John Canning presented “Riverview Park & Early Years of Wissahickon Hollow and Nature Club”. John brought his “North Side” friends, Nancy- the Ranger at Riverview Park – and Ed. He had a dvd of old photos from the 1800’s which showed the beauty of the Allegheny Commons Park and the buildings of Old Allegheny City.
Riverview Park was created for the city folk to have a place to get away into nature. It was situated on the trolley line, and many neighborhoods were able to easily access it.
Riverview once had a zoo and a swimming pool. John spent his childhood playing in Riverview’s creeks and going to Summer Camp at the Wissahickon cabin, which was built in 1913. When the zoo closed, the nature cabin housed some live animals, such as snakes, frogs and a opossum.
Our Wissahickon Nature Club had its inception in 1941 at Riverview Park and took its name from the creek and cabin of the same name, where it held its meetings. When the cabin burned down, meetings were moved to other venues and today we meet at Fern Hollow Nature Center.
As the year draws to a close we mourn the passing of George Bercik on 29 December 2019.
George was an avid birder and longtime member of the Wissahickon Nature Club who loved the outdoors. He often joined the club on outings and, over the years, made many trips to his favorite place in the woods of Canada. In recent years as his health declined we missed him at our meetings and outings.
Kate St. John presented Peregrine Falcons – A Success Story.
Kate has been watching peregrines since the 90’s. She explained the history of Peregrines in PA and the story of their successful reintroduction. She told the family histories of Dorothy, Hope and Morela and covered some of the other breeding pairs in our area.
This was our annual Christmas Cookie party. Members brought cookies, ate cookies, took cookies home!
We will take our annual winter break January and February 2020 .
Donna Foyle presented Introduced and Endemic Birds from Three Hawaiian Islands. Even from a young age, Donna was fascinated with birds. She got her first camera at age 7 and the rest is history. Donna was on a bird tour in February with three other birder friends. Her photos were fantastic of beautiful introduced birds and also a few natives. Many birds are threatened because of introduced predators, ie rats and disease carrying mosquitoes. One albatross that she photographed had a leg band. She was able to trace the number to find out that it was probably seven years old, sex undetermined.
Mike Fialkovich presented “Birds and Nature in Southern Texas”.
In November, 2018, Mike joined an Audubon Society of W. Pennsylvania tour to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas to see the area’s famed birds, Mike shared his photographs of the birds, other wildlife and plants that the group experienced during the trip.
Long time member and past president, Tim Manka, passed away September 4, 2019. He will be remembered for his love of science and nature. His stories from past park ranger jobs, boy scouts and years of teaching at Shaler High School added interest to our meetings. He was always willing to share “treasures” from his archival library, and enjoyed partaking of the cookie table. It was a long standing Wissahickon tradition that he did an animated rendition of “The Night Before Christmas” at our annual cookie exchange meeting. His absence at our meetings will be felt by all.
Viewing will be at Neid Funeral Home on Washington Street in Swissvale on Friday, September 27, 2019 from 2-4 pm and 6-8pm. and Saturday September 28 at 9:30 am, followed by a service.
Tim is to be named a Glacier National Park ranger posthumously!
We will kick off the new club year with a wine and cheese social and a presentation by member, Don Weiss. He will lead us on a scenic tour of the State of Washington. His photos will highlight birds, animals, flowers, scenic views and a few butterflies.
Come at 7:00 pm to socialize. Bring a snack/cheese or dessert to share. The meeting will start at 7:30 pm at Fern Hollow Nature Center, 1901 Glen Mitchell Road, Sewickley, PA 15143. The club will provide the wine.
Our seven members were rewarded with clear blue skies, low humidity and high 70’s temperatures. We saw 79 species of flowers in bloom, fresh beaver signs, birds, butterflies, moth, dragonflies and mushrooms.
Friday, July 26, 2019 10:00 AM Jennings Prairie, Leaders: Dianne and Bob Machesney (C) 412-523-0368 Visit the unique ecosystem at Jennings Prairie. This is the perfect time to explore the relict prairie. The hot weather brings the stunning Blazing Star and some of the other dazzling summer flowers to peak performance. The goldenrods of fall will begin to show. Don’t miss the spectacular butterflies that grace the prairie with their breathtaking beauty. Flycatchers, vireos, tanagers, Common Yellowthroats and Cedar Waxwings sometimes make an appearance. We may come across a Red Eft, the larval form of a Red-spotted Newt.
Outings are free and open to the public. Bring your friends. Trails are wheelchair accessible.Wear a hat and sunscreen. Bring binoculars, field guides, water and a lunch.
Directions From Pittsburgh: take I-79 North to Exit 99, New Castle/ Butler. Drive east on Route 422 roughly 5.8 miles to the Prospect Exit. Turn left (north) onto Route 528. Continue on Route 528 for about 7 miles. Meet in the Jennings Environmental Center Parking Lot on the left (west) side of the road.