events

Bats & Moths & Synchronous Fireflies!

Bats Moths & Fireflies CFC 2020

UPDATE:  Please bear with us 🙂 – the event is now limited to 25 attendees, per PA guidelines on COVID-19 – – RSVP is req’d via 814-744-8407 or cookforestsp@pa.gov, & please bring your masks & respect social distancing ** Please DISREGARD Facebook attendance indicators, as we’re not using that system **
Our apologies, but as this is the first event in the park following its reopening, and as several state entities are cooperating in its production, we just got the word that we need to collect registrations for the event. We appreciate your understanding!

Wielding microphones and sheets and wearing headlamps, bat biologist Amber Nolder and entomologist Tim Tomon will survey bats and moths, educating onlookers as they monitor this aspect of forest health. We’ll begin with some presentations, move into the field, and learn about these important Cook Forest residents.  Here’s a recap & gallery from last year’s stellar bat & moth event – but, this year, it’s

Bats & Moths – and then Synchronous Fireflies!

Our annual program has happily added a (hopeful) appearance by the rare and elusive synchronous fireflies!  Once the Photinus carolinus & friends have emerged (probably around 10 pm), we’ll walk up nearby Tom’s Run Road a short distance into the darkness, and enjoy their silent light show. Allegheny National Forest & Cook Forest State Park are among the only places to see these little fellows in America – they’re so famous in the Smoky Mountains there’s a lottery to see them!

Since the primary threats to fireflies are habitat loss and light pollution, the “lightning bug” portion of the program will be pitch black, so they can communicate.  The dirt road is somewhat uneven – if you have a headlamp or flashlight with a red lamp function, please bring it along for the trek in toward the firefly swamp.

Friday, 19 June 2020 – 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm >>
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We’ll be at Shelter #2 off Forest Road in Cook Forest, approx. coordinates: 41.346609, -79.218915, and the google maps code is 8QWJ+JC Cooksburg, Pennsylvania.

This event is free – no registration required. Please bring a coronavirus mask, a light (headlamps with a red or green night-vision filter are best) and a refillable water bottle – we’ll have bat & moth eyemasks for the kids to color.  NB re CORONAVIRUS: By attending, participants assume responsibility for any and all risk due to possible exposure to COVID-19. Please DO NOT attend if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 2 weeks.

This annual event is a collaboration of the Cook Forest Conservancy, the PA Game Commission, the PA Bureau of Forestry, and the DCNR of Cook Forest State Park

COVID-19 Cancellations in Cook Forest State Park

DCNR PA State Park COVID-19 Closure
All PA State Parks CLOSED due to COVID-19 - DCNR Notice Issued 03-16-2020

EVENT CANCELLATIONS & CLOSURES in Cook Forest State Park due to Coronavirus / COVID-19 – as of 16 March 2020:

[A]ll public educational programs, special events such as races and festivals, and teacher and other trainings in state parks and state forests are cancelled until April 30. This includes programming by Friends groups and the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and other partners. This also includes weddings, family reunions, fundraisers, trail rides or any other type of event that required an agreement or reservation.  — DCNR 

Click this image for further updates, posting to the Cook Forest Conservancy facebook page:

CANCELLED IN COOK FOREST:

  • 14 March – Plant Propagation with a DCNR Service Forester
  • 21 March – Friends’ hike of Indian Trail
  • 28 March – CFSP Eagle Watch
  • 12 April – Easter Sunrise Service
  • 24 April – Earth Day 50
  • 25 April – Meet your DCNR Service Forester hike
  • 25 April – Friends’ adopt-a-highway cleanup of Forest Road

Presently, trails remain open for disbursed hiking.  The park office and all park facilities are CLOSED.  Please take sensible precautions. 

Cathedral film at Clarion University

A short documentary on how & why the State Park is protecting the Hemlock trees of Cook Forest from the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) – and what it would mean if we lost that battle.  Hemlock is a keystone species, irreplaceable.  Eastern hemlock trees filter sediment and prevent stream bank erosion, and its evergreen boughs are integral for keeping streams cold enough for trout – hemlock streams average ten degrees cooler than waterways without hemlock. 

