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Pennsylvania Game Commission's Howard Nursery Offers Guidance to Landowners Seeking to Improve Wildlife Habitat.

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Landowners seeking to plant tree species beneficial to wildlife are encouraged to begin making plans now. For guidance, as well as placing orders for seedlings, landowners are encouraged to visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission's website (http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/), click on the "Forms and Programs" section and choose "Howard Nursery Seedling Program."

The Game Commission's Howard Nursery produces bare-root seedlings for wildlife food and cover on State Game Lands. The nursery has been producing and distributing 3.5 to 6 million seedlings annually for wildlife food and cover since 1954. Landowners who have 50 or more acres of land open to public hunting and are enrolled in one of the Commission's public access programs are eligible to receive up to 500 free seedlings annually, as available. Those cooperators with enrolled acreages exceeding 500 acres are eligible for one free seedling per acre enrolled up to a maximum of 10,000 seedlings annually, as available. Cooperators are provided an order form each fall for following spring delivery. Free seedling orders are only taken in the fall through local Wildlife Conservation Officers (WCOs) and Land Management personnel.

All Pennsylvania landowners may purchase seedlings for wildlife food and cover, watershed protection, soil erosion control, and for reclamation of disturbed areas, such as surface mine site and utility right-of-ways.

"The goal of the Howard Nursery is to provide the finest tree seedlings available of those species that best provide for the various needs of wildlife, including food and shelter," said Cliff Guindon, Howard Nursery superintendent. "All of our stock is inspected annually by the state Department of Agriculture and certified to be disease-free."

Guindon noted that the nursery provides landowners the ability to purchase seedlings for 15 to 25 cents each in bundles of 50 (plus sales tax). Total orders of 50-250 are 25 cents each. Orders totaling 300 and up are 15 cents each. The following species are available for this spring: white pine; mugo pine; red pine; Norway spruce; white spruce; arborvitae (northern white cedar); silky dogwood; black locust; sawtooth oak; scrub oak; white oak; buttonbush; Chinese chestnut; common elderberry; Washington Hawthorne; American sweet crabapple; mixed flowering crabapple; American mountain ash; nannyberry viburnum; serviceberry; red bud, and wild plum. A description of each, along with size information, is available on the website. Some of the new native shrubs are available in limited quantities and are expected to sell out quickly. The selection of native trees and shrubs is being expanded annually. With the exception of black locust, all of our hardwoods are grown from seed collected and processed by PGC personnel from Pennsylvania sources.

In addition to making arrangements for landowners to pick up their seedling orders, the nursery does ship via United Parcel Service (UPS). Shipping and handling charges do apply. This is very efficient and most orders are received next day. Orders are only shipped Monday thru Wednesday to assure delivery for weekend planting.

"Due to conditions beyond our control, such as ice and snow, wet weather, and frozen ground, we may not be able to ship trees as early as we would like," Guindon said. "We will do everything we can do at the nursery to ensure timely shipping and arrival of trees." Generally seedlings ship in the month of April.

For more information, contact Cliff Guindon at the Howard Nursery, 197 Nursery Road, Howard, PA 16841, telephone (814) 355-4434. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Created in 1895 as an independent state agency, the Game Commission is responsible for conserving and managing all wild birds and mammals in the Commonwealth, establishing hunting seasons and bag limits, enforcing hunting and trapping laws, and managing habitat on the 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands it has purchased over the years with hunting and furtaking license dollars to safeguard wildlife habitat. The agency also conducts numerous wildlife conservation programs for schools, civic organizations and sportsmen's clubs.

The Game Commission does not receive any general state taxpayer dollars for its annual operating budget. The agency is funded by license sales revenues; the state's share of the federal Pittman-Robertson program, which is an excise tax collected through the sale of sporting arms and ammunition; and monies from the sale of oil, gas, coal, timber and minerals derived from State Game Lands.

CONTACT: Jerry Feaser, Pennsylvania Game Commission, +1-717-705-6541, or PGCNEWS@state.pa.us

Web site: http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/
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