News from AMWA

Workshops, Picnics, Forestry News, and More!
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2018 AMWA Program Updates

We're finally moving on membership renewals and have firmed up plans for this year's programs. We will be sending out membership renewals next week. A list of our workshops for 2018:
  • Saturday, April 21: Chainsaw Safety Workshop to be conducted by Bob Wetzel of the Bureau of Forestry. There will be a classroom component at the Ebensburg Borough meeting room, and the hands-on session at the Ron Vena farm (Munster Road just off 22)
  • Saturday, June 16: : "Lyme Disease, A Danger for Anyone Who Works, or Plays Outdoors" at the annual meeting/picnic to be conducted by Tom Ford, Cooperative Extension educator. This will be at the Yahner Farm.
  • Saturday, September 15: Riparian Buffers (possible topic). Note: This will be presented by Ryan Davis who is the Chesapeake Forests Program Director with the Alliance for the Bay. He offers an array of relevant topics, and we are awaiting more member feedback before committing to that topic*
For 2019:
April 2019: Vernal Pools by JoAnn Albert of the PA Natural Heritage Program
* Other possible topics offered by Ryan Davis include:
  • Do-It-Yourself Forest Management (Note: He explained that he focuses on those with small properties, the ones would not likely go the stewardship plan route, but would like to learn and do many of the same things)
  • Forested Streamside Buffers: Not Just for the Bay! (about how riparian forest buffers are beneficial for wildlife habitat, native flora and fauna, healthier ecosystems, and improved property while also improving water downstream)
  • Pollinator Habitat Restoration
  • How to Provide Wildlife Habitat on Any Property
  • The Importance of Working Lands for Wildlife
  • Trees for Trout: The Importance of Forests for Coldwater Fishes
  • Bat Conservation 

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view with your questions, comments, or feedback on workship topics!

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Program #1, 2017: Sourcing Native Appalachian Medicinal Forest Plants

The Allegheny Mountain Woodland Association invites you to attend its first program of 2017, The Roots of Appalachia: Sourcing Natititive Appalachian Medicinal Forest Plants. This program is open for registration until May 10. Please review the attached PDF file -Medicinal Forest Plants - for more information and a registration form.

Location: Ebensburg Borough Building, 300 West High Street, Ebensburg, PA. The outdoor session will take place at a nearby woodlot.

Date: Saturday, May 13, 2017

Schedule: Morning (classroom) Program - 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM; Lunch - Noon to 1:00 PM; Afternoon (outdoor) Program - 1:00 to 3:30 PM

Cost: $20 (AMWA members - $15)

Lunch: Pizza will be served (included in registration fee)

Refreshments: Coffee and snacks will be available during the morning session.

More information: Call 472-8560 (Noll’s Forestry). Morning of the program call 244-1898

Presenter: Eric Burkhart, PhD, an ethnobotanist interested in the husbandry, conservation and quality in native Appalachian medicinal forest plants. His work is focused on developing sustainable medicinalcrop management and production systems in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region through agroforestry and plant husbandry practices.

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Reading the Forest

The Allegheny Mountain Woodland Association invites you to attend its final program of 2016, Reading the Forest. This program, which will be cohosted by the Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry, is currently open for registration. Please review the attached PDF file - Reading the Forest - for more information and a registration form.

Location: Queen of Peace Church, Patton, PA

Date: Saturday, September 10, 2016

Time: 9:00 AM - Noon

Cost: $10 (AMWA members - $5)

More information: Click on Reading the Forest or call 814-487-5786

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Pollinator Symposium

The Allegheny Mountain Woodland Association invites you to attend a Pollinator Symposium, its first educational event of 2016. This symposium will be cohosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners of Cambria County. Click here for a brochure and registration form (PDF).

Location: Ebensburg Borough Building Meeting Room - 300 W. High St., Ebensburg

Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016

Time: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (registration begins at 8:30 AM)

Cost: $15 (AMWA members and Master Gardeners - $10)


The symposium will provide a broad overview of the significance of pollinators in the landscape, garden, orchard, and woods.

