This section lists items you can use, do, pursue, read, or join to learn about Pennsylvania’s wildlife and develop as a naturalist.
Examine your special spot for the diversity of things present. Look for, tally, and differentiate the types of plants, soil particles, clouds, etc. Use a field guide to learn the names of things you don’t recognize. As a second step, write down descriptive phrases in your journal about how different bird calls sound around you.. Does a certain bird’s call sound like words? By associating a bird call with familiar sounds or even words, you will reinforce in your mind the species that you are learning.
How many different things were you able to find? How can you categorize what you found? What other categories can you use? How is your experience of a species different when you have a formal name for it? How does your awareness of a species change when you sketch it?
Make a list of the plant and animal species you find. Use a field identification guide to help you make the list as long as possible. Sketch at least three things you find. Keep an ongoing list over the next couple of months of all the different bird species you have seen.
Seasonal Guide to the Natural Year: a month by month guide to natural events – Mid-Atlantic. Scott Weidensaul. 1992. Fulcrum Publishing: Golden, Colorado. 360 pp.
Written as a travel guide, this book explains how timing is essential part of the natural world. Furthermore, Weidensaul gives suggestions for the most exciting places to visit in the Mid-Atlantic at the different times of year.
Sibley’s Birding Basics . David Allen Sibley. 2002. Alfred A. Knopf : New York, New York. 168 pp.
Sibley’s guide is perfect for the beginning birder, as well as those who have spent time in the field. From providing tips to spot birds to differentiating between subspecies, this guide comes with complete illustrations. Sibley also provides an analysis of weather, gear, geography, and seasons, all of which have an effect on successful birding.
Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program:
This Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP) is a partnership of PA organizations and agencies that helps guide conservation work and land-use planning. In addition to conducting inventories and collecting data on the state’s biodiversity, their website provides a wealth of information on Pennsylvania’s species, complete with factsheets.
National Wildlife Federation Biodiversity Resources:
The National Wildlife Federation’s eNature website offers an electronic field guide, with photographs and information about the appearance and basic biology of Pennsylvania’s mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles & amphibians, trees and wildflowers.
Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology:
The Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology was established in 1990 as a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the study and appreciation of Pennsylvania’s birds and to promote the conservation of these birds and their habitat. The Society hosts an annual meeting that is a weekend filled with field trips and seminars by ornithologist s and researchers. PSO members receive a subscription to Pennsylvania Birds and the PSO Newsletter.
Pennsylvania Chapter of The Wildlife Society:
The Wildlife Society is the professional organization for wildlife managers. The Pennsylvania chapter is a great source of information for people interested in wildlife and habitat information in the state. Click here for The Wildlife Society’s home page.
Unit 5: Water in the Landscape
Updated: June 2018