Monday, July 14, 2014

A broad benefit

December 07. 2013 10:49PM

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Chris Traver is so impressed with the amount of work done locally to improve wildlife habitat that he wants other people to be aware of what’s going on.

And maybe even lend a helping hand.

But with more than a half-dozen conservation organization working to improve habitat for virtually every species of wildlife, where does one start?

Traver hopes he found an answer with the Community Conservation Mixer (visit for more information). The event, which will be held March 8, aims to bring together conservation groups and the public in order to highlight what they do, why they do it and, most importantly, how you can help.

“For me, the big thing with these projects is they’re not just benefiting game and wildlife species, but the environment in general,” Traver said. “Improving wildlife habitat also helps with clean water, green space and providing recreation.”

Those groups invited to attend the mixer include local chapters of Pheasants Forever, Pheasants Afield, Ruffed Grouse Society, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, Trout Unlimited, along with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Pennsylvania Game Commission and the North Branch Land Trust.

I’ve seen the work that many of these organizations have done in the area, and, like Traver, I came away impressed every time.

From border cuts, daylighting fruit trees, building brush piles, erecting wood duck boxes and planting food plots, every project yields amazing results.

“We want the general public to know what we do and why we need their support,” said Traver, who is the fundraising chairman of the Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of Pheasants Forever, as well as a member of just about every conservation group in the area.

That support includes financial donations (donations made to many of the groups, such as Pheasants Forever, are used for projects in the area) as well as volunteer time and labor, including grabbing a shovel to plant trees or firing up a chainsaw to cut limbs.

It’s work, but it’s the kind of labor that comes with a big reward.

And just as it is important to educate the public on the work going on, it’s also critical for the conservation groups to be on the same page.

That’s another component of the mixer.

Traver said a lot of the groups don’t have an idea of all of the projects each one is doing. By working together, he said, groups can share equipment and manpower to complete more projects.

Pheasants Forever, for example, has a list of machinery that includes a tractor, grass seeder, corn planter, tiller and sprayers that can be used in partnership with other groups to get a job done.

Traver said there’s even plans of a meeting between all the groups to go over all the projects planned.

“It’s important that everyone’s on the same page because we can really help each other out,” he said. “By working together we can put a lot of habitat in very quickly.”

While many of the members in each of the groups are hunters, it’s important to note that the projects aren’t necessarily done in places where they hunt. Food plots aren’t being planted in front of the chapter president’s deer stand, for example.

While the work benefits hunters indirectly, the scope is much larger.

It’s the reason why Traver has joined so many of the organizations.

“I enjoy the outdoors and I have an 11-year-old son for whom I want to see have the same opportunities to experience what I have,” Traver said. “I can’t begin to imagine how many species these projects benefit, and that’s the main goal.”

That alone is enough to make anyone impressed.

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