In an Earth Day tradition (and on a typically unpredictable April day that saw traces of all four seasons), about 90 fifth-graders visited Penn College’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center to celebrate the great outdoors. Moving among hands-on information stations staffed by forest technology students organized by professor Dennis F. Ringling, the schoolchildren were exposed to topics including the history of logging and the importance of soil. The Allenwood-area campus is home to the college’s School of Natural Resources Management, which, weather permitting, annually hosts students from the Montgomery Area School District.
Adding to the natural area outside the Children’s Learning Center, members of the Horticulture Club recently built a tepee to provide shade for children at play. Instructor and club adviser Carl J. Bower Jr. said plans are to grow vines on it to create more of a garden getaway, in line with the center’s desire to connect children to natural objects and materials comparably more wood, stone, sand, grass and plants than manufactured playground equipment. The tepee was created from sweet birch and grapevine that was cut by forest technology students in Penn College’s School of Natural Resources Management. Students in instructor Jack E. Fisher’s Forest Products class also cut a water trough (a hollowed-out log that is meant to catch rainwater for sandbox play) and a balance beam for the children. This isn’t the first time that horticulture students have been a part of the construction of the garden. The students in Bower’s Landscape Operation class laid sod and planted shrubs and trees in the fall, while students in Michael A. Dincher’s Landscape Construction class are building a paver patio and chime fence in the garden. Arboriculture students of Dincher, an assistant professor of horticulture, cabled and braced one of the large oak trees in the area to make it safer. Photos by Carl J. Bower Jr.
Forestry Field Day was held Monday at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center near Allenwood, giving 15 students from three schools the opportunity to see the nature-trail system, log yard and sawmill. The students representing Wellsboro and Bald Eagle high schools and West Branch Christian Academy also competed in Dendrology, Forest Mensuration, a Forestry Quiz Bowl, and Lumber and Log Scaling. Ribbons were awarded to top-scoring students, and the overall winning school will receive recognition for its outstanding forestry knowledge. “It was a good day for the students,” said forestry instructor Jack E. Fisher, who spearheaded the event. “They had fun, enjoyed the campus and, hopefully, they will remember being here and experiencing all we have to offer at the Earth Science campus.” All of the School of Natural Resources Management’s other forest technology faculty were involved: Dennis F. Ringling, professor; Andrew Bartholomay, assistant professor; and Eric C. Easton, instructor, as well as Erich R. Doebler, lab assistant. Forest technology students Dustin S. Beane, of Kane,and Kyle M. Troutman, of Jonestown, assisted with the day’s activities.
Photos by Carol A. Lugg, coordinator of matriculation and retention, School of Natural Resources Management
About 25 students in forestry instructor Jack E. Fisher’s Wildlife Management class got hands-on exposure to birds of prey, as Master Falconer Cheri Heimbach returned to the School of Natural Resources Management this week. One of about 150 falconers in Pennsylvania, Heimbach brought along a Barbary Falcon, a Red-tailed Hawk, an Eagle Owl and a Harris’s Hawk. In addition to learning about the 4,000-year-old art of falconry, students heard details of each bird’s characteristics including flight speed and the power of its beak and talons. Photos by Erich R. Doebler, laboratory assistant for forest technology
The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s process of trapping and banding turkeys was demonstrated for about 15 students in forestry instructor Jack E. Fisher’s Wildlife Management laboratory on Wednesday. On State Game Lands 252, near Penn College’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center, Tony Ross, a wildlife biologist with the commission, showed students how turkeys are trapped in the wild and banded to determine survival rates. Bands are placed on gobblers’ legs and, if the turkey is found or harvested, a hunter can call a toll-free number on the band and collect a $100 reward. “This has been a slower year to trap turkeys due to the exceptionally mild winter, where a lot of natural food is available,” explained Erich R. Doebler, a laboratory assistant for forest technology in the college’s School of Natural Resources Management (who provided the photos above). “Snow normally limits turkeys’ ability to feed on natural food sources and forces them to use food placed by humans.”
Nearly 370 students have petitioned to graduate at the conclusion of the Fall 2011 semester at Pennsylvania College of Technology, which will hold a commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 17.
The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. in the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., Williamsport.
Forestry instructor Eric C. Easton offered a then-and-now assessment of timber management in Pennsylvania during Tuesday’s Fall 2011 Madigan Library Forum in the second-floor reading loft. Easton, a faculty member in Penn College’s School of Natural Resources Management, led his audience on a historical journey from the days of widespread deforestation mainly to provide charcoal to fire the state’s iron-smelting furnaces and supply wood for railroad ties to today’s more-balanced management of woodlands to include recreation and aesthetics.
