Crow’s Nest: Mobile Workshop on Stewardship Challenges in the Schuylkill Highlands

May 8, 2014

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve ManagerIMG_5621

We were pleased to co-host a mobile workshop for the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association’s annual conference last week. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resource’s Drew Gilchrist organized the tour that visited Crow’s Nest Preserve, the Birdsboro Water Authority’s forest lands, and an impressive wetlands restoration that Berks County Conservancy has undertaken at Angelica Park in the City of Reading.

Subjects included invasive plant management, deer management, the challenges of conducting sustainable forestry, and storm water management. I focused on our strategies for dividing the preserve into zones where invasive plant management is more likely to be successful, our “Early Detection–Rapid Response” efforts, and described our deer management program as well as some of the other things that come up while doing land management. (A kids’ program was in progress during our tour, so participants got to hear kids enjoying the outdoors.) Over lunch in the barn we screened the video filmed flying over the Hopewell Big Woods.

While we were here, Kate Jensen from the National Park Service spoke about land stewardship and deer management at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Then the bus went over to the forested Birdsboro Water Authority Lands, protected by a conservation easement that regulates the kind of sustainable forestry conducted on the property. DCNR Bureau of Forestry’s Rich Hartleib described the kind of stand improvement and invasive plant control they are doing in the course of removing timber from small parts of that property. At Angelica Park Berks County Conservancy’s Larry Lloyd walked us through the restored wetland he has worked on there. We saw a green heron and turtles using the wetland that had held up well after the extreme rain that had occurred two days before.

The rest of the conference was filled with useful sessions. I think it was great to “show off” our local preserves and can’t wait for the annual PALTA conference to cycle back to this part of the state again to show colleagues from all over the beauty of our lands.