Save the Date: Nature Walks


May 7, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Raccoon Creek State Park Wildflower Reserve, by Dianne Machesney.  Bring a picnic lunch.

June 3, Friday, 10:00 a.m. Buzzard Swamp, Marionville, by Bob Machesney. This will be for dragonflies and butterflies. Bring a net. Dress for ticks. 4 mile loop. Bathroom available in parking lot. No picnic tables.

June 11, Saturday, Wissahickon Annual Picnic, Mingo Creek State Park.

June 24, Friday, 10:00 a.m. Whiskerville Gamelands by Bob Machesney. This will be for dragonflies  and butterflies. Bring a net. Dress for ticks. 4 mile loop. No bathrooms. Rain date will be June 26.

August 6, Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Jennings Prairie by Dianne Machesney.


April 14th Meeting – Bees



Our speaker, Norm Diebold and his wife, Linda gave us an  introduction to Bee Farming.  His hives reside at Fern Hollow Nature Center and are used for educational purposes.


We learned there are seven recognized species of honey bees and 20,000 other bee species.  They have been around for 30 million years.  A typical hive will have 20,000 to 30,000 bees.    Queens can live for 2-3 years.  All the workers are female and drones are male.  The worker bees can sting only once and it causes their death.  Queens and drones can sting multiple times.

Norm talked about the ways bees communicate with pheromones, how they gather nectar to make honey, store pollen and seal cracks in the hive with propolis.  Honey is antibacterial and never goes bad.


He went into a lot of detail about hive management and winter survival. The biggest problem is managing/preventing mite infestations.  There were many questions, and Norm patiently answered them all.

March 31, 2016 Meeting


Our speaker, and club member,  Adam Haritan, presented Foraging For Wild Medicines.  After a lively introduction about the benefits of wild foods, Adam highlighted a few plants and mushrooms that appear in spring, including Hawthorne, Stinging Nettle, White Pine Pollen and Turkey Tail mushrooms.  He talked about the health value of each and  how to make teas, decoctions and tinctures, using his favorite ethanol product – 40% Organic Vodka.

Adam had an array of his tinctures for sale.  He uses his medicines as tonics, at low dosage levels and is not giving medical advice for particular ailments.  See your doctor for that!

Adam has posted an excerpt of this talk on his blog.  View it at:

adam 1




Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2016

0317162107Our guest speaker was Andrew Zadnik from the Western PA Conservancy’s Land Stewardship Program. He spoke of the different properties owned by the Conservancy and also of those 36,000 acres protected by conservation easements.


Special emphasis was given to Tom’s Run Property off of Route 65, since it is the closest to our meeting site at Fern Hollow Nature Center.


Members noted the death of E-2, the male peregrine from the Cathedral of Learning.  His mate, Hope, had laid two eggs and probably will not incubate them now. There is still time for her to find a new mate this season.

November 12, 2015 Meeting

Don Weiss


Don Weiss presented a charming, sometimes humorous, show of his own photographs of mammals, starting with a photo of his cat at home,then venturing into his yard with photos of deer and chipmunks, then  into the neighborhood with red fox at a local park, then further afield with sightings from around the state of PA  and finally going national at parks, including Yellowstone.  We learned that a wildlife photographer has to have great patience and be willing to put up with all types of weather.

He also brought an exhibit of various mammal-related items.

Don Weiss’ Program on Mammals Rescheduled

Power-outage_t750x550Due to a power outage at Fern Hollow Nature Center, Don Weiss was unable to present his program.   It has been rescheduled to November 12th.  Twenty-one members shared desserts by flashlight and admired the stars in the unusually dark sky.  Judy Stark’s program, originally scheduled for November 12th will be rescheduled, date yet to be determined.

October 15, 2015 Meeting

Pat Adams

Raccoon Creek State Park DCNR Educator,  Pat Adams, gave an interesting presentation about the history and  culture of the Lenape Indian Tribe in Pennsylvania.


Alison Richards, and son Rowan, check out some of the hand made reproductions of typical clothing worn before “first contact” with the Europeans.

Pat and Su

Su Varley, Wissahickon’s Program Coordinator, introduced her “old” friend, Pat Adams.


Oct 15 meeting

Welcoming and getting to know new members.