Wild Notes Spring 2010 edition

Spring 2010

*You can also download the entire issue in PDF form.

Cosmo's World


A Word from the Wild - by Greg Czarnecki, Executive Director, W R C P

Now that we’re starting a new year, it’s a good time to take stock of what we accomplished in 2009. It might sound trite, but in today’s financial climate, surviving is the new thriving, so we’re very happy to have some accomplishments to talk about.

Budget cuts meant that we had to stop printing Keystone Wild!Notes, but now that it’s exclusively online, it’s bigger and better than ever. We can now include web links, videos, and other interactive options. Unfortunately, the budget cuts also meant that we had to say goodbye to our outstanding editor, Linda Steiner. In her short tenure she made some very positive
changes to the format and content, and we thank her for that. Beginning with this issue the editing and layout will be done by one of our long- time contributors, Jessica Sprajcar.

A Pokcet Guide to Pennsylvania Snakes

In collaboration with the Pennsylvania State Museum, we sponsored the publication of A Pocket Guide to Pennsylvania Snakes. The book is getting rave reviews and is the first in a series of inexpensive field guides that we’ll be publishing. Look for an amphibian guide to come out later this year.

One of the year’s highlights occurred in September when Cosmo’s World won an Emmy® Award. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-Atlantic Chapter presented the award in the Children/Youth/Teen
Program or Special category. Since its release late in
2008, the film series has been provided to every public
school in Pennsylvania, posted on YouTube and distributed to environmental educators across the state.

Unfortunately, our grant program did not fare as well last year, and we had to make a significant cut in the number of grants awarded. Our grant funding allocation was cut by two-thirds, so we were only able to make three grants during this cycle. Nonetheless, they support important work on county natural heritage inventories, rare plant surveys, and identifying Pennsylvania species most at risk from climate change.

Cosmo Squirrel the Star
Cosmo Squirrel, star of Cosmo's World, is now an Emmy award winning "actor"

But enough about the past, what about the year that lies ahead? Indications are that it will be another trying year financially. The Environmental Stewardship Fund, which is the source of our grant funding, has declined significantly, and without a new source of funding, we will probably make only a small number of grants again this year.

We do, however, have some exciting things to look forward to. We are working with several state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and universities to develop a strategy to help our native species cope with climate change. We will be hosting a research conference, Adapting to Climate Change in Pennsylvania—Planning for the Future of Our Natural Resources, at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie on April 30. This will be the first time that experts from around the state come together to seriously discuss what we know, what we don’t know, and how we should approach natural resource climate change adaptation.

Kids interacting with a turtle at the Wild Resource Festival
See and interact with real, live animals

On the following day, we’ll hold our 6th Wild Resource Festival, which last time drew more than 1,100 visitors. Once again this year participants will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with researchers, conservationists, and educators about their work, go on field trips, and tour the research labs at the Ridge Center.

These are just a few of the accomplishments from the past year and some of those that we look forward to in 2010. We’ll also be busy looking for new ways to rejuvenate our grant program, provide more opportunities for Pennsylvania’s citizens and businesses to support our important work, and focus even more on developing climate change adaptation strategies.


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