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Reports from the Field: Visiting a CREP site

As a part of their outreach after the field school, Academy youth participate in outreach in the areas of education, service work, media engagement, and the creative arts.  Reports from the Field are reports from the youth on those experiences.  In this blog, student Jonathan reports on his experience shadowing field biologist Kris Goetz in the field as he does a CREP review.

 

Watch Jonathan’s video first – where Kris describes what “CREP” is:

 

It may not be the most glamorous or well-paid job ever but Kris Goetz still has a very important job. He does CREP reviews for the York county NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service)office. What is CREP? The conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is a program that provides owners of land with compensation for taking the land out of production and making it into grassland. The land owners are required to keep noxious weeds to a minimum. They must also plant trees on their land and must have a 70% survival rate of trees to fulfill their end of the contract. A surviving tree is any tree that is either planted or natural growing which is considered beneficial by the CREP. Kris’s job is to survey fields in the program and create reports based on his findings.

I went with him on three visits to different locations. The first field we visited was good for the first half despite some thistle and mile-a-minute which are considered noxious weeds. In the second half of the field we encountered lots of 4′-8′ Cedar trees where it was supposed to be a grass field habitat for songbirds. On the second field, a riparian area, Kris was worried at first thinking that the trees wouldn’t meet the required 70% survival rate. Upon further investigation we decided that it passed with an approximate 85% survival rate.

At the third CREP site, we were warmly greeted by the owner of the property and he was eager to show us what was going on at his CREP site. He had worked with the Adams county DCNR service forester, Matt Kern. His CREP site was in excellent condition and needed no immediate changes. After that we went back to the NRCS office. While Kris’s job may not be traveling the world or CEO of a big corporation he gets to be outside and help the environment which are two of his highest priorities.

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