This year's annual Spring Equinox Celebration at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is Saturday, March 22, with a variety of programs to celebrate nature's renewal. Programs will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and focus on Pennsylvania's natural landscape, plants, wildlife and bird-friendly, shade-grown coffee and cocoa will be served throughout the day.
"As the weather warms and the days lengthen, lots of changes start to take place," Hawk Mountain President Jerry Regan said. "Buds appear, the birds call, early flowers bloom, and it's a great time to learn more about these seasonal changes."
A live raptor demonstration will be held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and a volunteer naturalist will identify birds at the feeder windows from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. For the first 20 visitors to register a guided "Signs of Spring" walk through the Native Plant and beyond will be held at 12:30 p.m. and 1:15 p.m., and children can create a clothespin butterfly or decorate paper cup sunflower seed planters from noon to 2 p.m.
Celebrating 80 years in raptor conservation, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is the world's first refuge for birds of prey and an international center for raptor conservation. Trail fees and membership dues support conservation programs, including public education, professional training and scientific research programs.
For more information on the 2,500-acre sanctuary, its 8-mile trail system and the visitor center that is open to the public year-round, visit www.hawkmountain.org.
For the first time since the mid-1990s, Iowa's deer harvest dropped below 100,000, as hunters reported 99,406 deer for the 2013 season. This is a decline of 14 percent from 2012, when 115,606 deer were taken, and 34 percent from its high in 2006.
"Hunters responded when we asked them to reduce the size of the herd, but now we are encouraging them to work with landowners and base their harvest decisions on local herd conditions," chief of Wildlife for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Dr. Dale Garner said. "Harvest data will be used as a consideration when the DNR begins the process of discussing hunting seasons later this winter."
Deer hunters purchased 359,956 licenses, nearly 18,500 fewer than in 2012, and deer hunting in Iowa provides an economic impact of nearly $214 million, paying more than $15 million in federal taxes and nearly $15 million in state taxes. It supports more than 2,800 jobs and provides more than $67 million in earnings.
Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410-AM WLSH, at 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5-FM and on the Web at www.wmgh.com by clicking the link to the program, features Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission executive director John Arway.
Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited is sponsoring a free fly-tying class at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, 125 Pine St., Tamaqua, Sunday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided courtesy of Tom's Auto Marine Sporting Goods of Tamaqua. Registration is required, as the class is limited to 30 students, by contacting John Bondura at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-640-5300.
Western Pocono Trout Unlimited and Carbon County Environmental Education Center, Summit Hill, is presenting a panel discussion with four of the most prominent land conservancies in northeastern Pennsylvania, Tuesday, March 18, beginning at 7 p.m.
While anglers will want to learn of the many trout waters these groups have preserved and provided access, this is an excellent opportunity for photographers, hunters, birders, hikers and others to learn about land conservation and habitat preservation. There is no registration for this free event, and for information call 570-454-4862.
Honey Hole Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is holding its annual banquet, Saturday, March 29, beginning at 5 p.m., at Lobitz Hall, Hazleton. For information call Wayne Potts at 570-401-3730 or Mark Ferdinand at 570-788-6362.
Seedling orders are available online from the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Howard Nursery. Most seedlings are sold in units of 25, but 100-seedling bundles also are available in mixes to benefit deer, game birds and songbirds, as well as to improve riparian and winter-thermal habitats.
A wide selection of evergreens, shrubs and fruit- and nut-bearing trees are available, and most species are native to Pennsylvania and with the exception of black locust, all of the available hardwoods are grown from seed collected from Pennsylvania sources and processed by PGC personnel. Also available is a mixed-oak collection, which may contain some or all of northern red oak, white oak, chestnut oak, pin oak and black oak seedlings.
Order forms and information about the seedlings for sale are available at the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us. Orders can also be placed by telephone by calling the Howard Nursery at 814-355-4434, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.