Habitat Projects

Fort Indiantown Gap, Southeastern Pennsylvania

"Training-scape" Helps Soldiers, Wildlife

It sounds like a contradiction in terms: An active military base that’s a wildlife hotspot. But at Fort Indiantown Gap in central Pennsylvania (known simply as “the Gap”), staff conservationists are shaping a landscape for military training while simultaneously making and maintaining thousands of acres of wildlife habitat, including native grasslands and young forest, rare and getting rarer in the Northeast where mature forest increasingly dominates the land.

Small Landowner Project, Southeastern Pennsylvania

Little Habitat Patches Help Wildlife, Too

Ten years ago Carl and Mary Graybill built a handsome Colonially inspired house on 5.5 acres near Annville in southeastern Pennsylvania. Carl is the retired director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Bureau of Information and Education. He and Mary love watching wildlife – which was not all that common on the intensively farmed landscape where the Graybills built their new home. So they decided to do something about it: Turn part of a farm field into young forest.

Rusk County, Northcentral Wisconsin

Openings and Alders for Wildlife

Mike Gardner owns a small farm in northern Wisconsin about 100 miles south of his home along Lake Superior. The 42-acre parcel is “small enough that I can manage it intensively,” Gardner says. In 2012, he got help from the Ruffed Grouse Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to improve the habitat on his land for woodcock and other young forest wildlife.

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Northern Wisconsin

Bringing Back Aspen

Aspen shows its beauty in all seasons, from pale green spring foliage to quaking yellow leaves in autumn. It yields valuable forest products from pulp for paper to chips for strandboard to biomass for generating electricity. Especially when it’s young, aspen provides food and homes for a broad range of wildlife. There are all sorts of reasons for keeping aspen a major component of our northern woodlands, and on Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, conservationists are working to do just that.

Filling a Habitat Need on Five Minnesota Refuges

Giving Refuges a Larger Presence on the Land

In the early twentieth century, conservationists set up many of our country’s National Wildlife Refuges as places where ducks and geese could breed, and rest and feed during their twice-yearly migrations. Since then, habitat management on refuges has often focused on improving conditions for waterfowl.

Southern New Jersey Young Forest Habitat Network

Birds in Passage Point the Way

It’s a dramatic sign of autumn: the southward migration of birds. In the East, millions of these migrants follow the Atlantic Flyway down the coastal seaboard east of the Appalachians. A critical part of this route runs through southern New Jersey, where birds funnel down the Cape May Peninsula to the mouth of Delaware Bay.

Johns River Basin, Northern New Hampshire

Managing for Wood, Water, and Wildlife

The Johns River Basin is true North Woods country: birch and aspen trees with twinkling pale-green leaves set against deep-green spires of spruce and fir. Here hikers, hunters, or birders might focus their binoculars on a tiny Canada warbler or alder flycatcher singing in a thicket; spot a big-footed snowshoe hare trying to outrun, across the snow, an equally big-footed Canada lynx; or see a broad-antlered bull moose feeding in a wetland or lumbering across a logging road.

Ross Lake Wildlife Area, Southern Ohio

Blood, Sweat – and No Tears

Three years after he helped plan a series of timber harvests at Ross Lake Wildlife Area in southern Ohio, biologist Mike Reynolds figured he ought to go back there and see how things were coming along. It was a sunny day in late August, with temperatures in the 90s.

Mount Nebo Wildlife Management Area, Western Maryland

Remembering a Committed Conservationist

Al Geis was an accomplished and persuasive man. A scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he did pioneering research on birds in urban settings, including discovering their food preferences. (You can thank him for pointing out that so many of our birds love to eat black-oil sunflower seeds.) He turned his farm into a wildlife sanctuary – and persuaded a neighbor to set aside more than 1,000 acres of prime real estate for wildlife. Recently a new habitat demonstration area was set up in his memory.

Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

"Management by Match"

"I'd like to get it all to the stage where it's 'management by match,' " says David Crary, fire management officer on Cape Cod National Seashore. Crary is referring to some 18,000 acres of upland habitat that planners consider to be "burnable" on the 43,500-acre Seashore.