We had a great time getting together with some of our existing Riparian Rangers at Lancaster County Central Park! It was a great opportunity to have our volunteers meet in person to discuss the rewards and challenges that come with reforestation efforts and to celebrate their achievements in helping young forests get established.

The “Trunk” Riparian Ranger volunteer group (the original group out of our PA office) is taking care of over 140 acres of Alliance-planted buffers. Even more acres planted by various organizations are being maintained by our six “Branch” volunteer groups throughout the watershed. These buffers are comprised of tens of thousands of young trees being nurtured to become mature forests and miles of streams that are now more protected from erosion and runoff. That means cleaner water and more habitat for birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, and other animals that depend on streamside forests!

Two people giving a presentation under a pavilion

Rebecca Lauver, Forests Projects Coordinator, and Rob Frank, Forests Projects Associate, receiving input from Riparian Rangers volunteers.

Riparian Rangers volunteers and Branch leaders from multiple counties shared stories about watching new trees emerge from their tubes, encountering wildlife, and discussing sites where trees were struggling. There was a wonderful exchange of ideas and it was great to connect with everyone who shares a passion for the work. Such a positive gathering buoyed our spirits and motivated us heading into our big, huge, giant fall planting season!

As a thank you to all who attended, we had pizza and snacks, and sent everyone home with a gift card and a watercolor featuring a leaf of one of the native trees we plant, hand painted by PA Forest Team and Ranger Program Coordinator, Rebecca Lauver. Three special awards were also given to attending Rangers:

Treeporter Award, for most monitoring reports submitted: Carol Burry, 26 reports!

Old Growth Award, for longest serving ranger: Brian Koser, 3 years!

Lone Ranger Award, for the most acres taken care of by a single Ranger: Andrew Morrison, 11.3 acres!

Thank you to our Rangers for such commitment!

An award gift basket containing gift cards, a watercolor painting and a award certificate.

While eating pizza, we got the chance to gather direct feedback from attendees on their impressions of the program and ways to improve it. We were very interested and we were listening. The program is expanding, evolving, and improving, and we value our Rangers’ insight!

We sincerely appreciate the hard work Riparian Rangers volunteers are doing to ensure new forest success. Our thanks to everyone involved. We can’t do it without you!