get involved

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

Lead Poisoning in Birds

Cook Forest Conservancy - Lead Poisoning in Eagles from Ammunition

Bald and golden eagles prefer fish, but are opportunistic foragers that scavenge when practical. In most areas, eagles have access to food sources with expended lead bullets – field-shot pest species, offal piles, non-recovered game, and weakened, contaminated live prey. 

Deer pits across the Game Commission’s State Game Lands provide a regular source of food for scavenging eagles.  Hunting season falls in autumn and winter, when scavenging for food becomes more important – and lead poisoning victim numbers spike.

Between 2006 and 2016, lead poisoning was found in one-third of 228 eagles from across Pennsylvania – 30% had detectable levels of heavy metals in their liver.  While the specimens died variously from trauma by car, train, and gunshot (also electrocution and infection), the examined animals mostly accumulated the lead levels as a result of scavenging.  Lead poisoning destroys the nervous system.  If it doesn’t kill the bird outright, the lead poisoning renders it too weak and disoriented to either hunt for food, or protect itself from predators and threats.

One simple way to reduce lead toxicity in eagles and other wildlife is to use non-lead ammunition.

Both performance and cost of non-lead ammunition is comparable to lead counterparts. The PA Game Commission advocates the use of non-lead ammunition to hunters, and it’s safer for people, too, since the lead can’t fragment or leach into game meat. Please ask your local supplier to stock non-lead ammo 🙂

Centre Wildlife Care - tube-feeding lead poisoned eagle
Centre Wildlife Care volunteers tube-feeding a Bald Eagle suffering from lead poisoning

From Centre Wildlife Care:

Since 2013, when we got our blood lead machine, all of the bald eagles that we have taken in have had some level of lead in their blood. Most have needed chelation therapy to remove the lead from the system, plus antibiotics, tube feeding, and months of rehabilitation before they could be released. Some were too sick to save from the lead toxicity/ trauma and died.

We have also seen lead poisoning in hawks, eagles, vultures, crows, gulls, ducks, geese, swans, loons and grebes.

For more information, and to find non-lead ammo, contact: 

Service Foresters

PA DCNR service forester program for landowners

DCNR service foresters – at no cost to the landowner – will walk your property, and give sound advice on the following:

  • Woodland review & improvement 
  • Tree planting
  • Control of forest pests & invasives
  • Wildlife – habitat & management
  • Woodland recreation
  • Educational & cost-share programs
  • Forest management 
  • Timber harvest 
  • Riparian & water quality practices 

Under the Cooperative Forest Management Program of the DCNR Bureau of Forestry, a Service Forester will assist you in understanding and planning the care and management of your woodland – a service to help you gain the maximum in benefits and enjoyment from this resource acreage.  While they can’t mark or sell timber, and don’t compete with private consulting foresters, they provide an educated, disinterested opinion and help you progress to the next step of managing your woodlot wisely and sustainably. 

To connect with your county’s service forester, contact: 

Clarion, Jefferson, Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Lawrence & Mercer counties: 

Clear Creek Forest District 8
158 South Second Avenue
Clarion, PA 16214
(814) 226-1901
fd08@state.pa.us

Forest, Venango, Warren, Erie, & Crawford counties:

Cornplanter Forest District 14
323 North State Street
Warren, PA 16365
(814) 723-0262
fd14@state.pa.us

CFSPbridges on Giving Tuesday

Facebook is waiving all donation fees, and matching all donations on #givingtuesday! This 3 December 2019, all funds raised for the CFSPbridges campaign will be doubled!  

You can help us by running a fundraiser on your facebook page, and sharing it with your friends and family – here’s how:

raise funds on Facebook for the CFC

Here are links to useful pages:

Thanks for your support! 

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.

Thank you, everyone!

Thank you CFC supporters

Thank you everyone!! 😃 Thank you for joining us on hikes and for yoga, for helping to move injured wildlife and to track invasive species, for participating in the fundraiser, for sharing CFC posts and events and information on how we can protect this amazing resource – your support means so much, to us and to the forest.

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.  

 

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

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

“Cathedral” – documentary screening – 15 Sept

Cathedral: The Fight to Save the Ancient Hemlocks of Cook Forest

Cathedral - Wild Excellence Films - HWA still

Playing at the Sawmill Theatre in Cook Forest State Park at 7 p.m. on Saturday, 15 September.  Tickets are $15, and are available by calling 814-927-6655, or via Eventbrite by following this link.

The documentary tells the story of the hemlock trees of Cook Forest State Park, Pennsylvania, which are under attack by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), a destructive insect that has already killed thousands of trees in the eastern United States. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid was discovered in Cook Forest in 2013.  The little “Larry” beetles (i.e., beetles of the genus Laricobius), shown in the image above, are one of the methods of combatting the invasive HWA — click on the image to view the film’s trailer.

“These magnificent trees are hundreds of years old, and we have to do everything we can to help save them,” said Melissa Rohm, filmmaker on the project. “We hope that Cathedral will raise awareness about what’s happening in Cook Forest and why the hemlocks are so important. We want to inspire people to help.”

Cathedral includes interviews with park staff and is narrated by Old-Growth Forest Network founder Joan Maloof. The film takes the viewer on a journey through the forest in all seasons and shows the important work being done by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry.

Park Supporter Questionnaire

The CFC has lately obtained its 501(c)(3) charitable organization status, and is now working on the website and our initial park programs. Please help us out by taking a minute to let us know what’s most important to you — we’ve created a quick survey we’d very much appreciate your taking the time to submit:

Cook Forest Conservancy Questionnaire

[via SurveyMonkey – the link will open in new tab]

Let us know what brings you here, what you’d like to see for the Park’s future, and how we can improve.