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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

Registrations due by April 12! April 19, 2016: JVAS Spring Banquet “The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) Bird Research Projects” Presented by Doug Gross, PGC Bird Biologist

Registrations due by April 12!

April 19, 2016: JVAS Spring Banquet

“The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) Bird Research Projects”
Presented by Doug Gross, PGC Bird Biologist

Silent Auction 5:30 PM Dinner 6 PM at Hoss’s Steak & Sea House
110 Patch Way Rd. Duncansville, PA 16635

The PGC has done some remarkable work to help birds like the Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Sandhill Crane, Golden-winged Warbler, and many others increase their populations in Pennsylvania. Join us as we celebrate another year of commitment to bird conservation by both the PGC and Juniata Valley Audubon Society.

A "silent auction" also will be held to raise funds for conservation efforts supported by the JVAS. Members are asked to bring new or gently used nature-related items to donate for the silent auction. Please bring the items before 5:00 PM at the banquet. Books, artwork, pottery, native plants — anything related to nature will be auctioned. Bring your checkbook or cash to support this important fund-raiser!

We will order off the menu, so payment in advance is not required. However, we ask that you email or call JVAS Hospitality Chair Marcia Bonta by April 12, as we need to let Hoss’s know how many plan to attend. Please call Marcia at 814-684-3113 or email: [email protected]

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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.

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Every fall, the Pennsylvania Game Commission offers tours at select game lands around the state. This year, one of them is in our area: State Game Lands 108. Here's the relevant section from their press release:

Cambria County: Sunday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., State Game Lands 108, consisting of 23,086 acres. This 7.5-mile, self-guided, one-way, driving tour will highlight mountainous terrain and fall foliage on the Allegheny Front. Items of interest along the tour route include a rehabilitated strip-mined area, which has been converted to small-game habitat. The area also serves as a study area for grassland nesting birds, including the Henslow’s sparrow, a grassland species of special concern. Northern harriers and endangered short-eared owls also inhabit the study area. Also highlighted are tree and shrub identification, wildlife habitat food plots and a deer exclosure fence. Each tour participant will be provided a brochure with directions and information about various features along the tour route. The tour begins at the State Game Lands access road three-tenths of a mile north of Frugality, along State Route 53, in White Township. Watch for the sign. The starting point is just minutes away from the main beach at Prince Gallitzin State Park, where the annual Apple Cider Festival will be taking place on the same day. The tour will conclude on State Route 865 near Blandburg, in Reade Township. Game Commission land management, forestry, wildlife management, and law enforcement personnel will be on hand to explain the various habitat improvement projects on this SGL and to answer questions.

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