In Pa., climate change threatens the state tree, bird and fish. Work is underway to help the native species

Photo credit: PA DCNR Divison of Forest Health

By Karen Hendricks

Under a clear blue sky, feathery eastern hemlock branches gracefully extend over a crystal-clear stream. A silvery brook trout leaps to the surface, and in a meeting of icons, the state fish emerges from the watery shadows cast by the state tree. 

The surrounding woods are home to the elusive state bird, ruffed grouse, as well as the ubiquitous state animal, white-tailed deer. 

This location, aside the meandering Little Fishing Creek, along the backbone of Nittany Mountain, is within Bald Eagle State Forest in Centre County. It’s a typical scene across Pennsylvania.  

On the surface, it appears idyllic. But a closer look reveals the presence of numerous invaders. Experts say climate change is fueling and favoring the growth of invasive species—in many cases, at the expense of Pennsylvania’s cherished symbols. But environmental workers are trying to help those Pa. icons by discovering ways to reverse invasive species’ effects.  

Continue reading, on WITF’s StateImpact Pennsylvania website, here. Story published on May 8, 2023.

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