The program begins with a detailed look at the role of mason bees in the orchard. This will be followed by a presentation on monarch butterflies, including their significance in the environment and threats to their populations. The program will conclude with an examination of pollinators in the woods and garden. Strategies for protecting pollinators will be discussed, and participants will learn how to receive certification for their gardens as pollinator friendly.

The Pollinator Symposium presenters include Sarah Shugrue, Mary Cunkleman, and Connie Schmotzer.

Pre-registration is required, and only 60 slots are available. The cost is $15 ($10 for current AMWA members and Master Gardeners). The registration deadline is March 25th.

Coffee, snacks, and lunch are provided and included with the registration fee.

Please call 814-472-8560 (Noll’s Forestry) to register and for more information. 

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Invasive Plants Management

Click here for Registration Form

The topic of Invasive Plants can be confusing, contradictory, and even controversial for landowners wondering what, if anything, they should do about invasive plants on their farm or in their woods.

This workshop will present current philosophical and practical approaches to thinking about and managing invasive plants on your land.

Guidance and considerations relating to the potential impact(s) of invasive plants, control and management strategies, staging and timing of control activities, and restoration of heavily invaded areas will be discussed.

Workshop Presenter

Eric Burkhart is instructor and plant science program director for Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center.  He provides landscape and forest management leadership at Shavers Creek and teaches courses for the Penn State Ecosystem Science and Management Department (formerly the School of Forest Resources) on woody and herbaceous plant identification, nonnative invasive plants, and agroforestry.  Working with partners such as the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Eric also conducts research on important non-timber forest products (NTFPs) including American ginseng, goldenseal, and ramps and offers practical guidance in forest farming of NTFPs through related workshops and publications.  

Eric holds degrees in Economic Botany (B.A, Idaho State University), Horticulture (M.S., Penn State University), and Forest Resources (Ph.D., Penn State University).

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Annual Picnic & Meeting

You are invited to the 12 Annual AMWA Picnic and Meeting!

We will feature a presentation entitled: PA Forest Insect & Disease Update. Sharon Coons, Forest Program Specialist with DCNR Bureau of Forestry’s Division of Forest Health, will provide an update on the invasive threats to PA forests and describe DCNR’s role in their management.

Sharon is a 1995 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and a 2006 graduate of Penn State Mont Alto, Sharon has worked with the Bureau since 2007.

The public is invited to the 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM annual meeting, and AMWA members are strongly encouraged to attend. The AMWA board of directors would like to have your feedback on this years programming and recommendations for future educational events.

For more information, link to the Picnic Flyer.

Hope to see you there!

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Golden-Winged Warbler Program

AMWA had a great start to its 2015 educational series with a program on the Golden-Winged Warbler.

Ryan Davis began the morning by covering grassland/farmland habitat managment for birds, and Emily Bellush followed with details of creating habitat for the golden-winged warbler. Emily and Ryan also provided information on resources offering financial and technical assistance.

Emily encouraged landowners to contact her for assistance in exploring funding options to develop golden-winged warbler habitat. Her contact information:

Emily C. Bellush
Golden-winged Warbler Biologist
110 Radnor Road, Suite 101
State College, PA 16801
Office: 814-206-7464
Cell: 724-599-6386
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emily recommends the following for more information:

The Golden-Winged Warbler Initiative


Working Lands for Wildlife: Golden-Winged Warbler


Mark you calendars: AMWA Annual Picnic will be held on Saturday, June 20. The featured program will be on the status and impact of invasive insects. More information coming soon!

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2015 Programs

AMWA kicked off it's 2015 programming on Saturday, May 2 with: Golden-Winged Warbler: Ecology and Habitat Needs.

We would like to thank presenters Emily Bellush and Ryan Davis for their informative presentations, and for the time they took to make sure everyone's questions were answered.

