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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.

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

Trout in the Classroom

Thousands of trout fingerlings, like this brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), are raised and stocked every year by students in classrooms across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Photo by Ryan Davis. Trout are excellent ambassadors of forested landscapes. They are widely fished for recreation, economically important, and downright charismatic, especially the stunning native brook trout.

The Rugged Ruffed Grouse: Heartbeat of our Winter Forests

Photo credit: Corinne Lamontagne Wintry weather can take a toll on year-round wildlife residents of mid-Atlantic and northeastern forests. For roughly one third of the year, regional forests offer little protective broadleaf cover from predators and the elements, have limited food sources, and are frequently inundated with snow. In response to these lean

Birds, Bugs, and Trees for the Bay

On a warm Saturday morning this fall, over 30 landowners gathered on a property in Baltimore County, Maryland to learn a little about promoting the birds and the bees. Literally. The workshop, titled “Get to Know Your Backyard Habitat”, invited local residents to see an example of stellar wildlife habitat tended by landowners Pascale Meraldi

Mistletoe: A Merry Parasite

Despite occasionally being a bit of a Grinch, something I love about the holiday season is that we fill our houses with wild flora. Dozens of conifer species are displayed in homes as Christmas trees, wreaths of hemlock and fir hang from doors, and sprigs of American holly brighten up rooms with their glossy green

Don’t Let Invasive Plants “Return From the Dead”!

Mile-a-minute (Persicaria perfoliata), oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), and Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) swallowing up a pine in York County, PA. You could be next! Photo by Ryan Davis Invasive plants have a lot in common with zombies. They’re dangerous, hard to dispatch, and have a tendency to surround and overwhelm even the most

Forests for the Bats Part III: Foraging Habitat

Bats are not something that you should be afraid of, but to nocturnal insects there is no greater danger. An individual bat will eat thousands of insects each night! This is good news for humans who want less insect pests, but means that bats need good foraging habitat to satisfy their voracious appetites. In Forests