Pennsylvania Forestry Association News
Posted: April 17, 2017
Fifty-six years ago, in 1961, the Pennsylvania General Assembly dedicated the last week of April as Dr. Joseph T. Rothrock Memorial Conservation Week. The Assembly specified that during this week all citizens will be encouraged to consider, through suitable activities, the broader subject of the conservation of all the natural resources from which the wealth of the Commonwealth is derived. That is a very powerful charge to look around your region and see where you can participate in such an activity. I am sure you can find an April 28th Arbor Day celebration in a nearby municipality or city. That’s always a great day to help plant trees along streams, streets, or in a local park. Perhaps you might partner with the Bureau of Forestry to help a service forester deliver Tree City USA certificates to your local town; Arbor Day is a busy day for these folks and they get stretched pretty thin trying to get to all the events. Your assistance could be very welcome.
Another agency that typically conducts activities during that week is your local Conservation District. Each county has a Conservation District that is involved in environmental awareness activities such as tree seedling sales, tree plantings, nature hikes, float trips, stream clean-ups, litter clean-ups, and legislative breakfasts. Conservation Districts are typically short-staffed; so again your assistance would be welcomed with open arms. One year I had the opportunity to participate in a river cleanup. Using canoes, a small group of us pulled over 200 tires plus tons of trash out of the Juniata River. As a fisherman on the Juniata, I know there are tens of thousands of more tires in the river. The Perry and Juniata Conservation Districts have an ongoing competition to see who can recycle the most tires during their spring events, but getting them out of the river is a monumental task that can use more volunteers.
If you can’t make it to a planned event, create your own. Get your neighbors to help you walk a road or street to pick-up trash and take it to a recycling center, or ask Penn DOT if you can help with one of their litter pick-up projects. Some of my neighbors walk our township road for exercise but also carry plastic bags to pick up beverage cans. One day we picked up eighty-six beer cans, almost all the same brand and all squeezed in the middle and tossed out along the road. By happenstance we found the neighboring farmer who had cases of that same beer on his back porch. A few kind words stopped the littering. If you chose to pick-up litter along roads, exercise care and check with local officials for permission or guidance.
Invite your neighbors to a walk in the woods, plant trees, check on your bluebird or wood duck boxes, mend fences, paint boundaries, remove and replace old signs, open clogged culverts, plant food plots, or cut fuelwood for an elderly friend. I am sure if you gave it some thought you could use the Rothrock Memorial Conservation Week to empower yourself and your friends to keep Pennsylvania beautiful.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Forestry Association or about becoming a member, visit the website or call 800-835-8065.
- PFA President