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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.

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

  • Atlantic white cedar trunk, located near the tidal Maurice River in southern New Jersey. Photo by Ryan Davis

What’s That Conifer? (Part 1 of 2)

Conifers are important members of our forests year-round, but visually are most prominent during the winter when their evergreen leaves stand out in a sea of dormant deciduous limbs. To the untrained eye these trees may all look the same, but there is a vast amount of diversity among this ancient group of plants. Conifers

Deck the Halls With Native Holly

A mature American holly, Ilex opaca. Photo by Ryan Davis. Sixteen species of holly (the genus Ilex) are native to North America. Two of the most widespread eastern species, American holly (Ilex opaca) and winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), are commonly used for holiday decorations due to their cheerful red berries and, in the

Resurrection of the American Chestnut

Resurrecting something from the dead is a classic scary story plotline, but there is nothing spooky about efforts to bring back our American chestnuts (Castanea dentata). The grand, incredibly valuable tree has been functionally extinct for the past century, but efforts are underway to restore it as a component of our eastern forests. The

American Chestnut: Ghosts of Our Eastern Forests

A dead American chestnut, Castanea dentata. Photo by Robert Llewellyn. Our woods are haunted. Generations ago, there was a massacre that left few survivors, and our nation has never been the same. The ghosts of the victims still cling to our forests, reminding naturalists and hikers of what was lost. This isn’t fiction.

Forests for the Bats, Part IV: White-Nose Syndrome

In October, bats are everywhere. Images of them, at least. The mammals typically are hibernating by Halloween, tucked away in caves and deep rock crevices. Summertime is when you will see real bats around, but if you live in the northeast or mid-Atlantic, you have likely seen dramatically less bats foraging in the summer dusk

Woodland Stewardship Networks Connect Neighbors and Our Forested Landscape

Many species, including the cerulean warbler, suffer in a homogenous, unmanaged landscape. Woodland Stewardship Networks are helping landowners to create multiple patches of nearby habitat with their neighbors, which should help populations of cerulean warblers and many other species of conservation concern to grow. Photo by Robert Royse. It can be challenging to

  • Ailanthus seedling growing through cracks in concrete in Lancaster, PA.

Tree-of-Heaven, a Devilish Invader

Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima): a tree that elicits curses and anger wherever it grows and is recognized. The non-native plant's angelic name belies its destructive nature. It spreads prolifically by seeds and root sprouts, forming thick groves that completely dominate sunny areas within just a few years. Beneficial native plants are quickly outpaced, shaded out, and replaced