Long-time Pennsylvania birder Greg Grove is the recipient of the 2018 Earl Poole Award. The award was presented by President Mike Fialkovich at the PSO banquet during the annual meeting on September 15. The Earl Poole award is presented annually to a person or persons who have made significant contributions to Pennsylvania’s ornithology. This may be in the form of research, volunteer efforts, publications, field work, or any other pursuit that has increased the knowledge and understanding of the birdlife in Pennsylvania.
Greg has been an avid birder since grad school at Ohio State in the 70s when he and Deb shared an old battered pair of binoculars and visited sites around Columbus, Ohio. It turned into a shared lifelong passion, and over the years they were joined by children Laurie and Lewis and then son-in-law Dennis. This passion led to Greg’s developing new projects and participating in many Citizen Science Projects. In 2001 he started the Winter Raptor Survey in which more than 100 Pennsylvania birders participate. The survey has over 200 survey routes, and every county in Pennsylvania has at least one. Participants drive 30- to 80-mile routes in January and February, counting all hawks and other raptors that they see. The survey is very popular with waiting lists for participation. That data collected over the last 18 years provide valuable insight into these important species.
Greg also established the Stone Mountain Hawkwatch on Allensville Road in 1991. In 1995, Dave Kyler of Huntingdon and Greg built the hawkwatch platform. The placement on the razor-edge ridge provides a view of hawk migration on both sides of the ridge for both Huntingdon and Mifflin counties. It is also one of the best views in Pennsylvania, overlooking Stone and Kishacoquillas (Big) Valleys. The Hawkwatch is especially known for the number of Golden Eagles that migrate south in the late fall.
Another achievement is the book Birds of Central Pennsylvania, co-written with Nick Bolgiano. The book provides information about birds found in Huntingdon, Blair, Centre, Clinton, Mifflin, and Juniata counties. The accounts of bird records, the natural history, and maps of these areas make the book an invaluable resource. Greg participated as a Regional Coordinator in the second Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas (2004-2008). He shared with Nick Bolgiano a region that was comprised mostly of Sproul State Forest in Clinton and the southern edge of Potter counties. He has run Breeding Bird Surveys for the USGS, including the Williamsburg route through Blair County which he’s run for 28 years. For 15 years, he also ran the Pine Grove Mills route that traverses Stone Valley into the town of Huntingdon. In 2017 he handed it over to a younger birder. He also designed three in the northern part of Huntingdon County in Rothrock State Forest that have been conducted since 1993, two by the Groves and the third by Nick Bolgiano.
And, of course, he participates in Audubon Christmas Bird Counts. He has been involved in more than 80 – the main ones include the Lake Raystown count which he designed, the Huntingdon CBC, and the Lewistown count . He has also run Northern Saw-whet Owl surveys – “Toot Routes”– and designed 3 Nightjar (Eastern Whip-poorwill) surveys for the Center for Conservation Biology. The nightjar routes traverse the Rothrock SF area of Huntingdon, Centre, and Mifflin counties and are run by the Groves and Diane Bierley.
Grove was president of State College Bird Club for four years and president of PSO for two years. He is also a member of PSO’s Board of Directors. He accepted the position of Editor-in-chief of Pennsylvania Birds in June 2016 upon retirement from Penn State. He is assisted with this duty by his wife Deb who does the layout.
He was presented the Juniata Valley Audubon Society Conservation Award in 2017 by President Laura Jackson. Greg retired from Penn State in June 2016 after 31 years, first employed as an instructor in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department and then in 2008 as a Research Associate in the Genomics Core Facility. His family, including son Lewis, daughter Laurie, son-in-law Dennis, and now grandchildren Amelia and Vincent, have all participated as the “Huntingdon Hawkeyes” in the Shavers Creek Birding Cup that is held the first weekend of May.