Wednesday, December 23, 2020

DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Noel Schneeberger, Conservation Volunteer

Noel Schneeberger is a DCNR conservation volunteer who donates his time to monitoring and assessing the health of Pennsylvania’s state forests.

Noel’s early years were spent in scouting which honed his skills and interest in the outdoors.

Regular fishing trips with his father off the Jersey shore and in northwestern New Jersey stalking elusive “brookies” left a permanent mark on him in terms of the kind of training and career he wanted to pursue.

Forest health is simply a condition in which forests and trees are robust, resilient, and contribute at their best to the ecosystems in which they exist and the resources and services they provide.

For much of recent history, our forests and trees in Pennsylvania have been under assault from a list of non-native insects and pathogens that seems endless.

Gypsy moth, hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, sirex wood wasp, oak wilt, beech bark disease -- and most recently spotted lanternfly -- are some of the threats facing our forests today.

Active management and intervention are necessary to protect the health of our forests and trees from such invasive pests.

For Noel, it’s fulfilling work that needs to be done. “The work is an investment in the present and the future,” he says. “It permits me to contribute towards maintaining healthy forest and tree resources in Penn’s Woods.”

This past year, Noel’s volunteer work has mainly focused on monitoring hemlock woolly adelgid.

This sucking insect pest attacks the Pennsylvania state tree -- the Eastern hemlock -- causing dieback and decline and eventually death.

Through insecticide treatments to protect high-value hemlocks in unique locations and release of biological control agents, the goal is to protect the valuable hemlock resource in the state.

Eastern hemlock is a foundation species, which means it creates and maintains a habitat that supports other species.

“If you have fished for native trout in a cold-water stream within a hemlock stand, you understand how such a place would be irreversibly changed if the hemlock trees were eliminated by hemlock woolly adelgid,” Noel says.

This invasive management and other projects are specifically addressed within the Bureau of Forestry’s State Forest Resource Management Plan which describes how the long-term health of state forest lands is maintained and enhanced through management, monitoring, and prevention.

Noel says it’s very easy to get involved if you are interested in helping your local forests. A great place to start is any municipal, township, county, or state land near you and ask how you might become involved as a volunteer.

“There is a great need for help and resources to manage and sustain the health of our forest and tree resources here in Pennsylvania,” Noel says. “Volunteers play an important role in providing some of that help. The work is personally rewarding and fun.”

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 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.

(Reprinted from the December 23 DCNR Resource newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Conservation Leadership:

-- 233 Stories: These Conservation Leaders Gave Us Cleaner Water, Land & Air In 2020! They Deserve Our Thanks, Our Support!  

-- Bay Journal: Nearly 30 Landowners Look To Cooperate In Record-Length Stream Restoration Taking Shape In Lancaster County

-- National Assn. Of Abandoned Mine Land Programs Honors DEP's Brian Bradley 

-- DCNR Good Natured Blog: Looking Back On 5 Years Of The PA Outdoor Corps

[Posted: December 24, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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