Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Help Wanted: PA Assn For Sustainable Agriculture Executive Director

The PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Executive Director.  Applications are due September 15.  Click Here for all the details.

Friends Of Allegheny Wilderness Allegheny River Cleanup Sept. 10-17

The Friends of Allegheny Wilderness will hold the 2016 Allegheny River Cleanup September 10 to 17.  This marks the eighth consecutive year for the cleanup.
The cleanup will take place over five days:
-- September 10: Conewango Creek (Front Street to Point Park, 3.5 Miles) — Meet at Point Park in Warren at 9:00 a.m. for registration and shuttle to the Front Street launch site in North Warren.
-- September 12: Conewango Creek (Larimer Park to Front Street, 5 Miles) — Meet at Front Street launch site in North Warren at 9:00 a.m. for registration and shuttle to Larimer Park launch site. The Front Street launch site is at the foot of Hackney Meadows Lane off of Conewango Avenue.
-- September 13:  Allegheny River (Wildwood to Tidioute Boat Launch, 7.5 Miles) — Meet at Tidioute Boat Launch at 9:00 a.m. for shuttle to Wildwood. This portion of the Clean-Up includes the federally designated Courson Wilderness Island.
Courson Island (photo) is part of the Allegheny Islands Wilderness, designated as such when President Ronald Reagan signed the Pennsylvania Wilderness Act into law in October of 1984. It is a 62-acre alluvial island situated about two miles north of Tidioute. It is the island that can be clearly seen while looking north up the Allegheny River from the famous Tidioute Overlook site.
For a more detailed description of Courson Island, see page 76 in the Native Tree Society’s report, Trees and Forests of the Allegheny River Islands Wilderness and Nearby Islands.
-- September 16: Allegheny River (Tidioute Boat Ramp to West Hickory, 8 Miles) — Meet at West Hickory boat launch at 9:00 a.m. for registration and shuttle to Tidioute Boat Ramp. Volunteers will be briefed about island locations, trash hot spots and other information at the launch site. If you’d like to volunteer but do not want to get on the water, shore helpers will be needed beginning at 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
-- September 17: Allegheny River (Point Park to Buckaloons, 7 Miles) — Meet at Buckaloons Recreation Area near the boat ramp at 9:00 a.m. for shuttle to Point Park in Warren. Volunteers will be briefed about trash hot spots and other information at the launch site. If you’d like to volunteer, but do not want to get on the water, shore helpers will be needed beginning at 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
So what do volunteers do? Canoers and kayakers will pick up trash as they paddle downriver. Sometimes they will need to get out along the shore to pick up objects on the riverbank — this is where muck boots or waders come in handy.
When your boat is full of garbage, float to the nearest trash drop-off point. On-shore volunteers will be needed at these points to unload boats full of “treasures” and sort recyclables from trash, and to stack tires.
Other volunteers will be needed to transport all of these goodies to designated dumpsters, trailers, and storage units.
When you register, you will need to know how many people are in your party in order to reserve your canoes. Limited space is available, so don’t delay. If you do not want to canoe, we still need lots of shore helpers to help unload, sort, and stack all of the bounty of our “harvest,” once the paddlers arrive back to shore.
Be sure to show up on the right day and at the correct time and place designated for your trip. Please don’t be late as this can set off a wave of delays throughout the day.
You can learn more as well as sign up by visiting the Friends of Allegheny Wilderness 2016 Allegheny River Cleanup webpage.

Capital RC&D: Marketing Plan Key To Successful Farm Business Webinar Sept. 12

Participants will engage with Laura Gifford, founder of The Laramie Group, who will lead this session and draw from experiences consulting with small business owners to share the importance and basics of a marketing plan, identifying your brand, and tips for staying on track.
Gifford has over 12 years of experience in developing plans & materials for small businesses and aims to empower business owners to feel in control of their marketing efforts.
She collaborates with the Small Business Development Center at Shippensburg University to host workshops and to serve as consultant for small businesses needing planning, marketing or development assistance. Farmers and small businesses using food products can tap into the resources of SBDC’s throughout the state.
As with in-person workshops, webinar participants may complete marketing handouts during the webinar and ask questions in real-time to help begin their plan development.
Follow-up materials will also be provided for use after the webinar. All tactics and worksheets provided have your limited timeline and budget in mind.
For those unable to participate in the live event, a recording will be available on the Capital RC&D website.
The webinar is free but pre-registration is required by September 9.
For more information or to register, visit the Marketing and Branding For Small Farm Businesses webpage or contact Cheryl Burns at Capital RC&D at 717-241-4361 or send email to: cburns@capitalrcd.org.
Visit the Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council website for additional upcoming workshops and field days.

Delaware County West Nile Virus Mosquito Spraying Set For Aug. 25

The Department of Environmental Protection will conduct a mosquito control operation to reduce high populations of mosquitoes on August 25 in spray in portions of Rutledge Borough and Ridley Township in Delaware County.
Weather conditions and other unexpected events could delay or cancel this spray operation. If conditions do not allow application on August 25  August 29 will serve as the back-up spray date.
The treatments will be administered via truck mounted spraying equipment, spraying residential and recreational mosquito habitats. The equipment dispenses Biomist 3+15 applied at a rate of .75 ounces per acre.
The product is designed to provide quick, effective control of adult mosquito populations. The application material has a very low toxicity profile to mammals and will have negligible impact to non-target insects and the environment.
Certain mosquito species carry the West Nile virus, which can cause humans to contract West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Department of Health, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of contracting West Nile encephalitis.
So far in 2016, West Nile virus has been detected in Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Indiana, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Warren, and York counties.
Individuals can take a number of precautionary measures around their homes to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:
— Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water.
— Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
— Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
— Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year as the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
— Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
— Turn over wheelbarrows and don't let water stagnate in birdbaths.
— Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
— Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers. If a resident has stagnant pools of water on their property, they can buy BTI products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
Additionally, these simple precautions can prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:
— Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
— Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
— When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.
— Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer's instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picardin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.
For more information about West Nile virus and the state's surveillance and control program, visit the West Nile Virus website.
Related Disease Vector Stories:
Delaware County West Nile Virus Mosquito Spraying Aug. 24
Bucks County West Nile Virus Mosquito Spraying Set For Aug. 24 
PA Reports First 2016 Human Case Of West Nile Virus In Indiana County