2015 Educational Programs:

  • Saturday, June 20: Annual Meeting / Picnic - includes a presentation on Invasive Insects by Sharon Coons, Forest Program Specialist with the PA Bureau of Forestry - Division of Forest Pest Management
  • Saturday, August 8: A morning presentation by Eric Burkhart on Invasive Plants followed by lunch and then an afternoon Walk and Talk on "Not Weeds" where Eric shares his perspective on volunteer plants in our yards, fields, and forests.
  • Saturday, September: Program presented by Jim Finley on Timber Harvest Basics.
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Species: Serviceberry

Scientific Name: Amelanchier arborea

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Red or Scarlet?

b2ap3_thumbnail_cardinal.jpgThe Northern Cardinal and the Scarlet Tanager are two of the most stunningly beautiful birds in Pennsylvania. The Northern Cardinal is a common sight in backyards, parks and along forest edges. Most people have seen one and can readily identify it. Many have not seen a Scarlet Tanager, as they typically dwell in the upper canopy of large forested areas. If they did see one most would only recognize it as a pretty bird.

These two pretty birds exemplify differing habitat requirements of different animals, and why various stages of forest growth, from the young brush stage to mature forest, are desirable. Mature forest cannot possibly provide all animals all of their requirements for food and cover.

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Decreasing Habitat Decreasing Deer Numbers

This article is not going to talk about the politics of doe hunting, the length of the deer hunting season, or the antler size restrictions. This article is about deer habitat, why it’s disappearing, and how to get it back.

In order to understand habitat, we need to have a general knowledge of succession, which is the natural progression from one vegetation type to another. Left to its own accord, a grass field will eventually grow into a brushy shrub stage, which will slowly be phased out as trees begin to grow above the shrubs, thereby over time shading out the shrubs to become a forest stand of sapling and pole size trees, and eventually to mature forest.

Many wildlife species are adapted to a specific successional stage. This is the key to wildlife management. We can manipulate succession to a particular stage to provide food and cover, commonly known as habitat, for certain populations of wildlife species. Rabbits, for example like grassland next to or interspersed with brush. Squirrels can be found in more mature forest where the trees are large and mature enough to produce fruits, nuts, and hollow trees for shelter. The red tailed hawk needs mature forest for nesting, and grassland for hunting.

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Bushy Tail

bushy tailed squirrel“Where are all the squirrels that were around when I was a kid?” someone asked in a recent conversation I had. True, even on State Forest Land seeing a wild gray squirrel is rare. I remember back to my teenage and young adult years when I used to hunt them on my grandfather’s farm and they were quite numerous. Filling your bag limit in a morning wasn’t too difficult.


I also remember my grandfather’s woodlot well. I spent a lot of time there. It consisted of small to large sawtimber size trees. There were a variety of species such as hickory, black cherry, tulip poplar, butternut, sugar maple, red maple, basswood, ash, eastern hophornbeam and beech. The woodlot contained wild grape.

Wildflowers, leaks, and mushrooms were abundant depending on the time of year. The woodlot’s boundary to the north was a stream, on the south and east was an agricultural field where corn was often grown.

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Alien Invasion

Gypsy MothGypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) egg mass counts in the north central and the northwest portions of Pennsylvania are elevated indicating the potential for significant outbreak. To date, 1770 gypsy moth egg mass plots have been done. As a result of these findings, the Bureau of Foresty, Division of Forest Pest Management, are preparing for a gypsy moth suppression program in the spring for the aforementioned areas.  


Defoliation by the gypsy moth has killed millions of oak trees across Pennsylvania. Although oaks are preferred, gypsy moth caterpillars also eat the leaves of hundreds of other tree and shrub species including apple, alder, aspen, basswood, birch, poplar, willow, hawthorn, hemlock, tamarack (larch), pine, spruce, and witch hazel. Gypsy moth typically avoids ash, butternut, black walnut, locust, sycamore, and tuliptree (yellow poplar). Although it usually takes two or more years of defoliation before trees die, conifers that are defoliated may be killed after a single season of defoliation.

