Not since my wedding in 1982 have I taken off two weeks in a row at work, and getting back into the office Monday morning reminded me why. Back then, a much simpler time, you merely had to deal with the U.S. mail and phone messages. Today, emails have more than tripled the workload since 30 years ago.
There's plenty to catch up on in the outdoors world, not the least of which is reminding everyone — non-hunting nature lovers included — to purchase a 2014-15 Pennsylvania state hunting license. Fees from the license purchase go toward maintaining state game lands and habitat initiatives, projects that should be near and dear to all hunters, conservationists, naturalists and birders.
Antlerless deer permit applications for state residents go on sale at most county treasurers' offices statewide beginning July 14, but remember that both Lehigh County and Philadelphia County treasurers have opted out of selling the permits, so do not send your applications to those county treasurers' offices.
Nonresidents of the state can begin applying for their antlerless permits on July 28. Unsold licenses for wildlife management units will go on sale Aug. 4, with a second round of those sales kicking off Aug. 18.
Hunting licenses are available at a variety of issuing agents in our region, regional and main offices of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and online at the game commission website at http://www.pgc.state.pa.us.
Permits to use the gun ranges on state game lands for nonhunting license holders are $30, and can be purchased at the same locations as hunting licenses. A 70-cent transaction fee is added to each license and permit purchase. An adult hunting license costs just $20.70.
2014 Friends of the Lehigh: A few weeks back, my wife, Lois, and I had the opportunity to take part in one day of the 2014 Lehigh River Sojourn. We paddled through whitewater stretches from Jim Thorpe to Walnutport on Sunday, June 22, in a canoe, and did so safely without tipping over or swamping the boat while paddling in a group of about 80 other canoes and kayaks.
The next afternoon, I met the group at lunchtime on the Lehigh County side of the Treichler's Bridge, where Kevin Fister of the Wildlands Conservancy explained upcoming boat launch improvement projects there and in Walnutport.
Monday night, after the three-day paddle concluded, Wildlands Conservancy hosted the closing ceremony and presented the 2014 Friend of The Lehigh awards that recognized local conservation leaders.
The late Donald R. Marushak, most known for his role with the Allentown public parks system as the environmental coordinator who developed and expanded Buck Boyle, Keck, Lehigh Parkway, Roosevelt and Trout Creek parks, was one of three recipients.
Marushak was a science teacher at Allen and Dieruff high schools, but was also one of the region's original environmental warriors, helping to procure and preserve open space on Lehigh Mountain and South Mountain through extensive work with Allentown, Salisbury Township and Lehigh County.
He finished his career by teaching biology at Whitehall High School and Lehigh Carbon Community College.
Ralph Carp, the director of public parks and property for Bethlehem, was honored for his work in leading the reassessment of the Monocacy Creek watershed and a stream bank stabilization project along the Monocacy in Illick's Mill Park.
Anthony Moyer, the principal at Willow Lane Elementary School in the East Penn School District, was honored for his innovative approach that incorporated the principles of a clean and protected environment into the school's daily curriculum. In addition to reaching out to Wildlands Conservancy for educational programs, he is helping set the tone at strategic sessions that will determine the future environmental education programs for his school and others.
Brodhead Watershed Walk: Join the Brodhead Water Association and Pocono Heritage Land Trust for "Where in the Watershed Walk" No. 6 at the Slaughterhouse Bend of the McMichael Creek at the edge of Glenbrook Country Club in Stroud Township 1-4 p.m. Saturday.
Naturalist Don Miller and BWA member Jeff Feick, the grounds manager at Glenbrook, will lead the walk on the moderately difficult trail, exploring a limestone spine, calcium-loving plants and riparian buffers along the McMichael.
The hike carries a $5 fee payable at the start of the journey. Preregistration is requested by calling the Pocono Heritage Land Trust office at 570-424-1514, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kid time: Looking for things to do with your kids this summer?
Lehigh Gap Nature Center near Slatington is holding "4B Walks' 10 a.m. every Thursday through Aug. 7. Doug Burton, Barb Egerton and Dan Kunkle lead the walks for families and children to find birds, butterflies, bugs and blooms.
Trek out to Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center near Wind Gap 6:30-8 p.m. this Friday for Family Night, featuring an outdoor adventure followed by a craft. Family Night takes place the second Friday of August as well. To register, contact Lauren Forster at 610-746-2801 or email email@example.com.
Jacobsburg is hosting the Northampton County Junior Conservation School July 13-20, which is sponsored by the Northampton County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and JEEC. The camp is for boys and girls ages 14-17, and includes camping, canoeing, hiking, birding, sharp shooting and more. Contact Andy Curtis, the program director, at 215-679-0259 for more information.
Jacobsburg will also hold a Butterflies of Jacobsburg walk with Bill Grant 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 26. Contact Rick Wiltraut at 610-746-2810 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Wildlands Conservancy also has a host of programs this month, including a Get Out! Lehigh Valley Lehigh River Bike & Boat 10 a.m. this Saturday, a Moonlight Bike & Boat 6 p.m. this Saturday, Get Your Tail on the Trail Bike & Boat 9 a.m. Saturday, July 19, and a Bird & Nature Trek 8 a.m. Saturday, July 19. For more information or to register for Wildlands program, go online to http://www.wildlandspa.org or call 610-965-4397, extension 136.
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