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Alder renewal effort planned for Saturday, February 24

Photo of alder thicket to be cut for wildlife.

TIONESTA — Want to help wildlife? Volunteers for the Ruffed Grouse Society plan the renewal of alder for wildlife at Tionesta Lake for the second year in 2024. Woodcock, ruffed grouse, warblers, rabbits, mice, voles, bobcats, and foxes all use the habitat created by an alder thicket. As alder grows and gets too old, it starts to ‘lay down’ and roots will decay. But, a simple and proven wildlife habitat management technique of stump cutting will remove the older stems and put abundant sunlight back on the ground and cut stump, and cause the alder to put up abundant new growth. This new growth will provide habitat for many birds and small mammals over the next thirty years after the stump cutting.

No special skills are needed by volunteers to help on this project – come on out and help pile cuttings to create brush piles for wildlife! If volunteers are willing to help on this project, please contact Jed Hamberger at jedhamberger@gmail.com because we need to know what kind and how many tools to bring to support the volunteer effort. Tionesta Lake staff will be working alongside volunteers to support the renewal effort.

Tentative dates planned for the alder renewal are two Saturdays, Feb. 24 and March 30. The March 30 date will only be used if the project is not finished on Feb. 24, or if we need another day because of poor weather.

The meeting spot will be the parking lot of the Mount Zion Lutheran Church at 2048 German Hill Road, Tionesta. Volunteers should be at the parking lot by 10 a.m. and plan on two to three hours of work. We will caravan to the alder site from the parking lot.

The alder renewal process involves volunteers working in teams of three. One person with all the required safety equipment will operate a chainsaw to cut stumps that are one to five inches in diameter. A second person piles brush and uses loppers to cut stumps less than one inch in size. A third volunteer piles brush. Alder will be cut within an area of 30 feet square adjacent to a user-created trail through the thicket. Boots, jackets, gloves, and hats will be required of volunteers. The Ruffed Grouse Society will furnish any needed equipment.

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