DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Alysha Trexler, Biologist
Alysha Trexler is a biologist and project manager with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy who has been very influential to riparian buffer work in Pennsylvania.
As a part of the Watershed Conservation department, her focus is on all aspects of improving and protecting water quality for both the environment and people.
Alysha started at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy as an AmeriCorps member.
Her biology degree helped the team gather water quality data; and she also helped to promote the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
Not only does Alysha work to improve water quality through her work with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, but she walks the walk at home too.
She has her own large buffer on her farm that was funded by the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, so she knows both sides.
“This is when my agriculture background became an asset in communication efforts with other farmers.” Alysha says. “I was able to show how conservation and agriculture can work together because I have my own farm where I have installed multiple conservation practices.”
At every opportunity, Alysha will speak about the importance of riparian buffers for water quality, and actively seek riparian buffer planting projects.
She designs, plans, and installs riparian buffers, as well as develops nutrient management plans for agricultural operators.
Alysha has seen transformations from barren areas to places flourishing with wildlife; and says that having willing landowners and new places for wildlife can have wonderful impacts for the future.
Alysha says that people can get involved by learning about the value of riparian buffers and then sharing that knowledge with family and friends.
Even a tenth of an acre of stream buffer can be impactful, and there are many resources available to help anyone wanting to improve their property.
Those who already have a conservation practice on your land, can help by mentoring someone else.
When not planting buffers, a large portion of her time is spent within streams and their adjoining riparian areas performing field work.
Much of these are surveys for things such as macroinvertebrates and water quality, and even includes SCUBA work with freshwater mussels and hellbender salamanders.
Her work plays a role in enlightening landowners on conservation practices for their property and the wildlife that it supports.
“I live for the moments where I can put on my SCUBA gear and find an animal that hasn’t been seen for years or even decades in a particular watershed,” says Alysha. “Knowledge drives all decisions and if I can help contribute to that knowledge, I am happy.”
Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact DCNR by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate someone.
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[Posted: March 18, 2021]
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