Dear friend,

Spending time outside offers so many benefits. You can exercise at the pace and intensity that's just right for you, enjoy quality time away from screens and phones with friends and family, and calm your mind with the soothing sights and sounds of nature. What's your favorite reason for stepping outside lately?

We all know invasive plants can be harmful to ecosystems, and this week's article takes a closer look at this topic. Read about and explore areas where invasive plants are being actively managed and understand why this work is a key part of ClearWater's mission. Read the full article on the Centred Outdoors website where you can find informative articles on 20 topics , including pollinators, geology, historic land uses, birds and much more.

Spending time in nature is a convenient and enjoyable way to manage the many changes and challenges we all face related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running is an allowable activity under red and yellow phases of Pennsylvania's phased reopening plan, as long as social distancing is maintained. Please help keep our communities safe during by reviewing PA's recommendations and guidelines for outdoor activity and outdoor recreation guidance from PA DCNR.

Thanks! We hope you enjoy your next adventure, big or small!
Dan Trew, Adventure Coordinator
and the entire Clearwater Conservancy Crew
Why remove invasives from all places?
Learn something new!
Invasive plant and tree species pose a serious threat to the ecosystem balance of Pennsylvania. Invasives usually out-compete native plants in the same environmental conditions. This is mostly because the natural controls that keep the invasive species in check in their native ranges are not present in our environment. They also often have wide-ranging effects over simply crowding out native plants. Invasive species “green up“ earlier than native species and also hold leaves and fruit longer in the growing season, making them highly competitive to natives. Many invasive plants are also unpalatable to native species that need to eat plants, notably white-tailed deer.

Invasive plants are categorized by the potential threat they pose to the native species or agriculture. Invasive plants that pose a significant economic impact to farmers, in cropland or forest, are placed higher than those that have yet to become “naturalized” (meaning they have not been found to spread widely on their own and are less aggressive in displacing desirable species). Some of these plants may only spread in recently disturbed areas (such as timber harvests, tilled land, or recent construction) and are placed lower on this index. With a changing climate, some invasive plants that present a problem in surrounding states may find new regions more habitable and will expand their range. While they have yet to become widespread problems in Pennsylvania, they are watched carefully, and active measures can be taken to ensure they do not become established here.

Many species of invasive plants were not always considered a problem, and some were even introduced for erosion control or landscaping. Most, however, escaped gardens or their original cultivation. Often a plant gets its start through human activities. These vectors can be as benign as European settlers wanting their homes to resemble those they left, or for purposeful reasons such as using the plant for erosion control or living fences. 

While these plants served their initial purposes well, often to great acclaim by their original introducers, over time their impact on our native plant communities and ecosystems has been negative. The native plants that evolved with multitudes of native pollinators, birds, and other cute-and-cuddlies face extreme competition with the aggressive newcomers. Other invasives can alter the soil composition - either through actively introducing inhibiting chemicals or absorbing more nutrients and leaving the soil unsuitable for other plants.
Tips & Tricks:
The following areas demonstrate locations you can visit to see how modern invasive management policies are used to keep these nuisances from damaging some of our most important ecologic areas. These areas utilize the hard work of volunteers to maintain the native populations and mitigate the spread of invasive species. If you'd like to be notified of upcoming opportunities to volunteer with ClearWater Conservancy to remove invasive plants and/or plant new, native ones, please email

ClearWater Conservancy and our conservation partners control invasive species on the Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor and all of our riparian buffer project sites annually.  

Alan Seeger , as part of the Rothrock State Forest has the aid of several volunteer organizations that maintain the trails and help remove invasive from them that could be tracked to ecologically sensitive areas.

Millbrook Marsh Nature Center provides hands-on education on invasive species management from school-aged children to adults. 

The Mount Nittany Conservancy actively works to defend the mountain from encroachment of popular escaped landscaping plants and preserve many of the original regrowth on the mountain. 

All along the Spring Creek Canyon multiple groups work to keep invasives at bay on the land as well as in the aquatic realms. 
Choose your own adventure!
More information about the mentioned sites:

What to bring on your adventure:
  • A refillable water bottle 
  • Sturdy and water-resistant footwear
  • Long pants and high socks may be preferred for additional protection from insects and ticks
  • Child carrier/backpack is recommended for very young children 
  • Binoculars for bird and wildlife watchers
  • A light snack or picnic lunch

Indoor Adventure
Click the above image for directions in how to create paper from invasive species with your kids! This is a great re-purpose of invasive plants.
Become a Master Naturalist!
Apply by June 5 for fall course
Pennsylvania Master Naturalist is a statewide partnership initiative that aims to connect people with their local ecosystems through intensive natural science training and local conservation service work. ClearWater Conservancy will be acting as the partnering organization for Centre County.

The program is scheduled for fall 2020 (August – October). The applications for this year's class are due June 5 (extended from the original June 1). At this time, we are hopeful that the in-person training program can proceed, depending on the health and safety guidelines in place at that time. PMN is working on a remote training option in case that is needed.

You can watch this brief, recorded webinar to learn more about the program, review the steps and timeline to apply, and discuss your questions.
Please send any questions to
Stress less, discover more! Share your nature photos with ClearWater and Centred Outdoors by tagging #findyourcentre when you post to social. Or, email your photos to!
ClearWater Conservancy | 814-237-0400 | |