PATU Regional Trainings go virtual for 2021

I hope this message finds all of you safe and well.  I am writing to update you on some important changes to the 2021 regional trainings.

The last year has amplified the importance of keeping our volunteers safe.  As such, based on current guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Executive Committee of PATU has decided to hold our regional trainings virtually.  As you recall, we cancelled the trainings outright last year due to the pandemic and after much deliberation, have decided to not hold them in person in 2021.  Sincere thanks to all those who helped coordinate the proposed in-person trainings in Oil City and Chester County.

Additionally, we have decided to change the dates of the trainings.  Originally, we scheduled the trainings after banquet season and after the “first day” for each region.  As there are no flyfishing shows, sportsman shows, or in-person banquets, we thought March would be a great time for the trainings.  No reason to worry about fundraiser prep, opening days (now singular), or bad weather.  Our meetings will be held on two Saturdays, March 6 and 13, 2021, from 9-11:30 a.m., just in time for you to hit the streams for the early stoneflies!

The next change is that both trainings will be statewide, there will be no “regional” trainings. The trainings will be available for all PATU members, regardless of location.

The final change is that these virtually trainings are FREE (but you still need to register).

Both trainings will be managed through Zoom and Rachel Kester will serve as the meeting administrator.  Here is the proposed lineup.


9:15 Riparian Buffers 101: Planning, Planting and Maintaining a Successful Riparian Buffer

Joe Mihok, President of the Bucks County Chapter

 A presentation of the down-in-the-weeds details for planting a riparian buffer, what worked and didn’t work, on projects completed by the Bucks County Chapter.  The presentation covers workday planning and organizing your volunteers, tree species selection, protecting trees from deer and rodents, and ongoing project maintenance.  The goal of this presentation is to give you the information you need to get your project to the point in time that it is self-maintaining.

10:30  Advocacy Training 

Jennifer Orr-Greene, TU MidAtlantic Policy Advisor

Have you ever wanted to be involved in shaping policies related to conservation but didn’t know where to start?  This session will introduce participants to interacting with decisionmakers at various levels to influence conservation policy at the local, state, and federal levels.  We will discuss the basics of the legislative process, successful techniques for interacting with legislators and other elected officials, and how to frame and present a successful message/ask. We will also talk about ways your chapter can be involved in advocacy and will highlight hot topics in current conservation policy. 


9:15  Benefits of Woody Materials to Aquatic Ecosystems or Wood is Good!

            Luke Bobnar – Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Trees and fallen woody materials in streams and floodplains create a diversity of habitats for many species. Centuries of removing wood to straighten streams and reduce localized flooding negatively impacted stream habitats and exacerbated flooding downstream. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and partners across the state are working to reestablish historic densities of woody materials in streams to restore habitat and natural flow regimes. Using a naturally-based approach, large woody materials (LWM) are placed at key locations to help stabilize banks, diversify habitat, increase cover, and re-establish functional roles of wood in streams. This presentation will discuss the history of wood removal in Pennsylvania and the legacy and culture it has left us with. It will provide an introduction to benefits of LWM, highlight projects, methods, and lessons learned, and discuss ongoing research that seeks to succinctly quantify the ecosystem wide benefits of this restoration technique.

10:30  Rolling Out Biodegradable Erosion Control Solutions 

Joe Greco, President, BEG Group, LLC

Erosion control is the practice of preventing or controlling wind or water erosion in agriculture, land development, coastal areas, stream banks and construction. Effective erosion controls handle surface runoff and are important techniques in preventing water pollution, soil loss, wildlife habitat loss and human property loss.  Rolled biobased erosion control products are an emerging technology.  These type products can either be temporary and biodegradable or long-term non-degradable materials that are manufactured into rolls designed to reduce soil erosion, and assist in the establishment, protection, and growth of vegetation.  BEG Group is an innovator of both vegetated and non-vegetated rolled erosion control products.  Joe will offer two short videos on the use of bio preferred products.  The first covers a Trout Unlimited pollinator project and the second a National Fuel Gas environmental protection related project.

We think the new format will give our members more value and flexibility and not interfere with any fundraising activities.  If you’d like to register, kindly contact Rachel Kester at (814) 577-7611 or [email protected].  Registration deadlines are noon the Thursday before each training.  All members are invited to attend one or both trainings. 

See you then.  Be well, stay safe and thanks for all you do for PATU. 

Greg Malaska
PA Council President

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