Don’t miss our last meeting of the season featuring our annual cookie exchange. The club will provide the hot apple cider and guests should bring a batch of their favorite holiday cookies to share. Our speaker for the evening will be Mike Fialkovich. His program is about the ecology of the State of Washington. See the “meetings” tab for more details. We’ll see everyone in March when our programs resume.
The club is beginning its new season on September 12th with a wine and cheese reception. Wissahickon Nature Club will provide the wine. Members will please provide an hors d’oeuvres and cheese rather than desserts. RSVP requested.
Click here or on the Meetings tab for more information.
Twelve attendees were treated to a private tour of the Preston Park grounds by Buffalo Township Employee and volunteer docent, Marcie Love. She was in for a big surprise. Never having hosted a nature group, she was unaware that we travel at “the speed of botany”. She gave us some excellent historic information, but we were always lagging behind looking at the plants.
The park hosts seven of the tallest trees in Pennsylvania, and they have been registered at www.pabigtrees.com. These champions are marked with pink ribbons, but will eventually get permanent markers. See the field notes for the trip here.
Saturday, August 10, 2013, 10:00 a.m.
Preston Park, Butler Township, Butler County
Leader: Dave Heltzell of Volunteers of Preston Park.
A joint outing of the Botanical Society of Western PA and Wissahickon Nature Club.
Preston Park is an 88-acre English garden donated to Butler Township by Dr. Frank Preston, founder of Preston Laboratories, and Mrs. Jane Preston. Dr. Preston, a glass scientist, ornithologist, and ecologist, created and designed an English garden as a place to live, work and enjoy nature. Dr. Preston apparently walked the entire property daily at dawn, in accordance with his origins in England where a deep interest in nature is a great pastime.
Park Volunteer Dave Heltzell will introduce us to the park’s significant historical and cultural resources, including Dr. Preston’s glass research laboratory. Preston Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now maintained by Butler Township. For more information, visit Butler Township’s Preston Park website
Directions: Travel I-79 north to Exit 83 – PA 528 toward Evans City. Travel PA 528 north for 2.6 miles to a T. Turn right at the T and continue east on PA 68 for 9 miles to Whitestown Rd (the first traffic light after the Butler Farm Show on the right).Turn right onto Whitestown Rd and continue 1 mile to turn right onto South Eberhart Road. Park entrance will be on the left. The GPS address is 415 South Eberhart Road, Butler, PA 16
Outings are free and open to the public.
It started as a cool, sunny day in the mid-60′s, probably the first time we hiked the prairie and didn’t have to worry about sunstroke! We found 73 species of wildflower species in bloom, and 19 species of butterflies. Two new species for our master list were pinesap and featherfleece. We found the Small Flowered Purple Fringed orchis, but in lesser numbers than the previous year. Click here for a list of our sightings.
Join us on an outing to Jennings Prairie in Butler County, PA on Monday, July 29.
This is the perfect time to see Blazing Star, Whorled Rosinweed and sunflowers. American Goldfinches, Indigo Buntings, flycatchers, Common Yellowthroats and Cedar Waxwings make the prairie their summer home. Expect to see an amazing array of glorious butterflies. We may come across a Red Eft or catch a glimpse of the elusive Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake.
Meet leaders Dianne and Bob Machesney at 10:00am at the Jennings Environmental Education Center (across from Prairie parking lot) on the right (east) side of the road.
Google Maps: 2951 Prospect Rd. Slippery Rock, PA 16057, (724) 794-6011
Directions from Pittsburgh: Take I-79 North to Exit 99/Butler. Drive east on US 422 roughly 5.8 miles to the Prospect Exit, and turn left (north) onto PA 528. Continue on PA 528 for about 7 miles.
The Prairie is hot and shadeless. Wear a hat, sunscreen and appropriate hiking shoes. Bring binoculars and field guides. Bring a lunch and beverage, water and a snack for the trail.
Outings are free and open to the public.
For more information, call Judy Stark, Outings Coordinator (412)363-0462
Outing Report—October 6,2012
North Park Clean Up and Tree Planting at the Arboretum in Honor of Esther Allen
The day started out cold and damp but got warmer and sunnier as the morning progressed. Eighteen intrepid nature lovers , representing Wissahickon Nature Club, Botanical Society of W. PA, Boy Scout Troop 368, Friends of N. Park and Penn State Master Gardeners, worked to clear the area under the Katsura tree of invasive wild grape, multi-flora rose and buckthorn so that a bench could be erected and cemented into the ground in honor of Esther. We also planted a persimmon tree that was purchased by the Wissahickon Nature Club.
With the tree firmly planted, we headed to the Grant Grove to have hot apple cider, hot soup and cookies. After lunch, Dianne Machesney led a walking tour of the arboretum from 1:00 to 3:00 PM talking about some of the nicer specimens, including, Black Gun, Sweet Gum, Flowering Dogwood, Hackberry, Umbrella Magnolia, Cucumber Magnolia, Osage Orange, Lacebark Elm, Sugar Maple, Shagbark Hickory, Eastern Red Cedar, Black Ash and Cork Tree. We also studied a few shurbs with interesting fruit: Asiatic Sweetleaf, Linden Arrowwood and Winterberry. Many Closed Gentian were also still in bloom in the area that was cleared last year, proving that our hard work does make a difference.
Meg Scanlon, North Park naturalist, expressed her thanks to all.
Click here for a PDF showing photos of the day’s activities.
We started promptly at 9AM when the temp was about 75 degrees. There were patches of shade and a nice breeze until about 11:30 when the temperature started to soar into the 90′s.
We found 47 wildflower species in bloom and 32 butterfly species. Susan Butcher submitted our list to the July 4th Butterfly Count. We were happy to find several Baltimore Checkerspots.
The Canada Lilies were past bloom but there was a nice selection of other summer flowers.
Not shown in the photos, (click here for the photo PDF) were two Amish men and their three sons who were pretty darn good with the nets and saved us a lot of chasing in the heat.
We rewarded ourselves afterwards with a stop at Dairy Queen to eat sundaes and compare lists.
Click here for a list of butterfly species seen at Sandy Lake Gamelands, 2003 to 2012.
Wissahickon celebrated its 70th birthday on June 23, 2012 with a picnic at Mingo Creek County Park. Members from Wissahickon Nature Club, Three Rivers Birding Club, the Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania and the Western PA Mushroom Club all joined to celebrate.
See the four PDF photo albums below.