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Non-Timber Forest Producs: Maple Syrup

b2ap3_thumbnail_maple_syrup_w.jpgTimber isn’t the only commodity we get from our forests.  Edible (and delicious) mushrooms, leaks (a wild onion), ginseng and other medicinal plants, and of course maple syrup are among the genre of commodities foresters call non-timber forest products.  Some landowners choose to forego timber harvesting and manage for these other commodities instead.


Much research has gone into managing sugar bushes or groves, a name given to a tree(s) that are utilized for their sap.


Nobody knows exactly when maple syrup was discovered, but it was first used by Native Americans before European settlers ever came to this continent.  It was an important commodity in Native American economies.  

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Should I Cut It?

In the profession of forestry, we cut trees to meet objectives. Those objectives typically are wood products and to regenerate the stand, preferably through natural tree seedling regeneration. Another reason we might cut is to improve the stand by removing inferior trees to concentrate site resources (sunlight, water, and nutrients) on the better trees. This has the effect of making a forest stand grow bigger, better, and faster.


The conversation tends to go something like this:

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Backyard Trees

Topped Tree
We all know wood has value. Just ask a logger or sawmill owner. A 10 acre stand of mature trees can be very lucrative for the landowner. But trees have value in other ways that we often take for granted, even if they have little to no timber value.


Beneath the shade of a backyard tree the temperature can be as much as 20 degrees cooler on a hot summer day. A tree can do much to reduce air conditioning costs during the warmer months. Deciduous trees admit sunlight onto our houses in the colder months.


Some other tree facts:

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Just Cut the Big Ones

b2ap3_thumbnail_high_grade_cut_w.jpgIt seems perfectly logical. Cut the bigger trees and leave the smaller trees to grow. It makes all the sense in the world, especially when the money is made from cutting the larger trees. You make money and you’re doing well by the forest because you’re leaving trees for the future! It’s the perfect situation.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way the forest works in the real world.


The vast majority of Pennsylvania’s forests have a long history of being cut over heavily and burned from wildfires. Essentially, the forests started from scratch beginning as seedlings, and stump and root sprouts, which makes them even-aged. By definition, even-aged is where the trees are within 20 years of age from one another.


The forests began to grow again from cut over, burned and consequently open areas, which favored sun-loving, shade intolerant to only moderately shade tolerant species. In a nutshell, the tree species that comprise the great majority of Pennsylvania’s forests today do not regenerate or grow well in the shade.


The larger, more dominate trees in the woods won the race for sunlight. The majority of the trees died from the competition. A regenerating clearcut truly is the epitome of only the strong survive.

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Selling Your Timber

skid loader
Would you be tempted to take the first offer when a logger knocks on your door for your timber? Often, many people do take the first offer. $10,000.00 can seem like a lot of money.


If you had an antique car, would you sell it to anyone who made a first offer? Or would you investigate and consult with an expert on the car’s value? Most people would. Consequently, it’s a never ending frustration when foresters hear about a landowner taking the first offer on their timber, and allowing the logger unfettered access to their property without a contract that protects the landowner, his or her trees, and land.


We get a number of phone calls concerning this situation each year.


You go to a doctor when you’re sick. You hire a lawyer for legal problems. Why not work with or at least consult a forester when you have forestland and are considering a timber sale?

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Summertime Leaf Disease

I've received a number of calls and even a few specimens were brought into our office with concern of spots on maple leaves. These leaf specimens have ranged from Norway maple, silver maple, red maple and sugar maple.


The bad news is that this is caused by fungi. These fungi can make the leaves unsightly, disfigured, and even cause premature leaf drop.


The good news is that these are native fungi. They have always been here and always will be. They also rarely cause long term damage to the trees they infect.

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Species: Horsechesnut

Scientific Name: Aesculus hippocastanum

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