The film is 22 minutes long, will be followed by a short Q & A session.

At 7 pm, all are welcome to attend a general meeting of the Iron Furnace Chapter #288 of Trout Unlimited, featuring speaker Ryan Borcz, DCNR park manager for Cook Forest & Clear Creek State Parks, discussing an in-progress stream habitat improvement the chapter is orchestrating in Clear Creek.

Both events are in Room 120 of the Grunenwald Science and Technology Center (STC), Clarion University of Pennsylvania – GPS Address: 909 E Wood St. Clarion PA, 16214. Free parking is available slightly downhill & across the street.

Hosted by the Cook Forest Conservancy, Iron Furnace Chapter #288 of Trout Unlimited, & Clarion University – film courtesy of Wild Excellence Films.

Plant Propagation

2020-03-14 Plant Propagation Seminar
Many of the most popular decorative (and practical) landscape plants—shrubs, vines, and fruits—can be propagated by the simple technique of rooting a piece of a “parent” plant. Improve your gardening skills while saving money, by learning simple plant propagation techniques.  One  source plant – already in your yard or your neighbor’s – can produce hundreds of identical offspring, at little to no cost!

Clone your Favorite Native Plants:

Join Ty Ryen, DCNR Bureau of Forestry Service Forester and Certified Arborist, for this FREE indoor event – a hands-on demonstration with hardwood cuttings, plus tips on timing your cuttings and mixing soil:

Saturday, 14 March 2020 – 11 am – 1 pm >> add event to your google calendar

This free event is open to all.  The DCNR Cook Forest State Park office has generously donated their conference room for the gardening seminar – the address is 100 PA-36, Cooksburg, PA 16217, and the google maps code is 8QMR+59 Cooksburg, Farmington Township, PA.

Now approved for 2 Continuing Education Units for ISA Certified Arborists!

Still Free!  RSVP to save your seat – space is limited – via Facebook, or via

Penn’s Parks for All – DCNR Plan

Please take a few moments to review the DCNR’s draft “Penn’s Parks for All” report which features recommendations for managing Pennsylvania state parks for the future, based on public comments gathered the past two years.  The report acknowledges that DCNR is “operating 121 parks with decreasing resources,” while visitation pressure increases, facilities age, and the forests themselves are beset by invasives, disease, and encroachment.

There will be a meeting for Cook Forest and Clear Creek State Parks on 5 December 2019, 6 pm at the Cook Forest State Park Office – all are welcome and encouraged to attend – share your concerns, priorities, and questions for the future of our beautiful, wild spaces, locally and state-wide.  

DCNR needs "more than $500 million due to the appropriated budget for state parks not keeping up with inflation, and due to a reduction in staff, requiring higher costs for contracted labor.
The condition of state park facilities is deteriorating, with some facilities being shuttered, and some recreation activities no longer available — while demand for park use is higher than ever before."

This heavily-used bridge across Tom's Run was closed in the summer of 2019, and requires replacement - cost estimated at $100,000 per bridge. This is one of six bridges slated for closure - several are along the North Country Trail.

 According to a Penn State report,  Pennsylvania’s state parks support 12,630 jobs (part-time and full-time), and contribute $400 million in labor income, and $1.15 billion in sales annually.  For every $1 invested in state parks from the state’s General Fund, $12.41 is returned to Pennsylvania’s economy.  Yet only 0.16% of the state’s General Fund budget goes to state parks.

It’s not only trails, campgrounds, and pavilions that need funding – the forests themselves are under assault from multiple threats that can’t be handled passively.  The parks face “declining forest health from invasive plants and animals, declining plant and animal diversity, and fragmentation impacts from roads, trails,” and utilities.  DCNR needs funds to acquire inholdings and boundary properties, to to implement “projects that will mitigate the effects of climate change and that address habitat resiliency, riparian buffers, and lake and stream restoration.”