A recent forest technology graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology and a current student in the same major in the School of Natural Resources Management have been awarded scholarships from the Council of Eastern Forest Technician Schools for their 4.0 GPAs.
May 2011 graduate Lance E. Armstrong, of Muncy, and Matthew R. Crosbie, of Cogan Station, were among the scholarship recipients chosen from CEFTS member institutions, which include dozens of schools with forest technology programs.
The role of timber management in maintaining Penn’s Woods will be discussed by Eric C. Easton, a forestry instructor at Pennsylvania College of Technology, during the Fall 2011 Madigan Library Forum.
The free public forum, “Timber Now and Then: The History of Timber Management in Pennsylvania,” will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in the library’s second-floor reading loft. Light refreshments will be served.
Master Falconer Cheri Heimbach, of Lewisburg, visited forestry instructor Jack E. Fisher’s Wildlife Management class in the School of Natural Resources Management on Tuesday. She displayed a gyrfalcon, Harris’s Hawk and a European owl during her classroom visit, and provided some flight demonstrations outside the Schneebeli Earth Science Center. Photos by Erich R. Doebler, laboratory assistant for forest technology
Invasive species such as autumn olive, exotic honeysuckle and ailanthus know no boundaries as where to take root. Thanks to a combined effort by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania College of Technology forestry students, fewer invasives are likely to survive on State Game Lands #252 near the Schneebeli Earth Science Center.
On March 28 and 30, the Game Commission; Melissa Bravo, a botanist/weed scientist from the Department of Agriculture; and 34 forestry students engaged in basal application to reduce the population of the invasive species.
Pennsylvania College of Technology finished third overall, and 10 of its students placed in their respective events during the Mid-Atlantic Woodsman’s Meet at Penn State Mont Alto.
“It was definitely an opportunity that the students will never forget,” said Erich R. Doebler, laboratory assistant for forest technology in the college’s School of Natural Resources Management. “The weather Saturday (April 16) was not in our favor, but all the teams competing persevered and worked together to make the best of a soggy situation.”
Fifth-graders from Montgomery Elementary School convened in a classroom “as big as all outdoors” on Tuesday, visiting the Schneebeli Earth Science Center for an environmentally themed field trip timed to this month’s Earth Day observance. As they have for a number of years, forest technology students at Penn College (marshaled by Dennis A. Ringling, professor of forestry) staffed a dozen stations to educate rotating groups of pupils on a variety of woodland topics.
“When you signed up for my class, I bet you never thought you’d be doing this,” forestry instructor Jack E. Fisher told two Penn College students, while they gamely swept bat droppings into buckets Monday. Yet it was not an unexpected exercise, given the institution’s hands-on hallmark, as students across the college’s eight academic schools routinely engage in practical application of classroom learning. Protectively clad to prevent inhalation and other exposure, the forest technology students in Fisher’s Wildlife Management course Angela M. Poleto,of Lock Haven, and Corey J. Randall, of Muncy cleared 53 pounds of guano from a bat house erected in 2002 to relocate a colony that had infested the nearby Maple Hill United Methodist Church in Brady Township. The house was built in the School of Natural Resources Management under the supervision of now-retired faculty member Donald Nibert, on hand for this week’s on-site maintenance. From the latest total, down from the 58.6 pounds collected a year ago, Nibert extrapolated that 3,000 bats occupied the “condo” last season. The guano will be sent to the Pennsylvania Game Commission in Harrisburg, where researchers are studying the cause of the White Nose Syndrome that is decimating hibernating colonies of little brown bats throughout the Northeast. “This is not a great reduction in our numbers,” Nibert noted. “But White Nose Syndrome has been confirmed in Lycoming County and it’s bound to have an effect.” Wildlife officials are concerned about the biodiversity imbalance wrought by a widespread death of bats, which can consume nearly their own weight in insects nightly.
The recent donation of a mini excavator will benefit a variety of academic majors within Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Natural Resources Management.
Jon Hume, the Case New Holland product specialist who arranged for the donation, delivered a 2007 E27B mini excavator and an Isuzu engine to the college’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center near Allenwood. The E27B is a low-time, rubber-tracked machine featuring a Yanmar Tier IV engine compliant with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission regulations and a hydraulic “thumb” that enables it to move and stack material.