The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 20, 2013

Bob Garrett's Talking Points: Learn to respect wildlife


Daily Item

---- — "Principle No. 6: Observe wildlife from a distance."

A group of new studies from scientists at Boise State University and with the U.S. Geological Survey are demonstrating that bird species considered "tolerant" of human activity and also species that seem "comfortable" with urban nesting are more negatively impacted by human disturbance than had been originally thought.

The researchers studied kestrels and falcons that set-up nests near roads and on office buildings in urban areas. The peregrine falcons that have nested for the past decade on the top of the Rachel Carson Building, the Harrisburg-based headquarters of our state's Department of Environmental Protection, were part of the study sample. The researchers found that the birds living in highly-developed areas had elevated stress hormones and high rates of nest abandonment. In fact, the studies showed that kestrels living along Idaho's Interstate 84 were nearly 10 times more likely to abandoned their nests than kestrels nesting in less-developed areas.

Strawberry Moon

Just about every Native American tribe called the June full moon the "Strawberry Moon." However, most Europeans knew this moon as the "Rose Moon." Either way, this month's full moon is this Sunday. Our Valley's strawberry crop and many of its rose bushes have already peaked, but they both occurred during the month of June. By the way, based on lunar events, the fishing for the rest of the month will be best from the 25th to the 27th. If you're heading to the shore, this coming Sunday and Monday will be the best days for crabbing and clamming this whole month.

Weekend hikes

Sierra Club members will lead a 10-mile loop hike at the R.B. Winter State Park on Sunday morning starting at 8:30. Those interested may call Joe Rebar at 570-259-0134 if they wish to go along. If you can't make it this Sunday, you're still in luck, because Joe will lead a similar hike next Sunday, June 30. Make sure to pack a lunch and bring along plenty of water to drink.

Project WILD

All of our Valley's schools have let out for the summer, but educators and others who work with youth have a chance to continue their learning through wildlife-focused workshops that fulfill federal educational mandates. Project WILD provides conservation education that gives educators the tools that they need to inspire their students to make nature-sensitive choices. Project WILD is one of the most widely used conservation and environmental education programs among educators nationwide and the activities can easily be incorporated into almost any classroom curriculum.

The "Ever Ready bunny" of conservation education outreach, Theresa Alberici coordinates the program through the Pennsylvania Game Commission. If you're a youth educator of any stripe and if this program sounds good to you, please visit the Game Commission's website at www.pgc.state.pa.us, and click on 2013 Teacher Workshops tab. Here's a sample of the types of Act 48-approved workshops that you can attend:

Wonders of Wetlands will be held on June 26 and 27 on State Game Lands near Waynesburg. Call IU No. 1 at 724-938-8722 or visit www.solutionwhere.com to register.

Pennsylvania Biodiversity will be held on June 28 at the Montour Preserve. To register, please contact Jon Beam at jdbeam@pplweb.com or 570-437-3131.

Project WILD will be held on July 19 at the Game Commission's Northeast Region Office in Dallas. Participants may be formal and non-formal educators who want hands-on learning about the state environment and ecology educational standards. Contact Kathy Kelchner at 570-696-9105 or nrspfrsleep@pa.gov to register.

WILD About Birding will be presented at the Nolde Environmental Center and at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Center on July 22 and 23. To register, contact Bert Myers at gimyers@pa.gov or call 717-733-1512.

Monarchs in the Classroom is a great workshop that will be held on August 13th at the Olewine Environmental Center at Wildwood Lake near Harrisburg. During the workshop, educators will learn how to raise monarchs in the classroom to teach students about insect anatomy and life cycle. Contact the Wildwood staff at 717-221-0292 before the Aug. 5 deadline.

Take me out to the ballgame

Outdoors Night at Metro Bank Park on City Island provides discounted tickets to licensed Pennsylvania hunters and furtakers. There will be tons of outdoors-themed activities, including archery instruction and shooting simulators before and during the game. The first 1,000 children ages 12 and under to enter the park will receive a free hunter-orange Game Commission baseball cap. Game time is 7 p.m. for this evening that's sponsored by the Game Commission and the Harrisburg Senators. You just need to show your hunting licenses at the box office to receive a $2 per ticket discount.