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Dear JVAS Community,

I hope this message find you well and enjoying the splendors of the season transformation from summer to fall.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” I took this quote to mean when we walk into nature, we come out strengthened and confident in ourselves. A walk into nature helps clear our minds, builds a positive relationship with the natural world, and creates a sense of peace.

trees

Over the past month JVAS hosted several field trips in which many people attended exploring and learning about the great outdoors. We look forward to the upcoming field trips, including the 53rd Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in the Culp circle. Please consider volunteering to help with part of the circle count on Saturday December 18th. See more details about the CBC in this issue of The Gnatcatcher.

Here are some walks to consider visiting in the local outdoors:

The Albemarle Nature Trail: (2858 Back Vail Rd, Tyrone, PA 16686) follows a 1-mile loop through a deciduous forest, open meadow, and wetlands formed by a beaver dam. The area serves as home to a variety of animal species and native birds such as wild turkey, great blue heron, owls, red-tailed hawk, and songbirds. The Albemarle Nature Trail provides habitats for many plant species.

Bells Gap Trail: (163 Igou Road, Tyrone, PA 16686) Outstanding views of eastern ridges, the Tuckahoe Valley and Bellwood Reservoir. A Rail Trail that is an easy out and back stroll 2 miles (one-way). The trail consists of fresh crushed limestone surface and is home of many bird species. Along with the rich railroad history, the trail includes several covered benches on which to rest and enjoy the scenery.

Coyler Lake Trail: (Lingle Rd, Centre Hall, PA 16828) The Lake Loop is 2.7 miles that features a beautiful 77-acre lake and is good for all skill levels. Owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and managed by the Fish and Boat Commission for public fishing and boating. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching.

Lake Perez—Lake Trail: (325 Charter Oak Rd, Petersburg, PA 16669) This 3-mile lake loop is located near Stone Valley Recreation Area near Shaver's Creek Environmental Center. A wonderful opportunity to see wildlife, and numerous woodland bird species. There are also several surrounding trails of various lengths that you can explore.

I will conclude this message with a quote from Albert Einstein, "Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better."

forested lakeshore in autumn foliage

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Archery season for antlered and antlerless deer begins today statewide in Pennsylvania. Although archers tend to make very sure of their targets, it's still a good idea for anyone in the woods — birdwatchers, hikers, mushroom gatherers, etc. — to wear a blaze-orange cap at least, if not a vest or coat as well. In State Game Lands it's more or less mandatory, but state forests, state parks, and most other public lands are open for hunting as well.

man in blaze orange baseball cap
A blaze orange cap is more than a practical necessity—it's a fashion statement.

Archery season for antlered and antlerless deer begins today statewide in Pennsylvania. Although archers tend to make very sure of their targets, it's still a good idea for anyone in the woods — birdwatchers, hikers, mushroom gatherers, etc. — to wear a blaze-orange cap at least, if not a vest or coat as well. In State Game Lands it's more or less mandatory, but state forests, state parks, and most other public lands are open for hunting as well. Later on in November, when regular rifle deer season comes in after Thanksgiving, non-hunters should probably stay out of the woods altogether on opening day and the first Saturday, and be very cautious and visible for the rest of the season. And turkey season, which is in November, is also a very good time to get shot if you're not wearing blaze orange. Gobbling and scratching in the leaves is also discouraged.

See the complete list of 2013-2014 hunting seasons on the Game Commission website. (Scroll down for the map of wildlife management areas. Our area is split between 4D, 4A and 2C. )

Needless to say, as a conservation organization, Juniata Valley Audubon strongly supports deer hunting, and many of our members are also hunters. Shoot a deer, save a wood thrush.

From the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry's Forest Resources Planning and Information Team:

The Bureau of Forestry is beginning the planning process to revise the State Forest Resource Management Plan (SFRMP).  The SFRMP is a broad, state-wide plan used to guide the Bureau of Forestry’s management of state forest resources.

Public participation is an integral part of state forest management.  As part of the SFRMP revision, we developed a survey to gather public input that can be incorporated into the planning process. Additional opportunities for public input through 2014 will include written comment and public meetings. Hearing from the public gives us insights into the needs and concerns of citizens and stakeholders, so we can better adapt our management strategies.

As a valued state forest stakeholder or user, we are interested in your survey response.  The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.  Please use the following link to access the survey on the Rothrock State Forest webpage. You will find a link to the survey under the Advisories section of the webpage. The survey will be available online through October 31, 2013.

www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/stateforests/rothrock

Please feel free to share this link with other state forest stakeholders or users that you may know.

One suggested short- and long-term priority for forest planners: planting western hemlock or native red spruce to replace the eastern hemlocks killed by the hemlock wooly adelgid, to preserve cold-water habitat and many other essential wildlife values.