Thursday, July 23, 2020

DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Carol Loeffler, Dickinson College

Carol Loeffler
is a professor of biology at Dickinson College, where she focuses on the biology and ecology of rare plant species; and the impacts of deer and other herbivores on forest vegetation.
She works to share her love and excitement for the study and conservation of rare plants with her students.

Carol has always been an eager partner with DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry, contributing time and expertise to further work on state lands.

Carol grew up in Emmaus, Berks County, where she volunteered at the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary, a Wildlands Conservancy property.

She has always enjoyed gardening for wildlife, and, in college, became drawn to the study of plants.

In graduate school at Cornell, Carol studied plant-animal interactions and completed a Ph.D. dissertation on goldenrod-feeding caterpillars.

After moving back to Pennsylvania to take a position at Dickinson College, she began getting to know the state’s rare plant biologists and delved into the rare plants of the state.

Carol monitors rare species like showy goldenrod and rough-leaved aster; and has spent considerable time studying and protecting glade spurge -- a Pennsylvania endangered species.

Carol began by studying populations of this rare plant; and after finding they were in decline due to deer browsing and invasive species, she switched gears to protecting the plant.

While working to protect the rare plant populations, she has worked with DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry in erecting deer fences and doing targeted tree and plant removal.

Carol also began a program of germinating seeds in the lab -- growing young glade spurge to a size where they could compete with surrounding vegetation, then returning the plants to the sites from which the seeds came.

“I have met wonderful people and have been inspired by their love of botany and rare plants.  I’ve been humbled by the energy and dedication in the botanical community,” Carol says, “I’ve tried to transmit that love of nature, and the excitement of seeing and, better yet, studying and protecting unusual species to my students.”

Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact DCNR by sending an email to: to nominate someone.

[For more information on rare and endangered species in Pennsylvania, visit the PA Natural Heritage Program, the PA Plant Conservation Network, Wild Plant Sanctuaries and Wild Plants webpages 

  [For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.]

(Photo: Carol Loeffler, Dickinson College and the glade spurge.)

(Reprinted from the July 22 DCNR Resource newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Articles:

-- DCNR Concerned About Proposed Maryland National Guard Plan To Fly Very Low-Level Training Flights Over Cameron, Clinton, Elk, McKean, Potter,  Tioga Counties In PA Wilds

-- DCNR Awards $591,975 Grants To Support Volunteer Fire Companies To Fight Wildfires Across PA

-- PA Land Trust Association: More Than 100,000 Pennsylvanians Contribute To PA Land Trusts

-- Heritage Conservancy: Quakertown Swamp, Bucks County, Designated A World Wetland of Distinction

-- Brodhead Watershed Assn. Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge Scavenger Hunt In Monroe County

-- American Battlefield Trust, North American Land Trust Launch Effort To Save Key Part Of Brandywine Battlefield In Delaware County

-- Delaware Highlands Conservancy Hosts Virtual Fundraising Auction July 30 - Aug. 13

[Posted: July 23, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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