Survey respondents were generally in favor of all these projects – land acquisition, water quality improvement, habitat protection – and “the vast majority agreed or strongly agreed (87%) that visitors to state parks should expect a quiet, natural, and/or wild experience.”  Report recommendations also include the establishment of a night sky management program, expansion of educational programs on sustainable and leave no trace practices, and outreach to middle and high school students to create the next generation of stewards of the state park system.

To accomplish this, DCNR will need to meet another of its goals – “ensur[ing] that conservation funding (e.g., the Keystone Fund and the Environmental Stewardship Fund) is used for stewardship purposes to repair and improve park resources.”  To keep our parks healthy and fully functioning, DCNR will need your support, too – in making public lands a priority for legislators.

This report is only the draft – comments will be accepted until 31 December 2019.  Please attend a meeting, or submit comments online.

Citizen Scientist Training

Citizen Science Training 2019-10-02

HWA (Hemlock Woolly Adelgid) kills trees – and it’s here.  Invasive plants such as Japanese barberry and tree of heaven are threatening the regeneration of important species, while providing little to no habitat or food for wildlife.  But, with your help, we can protect our valuable old-growth forest.

Join us for Citizen Scientist training to learn about imapinvasives, a free tool that you can use to track infestations. We’ll also show you how to identify the invasive pests and plants – then you just report back data whenever you’re in the field. Together we can keep our forest healthy!

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 – 6 pm >> add event to your google calendar

This Free event is open to all, and is co-sponsored by the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History as a project of the Allegheny Forest Health Collaborative.  The Gateway Lodge generously donated meeting space – the address is 14870 PA-36, Cooksburg, PA 16217.  

 

HWA Hemlock Seminar Recap 2019

2019 HWA Seminar recap

A solid group attended this year’s Bureau of Forestry seminar on Hemlock Woolly Adelgid – its life cycle, the dangers it poses and the importance of Eastern (Canadian) Hemlock to our biodiversity, and the currently available treatment options – at the Cook Forest State Park office.  Following the classroom session, we trekked a short distance along beautiful Birch Trail, where Forestry scientists illustrated the soil injection method of tree inoculation, which will protect the treated trees for an estimated seven years. 

Jim Altemus explaining the soil treatment procedure to an attendee

As you may know, many of our ecosystems depend upon hemlock to filter our water and contain our streambanks, shade these streams for trout and the aquatic insects they feed upon, clean our air, and create the singular micro-climate that no other tree can reproduce, and on which many species depend.

You can protect your hemlocks at home:

  • minimize stressors by keeping them watered in droughts and not compacting their soil, and 
  • monitoring them closely for health – watch the crown for thinning, and always check wind-blown limbs for evidence of HWA infestation, as they tend to colonize the top half of the tree.   

View the entire photo gallery here – and please join us next year, as we hope to make the HWA Treatment Seminar an annual event!  The Cook Forest area hemlock are relatively healthy now, and by keeping Pennsylvanians aware and proactive, we can ensure their survival for the good of the woods, waters, and people of the coming decades 🙂

Shagbark Jones admires some hemlocks

a Quick Walk for the Woods – 28 Sept 2019

Cook Forest Hike - 28 Sept 10 am

Before the WIN Wildlife Courier Training, before the hour of relaxing yoga on the lawns along Tom’s Run, before a peaceful lunch in the park – walk with the CFC for a brief tour of the hemlocks and cold-water streams they protect. Saturday, 28 September, 2019,  10: 30 am, meeting at the new Cook Forest State Park office, 100 Route 36, Cooksburg, PA 16217.

No fee or registration required – just bring a water bottle, and your patience 🙂 for the CFC director’s first public tour of the forest.  We’ll try to cover the importance of hemlock, why Cook Forest is the best old-growth stand to protect, and how to help do it.  Our hellbenders, warblers, and the future is counting on us to do so!  

