Delaware Valley College’s Student Chapter of TWS never tires of our annual trip to Elk Country centralized in Benezette, PA. In September, ten of our members set off on a road trip in search of elk during the peak rut. The reintroduced population is highly celebrated in Pennsylvania – and for good reason! The eerily beautiful bugles that are ubiquitous throughout the valleys have a way of captivating you and it’s what brings us back year after year. The odd weather in the months prior to our visit had us a little concerned that we would miss the rut, but thankfully we were wrong.
The activity from this year was quite possibly the best we experienced as a chapter. We frequented a very popular spot called Winslow Hill and hunkered down to wait for the elk to arrive (either early in the morning or in the evening). While we were never able to predict where to find them, Winslow Hill was always a good bet and never let us down. Many times the herds numbered over 25 individuals with a few large bulls dominating the groups. The sparring we witnessed was so incredible that we lost count the total number of duels.
When we weren’t at Winslow Hill we took advantage of the incredible hiking terrain and even found a few elk hiding away in the thick brush. The trip was one to remember and certainly validated our passions for working in the wildlife field.
Another major event of the semester was our Passenger Pigeon exhibit. In order to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, the chapter spearheaded a project to fabricate an exhibit, with the aid of Project Passenger Pigeon, to be on display for the campus. With the help of the campus community, origami passenger pigeons from The Lost Bird Project were constructed to adorn the exhibit and placed around campus. Our adviser also organized a public showing of the documentary “From Billions to None” to be shown on the campus.
The event was a great success and included an open discussion session which allowed the audience to weigh-in with the current issues we face with proper population management. T-shirts designed by the chapter were also sold for profit to be given to an outside organization. The event memorialized an amazing species in the minds of all those in attendance.
These events, among other smaller-scale programs and trips, were successful in increasing our student chapter’s camaraderie and education.
Delaware Valley’s Student Chapter was organized in June 2008. For information on the chapter’s upcoming events visit their Facebook.