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About Ryan Davis

Ryan is the Alliance's Program Manager for our Chesapeake Forests program. He focuses on forest conservation and restoration within the watershed in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York.
  • A close up photo of the eldeberry inflorescence (flower)

Respect Your Elderberries

Despite being scruffy, warty, and alien-looking, common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a magnificent shrub. It is hugely beneficial to pollinators and other wildlife and produces a fruit that is prized for food and medicine alike. Elderberry is also incredibly hardy, fast-growing, and prolific, making it a surefire choice for restoration plantings. Though it is

Of Willows and Willow Flycatchers

Fitz-bew! This year I didn’t hear the familiar bird song until mid-May. I was checking up on a riparian forest buffer site which I am always delighted to visit. The landowner is enthusiastic, generous, and a great steward, and had recently enrolled in the Alliance’s buffer program to reforest a wet pasture that is

MLB: Major League Birds

Are you missing professional sports as the nation pulls together to slow the spread of COVID-19? In case watching old games is getting...well...old, we figured that our first ever Forests for the Birds celebration of spring would be the perfect occasion to highlight the avian Major League Baseball mascots and the teams that endear

  • A single trout lily plant growing among the leaf litter on a forest flower.

Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers: Fleeting Friends of the Forest Floor

I love being in the woods at all times of the year. I’ll even gladly take the bitter cold of winter or sweltering heat of summer. But forests in the spring are exciting! A good month before most trees leaf out, another cadre of old friends return to our lives: spring ephemeral wildflowers. There

Don’t Forget Where You Came From: the case for a grassroots surge in celebrating the 50th Earth Day

As a thirty-year-old, I cannot personally speak about the first Earth Day. But I do know that 50 years ago we had no Environmental Protection Agency, no Clean Water Act, and appallingly inadequate proto-versions of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Air Acts. Rivers were burning, DDT was sprayed from airplanes across America, and people

  • Close up of a single American woodcock.

Big Romantic Gestures from the Little American Woodcock

Romance is in the air. For the American woodcock (Scolopax minor), that’s a literal statement. The courtship ritual of the woodcock is the most elaborate that I’ve seen outside of Homo sapiens, and is a must-see for lovers of forests, birds, or flirtation. In the southerly parts of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, lucky residents

  • A close up of the flower, rudbeckia

Resolve to Lose a Little Lawn in 2020

There are many good reasons to have a lawn. A lawn can be used for overflow parking, a space for children and dogs to play, or as a stable surface for heavy foot traffic around buildings and houses. But about ten percent of the land in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is lawn cover. Do

Forests for the BATS Part IV: Riparian Forest Buffers for Bats

Our streams need trees. The very best thing we can do for water quality is to protect and increase the amount of streamside (or, if you’re inclined to speak Latin, riparian) forest cover. In the conservation world we call these strips of recently planted streamside trees riparian forest buffers; they are protecting our water

Correctional Conservation Collaborative Trains New Generation of Riparian Forest Buffer Professionals

Participants in the Riparian Forest Buffer Vocational Training hear about the finer points of buffer maintenance from Trevor Weaver (right), Watershed Specialist for the Mifflin County Conservation District and Ryan Davis (left), PA Forest Program Manager for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. Photo by Shea Zwerver On a sweltering July afternoon, a

  • A Riparian Ranger peeks into a tree tube to check whether tree within it is healthy.

Riparian Rangers: Volunteer Stewards of Our Streamside Forests

The Alliance is seeking motivated Pennsylvanians dedicated to clean water to become Riparian Rangers! A Riparian Ranger is more than a volunteer opportunity; it’s a chance to shepherd a streamside restoration project from its flashy beginnings through the part that really matters: after the trees are planted. A Riparian Ranger is assigned a streamside

  • Buckets of freshly cut live stakes are stored in the back of a car.

Live Staking: A Trusty Technique for Planting Trees and Shrubs on the Cheap

Live staking (or propagation by cutting) almost seems too good to be true. Cut a stem from certain species of trees and shrubs and drive it into the ground, and a new plant will grow there! This method, if executed correctly, has a high success rate, and can be a very affordable if not free

What’s That Conifer? (Part 2 of 2)

Last month, in What's That Conifer? (Part 1 of 2), we detailed the genera of the Cupressaceae family found in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Still pining for conifer identification knowledge? Read on to learn about the Pinaceae family, which contains firs, spruces, hemlocks, and of course, pines. Pinaceae is one of the most important tree