Learn more & let us know you’re attending on the Facebook Event here

then join Soul Blossom Yoga of Erie for a refreshing 60 minutes of Yin Yoga amongst the hemlocks – bring your mat and a water bottle – Donations only, generously collected by Soul Blossom to benefit the CFC 🙂 

 

WIN Wildlife Courier Training

CFC WIN Wildlife Courier Training 2019-09-28

Save some Critters!

Learn how you can help injured wildlife – Saturday, 28 September, 2019,  1 – 3 pm at the new Cook Forest State Park office, 100 Route 36, Cooksburg, PA 16217.  Join a retired wild animal rehabilitator for information and instruction on becoming a volunteer wildlife courier – learn about:

  • the mission and goals of WIN Emergency Response of PA, Inc.
  • PA Regulations
  • possible dangers to you and to wildlife
  • safe practices and common sense
  • how to assist a Capture and Transport (C & T) Permittee
  • how to safely transport an animal
  • what equipment you’ll need to help save injured animals

WIN (Wildlife in Need) Emergency Response of PA is fulfilling a desperate need by dispatching a network of trained volunteers to make sure injured animals are delivered to PA-registered wildlife rehabilitators, quickly and safely.  To expand its volunteer base, WIN is partnering with the Cook Forest Conservancy to train transport responders in and around Cook Forest State Park.  Those interested in the next level – wildlife capture – can find out more at this session.

The seminar is $25 per person, and requires pre-registration to ensure we meet the five-person attendance minimum.  Please contact Sue DeArment, WIN Director, by 24 Sept via 814-425-7731 or sdearment @ windstream.net (remove spaces).  Thank you for making Pennsylvania a better place for wildlife!

Download a printable copy of the event PDF here

HWA Treatment Seminar – 14 Sept 2019

2019-09-14 CFC BOF HWA Seminar Cook Forest

HWA kills trees - Protect your Hemlocks!

Learn more about the threat, and how to treat your own trees.  This event is free to all – held at 2 pm on Saturday, 14 September, 2019, at the new Cook Forest State Park office, 100 Route 36, Cooksburg, PA 16217.  It will follow the member’s picnic and history walk hosted by the Woodland Owners of Clarion-Allegheny Valley.

Join specialists on invasive insects from the PA Bureau of Forestry for information on at-home treatment for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), including:

  • the importance of helmock
  • the reduced cost of treatment (far less than removing dead trees!)
  • different treatment methods, including:
    • overview of available pesticides;
    • which is best for a given situation; and
    • the best seasons for treatments

followed by an on-site session during which attendees can actually apply the treatment – this single application should protect each target hemlock for seven years!

We’ll be walking along Tom’s Run for the field work – please wear long pants and closed shoes; gloves will be provided.  Attendees may be able to loan equipment from the PA Bureau of Forestry for treating their private hemlock stands – more details at the event. 

Download a printable copy of the event PDF here

a WOCAV event: Herbicides for Invasives

Herbicides for Invasive Plants

FREE seminar & field workshop – Saturday, 24 August 2019 – nine to noon @ the Rimersburg Rod & Gun Club.  Join the WOCAV, with experienced forestry heribicide specialists Dave Jackson of Penn State Extension & Bryan Rose of ArborChem for information on how, when, and why to treat some of our most problematic plant species. Agenda:

  • Silvicultural Considerations: Competing vegetation impacts. Why do we have so much of it? When is treatment necessary? Why Herbicides?
  • Products and equipment, labels, & required PPE – How to protect yourself from exposure.
  • Overview of Application Methods – Broadcast applications (Band), spot treatments, hack and squirt, basal bark, and stump treatments, recommended rates, and calibration for band treatments
  • In woods demonstrations: competing and invasive plant control applications

442 E Rod and Gun Club Rd, Rimersburg, PA 16248

Bats & Moths 2019 Recap

Bats & Moths 2019 - Recap

The turnout at Tom’s Run – seventy people and six bats – is a happy increase over last year for both groups, and it’s important to track bat densities to determine whether they’re rebounding following the decimation caused by White Nose Syndrome.  PA Game Commission scientist Amber Nolder said that, “after the devastating losses due to white-nose, there does seem to be some stabilization of affected bat populations. However, it could take over 100 years for complete population recovery (assuming enough bats can continue to survive white-nose and other threats), because of the low reproductive rate of most of these cave hibernating species, which have only one pup per year.

