Wild Notes Summer 2010 edition

Summer 2010

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

Cosmo the flying squirrel


W R C People - Nate McKelvie

Nate standing near top of Mount Washington during his backpacking hike
Hiking to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.

Nate holds barn owl while children observe
MHS students get up close and personal with a young barn owl being held by Nate McKelvie after it was banded at one of the school's nest boxes.


WRCP on facebook - search for PA Wild Resource Conservation Program

Nate McKelvie was born in Bethlehem, Pa. and grew up exploring the mixed agricultural and forested lands of Moore Township where his over-active imagination ran wild as he searched for critters and Indian artifacts. Nate spent a lot of time in the region's state parks, especially Jacobsurg and Hickory Run. Inspired by his mother's inquisitiveness and love for nature, Nate was quite at home in the outdoors. One of the earliest positive experiences he remembers was an educational program by Judy Wink at Hickory Run State Park where she held a live Peregrine falcon. Little did Nate know that one day he would be doing the same thing, and sharing his passion for nature with others as a profession!

Nate is an environmental educator at Milton Hershey School (MHS), Hershey, Pa., where he provides agricultural and environmental programming for students of all ages. Working at the school's Environmental Center, some of his responsibilities include maintaining a collection of reptiles and amphibians for educational use, raising trout for educational programming and stocking, and helping to manage the many warm season meadows on campus. Being a positive male role model and connecting these special kids with nature is Nate's passion and purpose.

As a relatively new member on the WRCP advisory committee, Nate is humbled to be amidst such an amazingly knowledgeable and diverse group of people that
make up the committee. He enjoys contributing to the educational component of the committee as WRCP seeks to support a broader array of educational programs. Nate's favorite part of being in this role is the great discussions held during the review process of grant applications. He says that, “It is a real learning experience and inspiring to see the variety of quality research and programming being implemented statewide relating to biodiversity.”

When not at MHS, Nate spends much of his free time outdoors, biking (his preferred mode of transportation to work), birding, hunting and canoeing. In the summer of 2006, Nate, his wife Christie and two friends rode their bicycles from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast. They crossed through amazing landscapes and enjoyed the uniqueness of each one. Yet as they traversed the varied landscape of Pennsylvania, they all agreed on just how much they loved our state the most! In the fall, Nate is a bird bander on the crew of the Ned Smith Center's Saw-whet Owl Research Program. Nate and his wife also enjoy serving at their church and community, working with the local Audubon Society and the Horseshoe Trail Conservancy, and spending time with their two amazing little boys.

When asked why he thinks WRCP is so important, Nate gives a quote from A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold: "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." Nate believes that understanding biodiversity and the role each component of the natural world plays in the grand web of life should be at the foundation of all our endeavors. He goes on to say that, “WRCP is unique in it can look at the big picture, and with biodiversity as its goal, have a
more balanced and effective approach to conservation and preservation. I hope people understand just how hard the WRCP staff works to effectively promote biodiversity, healthy ecosystems, wise ecological decision making, and how carefully they weigh all these components in their programming and the grant application process.”

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Pennsylvania Wild Resource Program