered hillside? Both individually and collectively, snowflakes are amazing works of nature.

January 20, 2023

Winter tree ID sleuthing

Winter is a wonderful time to get out and identify Pennsylvania’s forest trees but can present some challenges. For instance, one of the easiest ways to tell a red oak from a red maple is leaf shape, but autumn has stolen that “easy button” from would-be tree detectives. There are still plenty of large clues to narrow down the list of 134 possible native trees to just a few.

January 11, 2023

BIRD LORE: Birds and pollution

Birds seem to be all around us. We don’t really understand how hard it is for birds to navigate their world, or how much human activity has made this navigation more difficult. Like people, birds are very susceptible to the effects of pollution in their environment.

January 3, 2023

Recycling and giving your real Christmas tree a new purpose

When the holidays are over, don’t throw your real Christmas tree out with the trash -- recycle it! The Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources (DCNR) says you can give your old Christmas tree new life, even after the pine needles are starting to fall off of it.