Two helpful tools from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) are now available to guide landowners and gardeners in developing “backyard habitats” beneficial to wildlife.
“Landscaping for Wildlife in Pennsylvania,” written by noted nature writer Marcus Schneck, features descriptions, drawings and photos of ideal habitat for a variety of species, from hummingbirds to bats, as well as construction plans for wildlife nesting boxes. The book also contains a chapter on nuisance wildlife, as well as information on native species and a list of recommended plants. It can be ordered through the PGC website at www.pgc.state.pa.us  or by calling 888/888-3459.
Making it easier to implement the book’s guidance is PGC’s upcoming tree and shrub seedling sale offered through its Howard Nursery, set for January 3 through April 20. The nursery has been producing and distributing 2.7 to 6 million seedlings annually since 1954.
The bare-root seedlings, which usually ship in April and are sold in bundles of 25, are suitable for uses such as wildlife food and cover, watershed protection, soil erosion control and for reclamation of disturbed areas, such as surface mine sites and utility right-of-ways. A description of each species is available under “Tree Seedling Index” at www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=636958&mode=2 .
The selection of native trees and shrubs is being expanded annually. With the exception of black locust, all of the hardwoods are grown from seed collected and processed by PGC personnel from Pennsylvania sources.
Landowners who have land open to public hunting and are enrolled in one of the PGC’s public access programs are eligible to receive up to 500 free seedlings annually, as available. Enrolled cooperators with more than 500 acres are eligible for one free seedling per acre enrolled up to a maximum of 10,000 seedlings annually, as available.
Order forms and information will be available on the agency’s website at www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=636779&mode=2 . Forms can also be obtained at PGC offices or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Howard Nursery, 197 Nursery Road, Howard, PA 16841. The nursery can also be reached at 814/355-4434.