Millcreek Twp, Erie County Offers New Video On Aquatic Invasive Species

Millcreek Township in Erie County and WQLN-TV have produced a new video on aquatic invasive species and what citizens can do to recognize these species and prevent their spread.
Dr. James Grazio, Aquatic Biologists with DEP’s Office of the Great Lakes, discusses the environmental, economic and health impacts of just a few of the invasive species like zebra mussels, the Asian or Big Head carp and sea lamprey.
Click Here to watch the video.
For more information on invasive species, visit the Fish and Boat Commission Aquatic Invasive Species and the Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker webpages.
The Pennsylvania Sea Grant Program in Erie also has helpful information on their Aquatic Invasive Species webpage.
DEP’s Office of the Great Lakes, located at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, can be contacted by calling 814-833-7474.

Delaware Estuary Partnership Celebrates 20 Years Of Cleaner Water Oct. 6

The Delaware Estuary Partnership will celebrate 20 years of cleaner water, estuary science and education programs on October 6 at Auletto Caterers in Deptford, New Jersey from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m.
This annual celebration typically attracts more than 300 friends and supporters of the Partnership. The evening will include: cocktail reception; hors d'oeuvres and dinner; Delaware Bay oysters; live music; silent and live auctions; and more.
Opportunities abound to get involved, including corporate sponsorship, auction-item donations, and volunteering.
For more information, visit the Delaware Estuary Partnership Celebration webpage or  call (800) 445-4935, extension 120, or send email to Debbie Heaton at: DHeaton@DelawareEstuary.org.

Health, DEP Conduct Exercise To Bolster PA’s Zika Preparedness, Response Planning

The departments of Health and Environmental Protection Monday participated in a tabletop exercise aimed at bolstering the Commonwealth's ability to respond to a potential situation involving local transmission of the Zika Virus in Pennsylvania.
"Exercises, like the tabletop discussion today, are a vital part of the commonwealth's ongoing efforts to be prepared for public health emergencies – like the Zika virus," said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. "Conducting this exercise with the Department of Environmental Protection helps ensure we are better prepared to respond quickly and protect all Pennsylvanians if the Zika virus begins to spread locally in the Commonwealth."
Tabletop exercises are discussion-based sessions where team members meet in an informal setting to discuss their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation. These types of exercises help strengthen preparedness plans.
In the exercise, the fictitious scenario involved a Pennsylvania resident who traveled to Miami, Florida, and later tested positive for Zika after developing symptoms upon returning to the Commonwealth. As part of the scenario, the virus also spread to a young child in the same household. The child did not travel, indicating a local spread of the disease.
Participants in the tabletop exercise discussed the steps that would be taken by each of their agencies throughout the scenario timeline, including things like when the Pennsylvania Zika Virus Response Plan would be implemented and the measures that would be taken regarding vector control of mosquitoes.
Pennsylvania's Zika Virus Response Plan is a document that describes actions that will be taken as the risk of locally acquired cases of Zika increases in Pennsylvania. These actions are considered a phased response to the Zika virus.
"We have already been out to investigate and conduct further surveillance on several imported cases of Zika – today's exercise continued honing our skills and response efforts," said Acting Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "The best response is still prevention, however, and we encourage all Pennsylvanians to take common-sense actions to protect themselves from mosquitoes."
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that generally causes no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they are generally mild and include fever, rash, joint pain and pink eye. Zika rarely kills or causes serious disease.
However, the virus presents a major threat to pregnant women or women who plan to become pregnant. Zika infection during pregnancy has been linked to serious birth defects, including microcephaly in which babies' heads are smaller than normal.
The mosquito that primarily carries the disease has rarely been found in Pennsylvania. A related type of mosquito that can potentially carry Zika has been found in southern and southeastern Pennsylvania. At present, this mosquito does not appear to be as effective at spreading Zika.
This is the time of year when all Pennsylvanians should take preventive measures to prevent mosquito bites, including:
-- Wearing light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers hands, arms, legs and other exposed skin;
-- Staying and sleeping in air-conditioned or screened rooms or under a mosquito net when outdoors; and
-- Staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active.
To control all mosquitoes outside your home or business:
-- Install or repair and use window and door screens;
-- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like buckets, toys, pools, birdbaths or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water;
-- Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitoes rest – dark, humid areas like under patio furniture or under the carport or garage; and
-- Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains.
If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes with wire mesh that consists of holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
Currently, the only confirmed cases of Zika in Pennsylvania are in individuals who contracted the virus while visiting one of the areas where the virus is actively spreading.
Additional information on Zika virus can be found on the Department of Health's Zika Virus website.
Related Disease Vector Stories:
Bucks County West Nile Virus Mosquito Spraying Set For Aug. 24

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