Moths, which, along with butterflies, make up one of the most diverse orders of insects, also are a large proportion of the diet of birds and bats.  Tim Tomon, scientist with the Bureau of Forestry, noted that they can also be useful indicators of plant presence.

You can help bat & moth populations at home:

View the entire photo gallery here – and please join us next year, as we’re planning to make Bats & Moths night an annual event! 

Bats & Moths of Cook Forest

Bats & Moths of Cook Forest

Please meet at twilight (8:30) at Shelter #2 to help bat biologist Amber Nolder and insect specialist Tim Tomon during an evening survey of bats and moths along the picturesque Tom’s Run valley. Following an educational presentation, we’ll be catching bats and moths in nets for research purposes.

Bring your flashlights – there will be supplies to make a custom, removable red-light filter, so you can see better at night and disturb wildlife less. We’ll also have bat-mask coloring for the kids. 

This event is FREE and open to all – donations will support the CFC and the installation of bat boxes in Cook Forest State Park.

Much thanks to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and DCNR Bureau of Forestry and their scientists, and to the management and rangers of Cook Forest State Park for their accommodation and support!

>> 8:30 – 10:30 pm, Tuesday, 2 July 2019, at Pavilion #2 in beautiful Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.  Approx. GPS coordinates = 41°20’50.0″N  79°13’11.2″W — follow Forest Road to near Breezemont – Shelter #2 is across from the Log Cabin

HWA Treatment Seminar – 26 Sept 2018

HWA Kills Trees, and it is here, in Northwestern PA

Free HWA Treatment Seminar

Learn more about the threat, and how to treat your own trees.  This event is free to all, but space is limited – RSVP kelly @ cookforestconservancy.org, or via facebook, to join specialists on invasive insects for information on at-home treatment for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), including:

  • the importance of helmock
  • the reduced cost of treatment (far less than removing dead trees!)
  • different treatment methods, including:
    • overview of available pesticides, chemical and insect;
    • which is best for a given situation; and
    • the best seasons for treatments

followed by an on-site session during which attendees can actually apply the treatment – this single application will protect each target hemlock for seven years!

RSVP reply will include further details – we’ll be at Shelter #1 off Forest Road (the map should get you close enough to see us!  First right past the park office along Forest Road, before Breezemont and the double turn-offs at the Log Cabin Inn & Longfellow/ Forest Cathedral trailheads).

Download a printable copy of the event PDF here.

Twilight of the Hemlocks & Beeches

Brunch with the author, Tim Palmer
16 September 2018 – Cook Forest

cover of Twilight of the Hemlocks and Beeches by Tim Palmer, a new book published by Penn State University Press.

 

Join the Cook Forest Conservancy for coffee with author Tim Palmer, who’s presenting a slideshow of his lovely photography and research detailing the decline of the Eastern Hemlock and American Beeches, published this month by Penn State University Press — and what we can do to save these stately trees.

This event is free to all who RSVP, though space is limited – please RSVP here:  http://cfc-palmer.rsvpify.com.

“Tim Palmer’s breathtaking photography perfectly captures the magic of Pennsylvania’s state tree, whether seen during a walk through an ancient grove or meandering along many streambanks and waterways in the commonwealth.

His images and prose will inspire us all to work on building resilience for adaptation to the impacts of climate change and to do what we can to save these majestic trees.”

—Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary, Pennsylvania DCNR

This beautiful hardcover book will be for sale by the author at the event.  Any donations to the Cook Forest Conservancy will directly benefit efforts to preserve the old-growth stands in Cook Forest from the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.

>> 10 – 11:30 am, Sunday, 16 September, at Pavilion #2 in beautiful Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania.  Approx. GPS coordinates = 41°20’50.0″N 79°13’11.2″W