Directions to March 18th field trip


Sunday, March 18, 2018, 1:00 PM
Little Sewickley Creek outside of Herminie. Westmoreland County
This is a favorite trip for early spring ephemerals and Snow Trillium (Trillium nivale). The walk is easy along an old railroad grade.
Directions: Take the PA Turnpike to Exit 67-Route 30/Irwin/Greensburg. Take the Route 30 East/Greensburg ramp. At the first stoplight on Route 30, turn right onto Arona Road, then another right after 0.5 mile onto unmarked Wendel Road. Travel this road 3.7 miles to a T. Turn right at the T and continue 1 mile to Herminie to a 4-way stop (VFD on corner). Continue straight to the next stop sign and turn left. Proceed through 2 more stop signs, end at a T, and turn right. Continue past the Dairy Queen on your right and continue down a hill; we will meet just before the highway bridge. Park on the left side.
These directions are difficult as roads are unmarked and state roads through Herminie sometimes look like alleys.
If you can use them, the GPS coordinates will likely take you by a more direct route. GPS coordinates: 40.26050, -79.72700.

Everyone is welcome, including non-members. Trips last 3 to 4 hours but one can leave at any time. For questions, call the field trip leader, Loree Speedy at (724) 872-5232/home; (724) 518-6022/cell or

Save the Dates 2018 Spring Nature Walks


The following club outings have been scheduled.  More info below as date approaches.

3/18 Sun 1:00. Hermanie, Loree Speedy                                                                            3/25  Sun 1:00 PM   Bavington, Loree Speedy                                                                   4/8 Sun 2:00 Core Arboretum, Zack Fowler
4/16 Mon 10:00 Crouse Run, Dianne Machesney
4/20 Fri Linn Run, Mark + Loree. Time TBA
4/22 Sun 1:00 Brady’s Run Park, Judy Stark
4/27 Fri 10:00 Raccoon Creek, Dianne
4/28 Sat 10:30 Friendship Hill, Loree
5/7 Mon 10:00 Wolf Creek, Dianne
5/19 Sat 1:00 Cedar Creek Gorge, Judy and Loree

Directions to March 25th Field Trip

Sunday, March 25, 2018, 1:00 PM
Bavington at Hillman State Park Game Lands, Washington County
Leader: Loree Speedy

Directions: From Pittsburgh, travel Parkway West (I-376, formerly I-279) and exit the Parkway at Exit 60 to continue on US 22 for 10 miles to the Bavington exit. Turn right at the end of the ramp, then left onto Steubenville Pike, and travel one mile to make a sharp right hand turn onto Kramer Road at the Kramer Greenhouse/Raccoon Creek Winery. (If you pass this turn, cross the highway bridge and turn around at the Bavington Roadhouse/Inn.)
Continue on Kramer Road 0.8 miles and bear left at its intersection with Raccoon Creek Rd. Continue 1/4 mile to the intersection with Knowlton Hill Rd, where we will meet.
GPS coordinates: 40.43680, -80.36670

Everyone is welcome, including non-members. Trips last 3 to 4 hours but one can leave at any time. For questions, call the field trip leader, Loree Speedy at (724) 872-5232/home; (724) 518-6022/cell or

Meeting March 8, 2018

On Thursday, March 8, 7:30 pm. Brian M. Wargo presented Hawkwatching, an Ocean in the Sky. Dr. Brian M. Wargo  showcased the esoteric and often unknown activity of Hawkwatching using pictures and stories, which he has documented in his book, Bird: An Exploration of Hawkwatching. The audience was quizzed on naming photos of hawks in flight, from different angles.  Brian pointed out  characteristics that help in IDing hawks. He showed examples of his record keeping and spreadsheets for 80 different hawk watch sites. He hopes to encourage the next generation to volunteer at hawk watches since this gathered info is so valuable.  He said he chose the photo for the cover of his book because he is always cold and this is how he is usually dressed for hawkwatching!  Brian is the President and Saturday Counter for the Allegheny Front Hawk Watch.  You can view his latest count data at:

Meeting December 14, 2017

Getting stuck in traffic and having technical difficulties didn’t stop Don Weiss from  presenting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park, the Crown Jewels of the National Park System, with a little help from Monica Miller,( who was on time but not in possession of the flash drive the program was on!)  The wildlife, scenery, and thermal features are like no other place in N. America, or the world.  Known as the Serengeti of N. America, it was the world’s first national park.  They experienced weather from the 20’s and snow to the mid-70’s and cloudless sunshine.  They saw wildlife from ground squirrels to a grizzly with cubs.  Flowers were  everywhere and the snow-capped mountains inspired and impressed.

Thank you to Judy Stark, who made our holiday favors this year.  An ornament filled with milkweed seeds.


This night was our Annual Holiday Christmas party and Cookie Exchange. The table was overflowing with goodies and the mulled cider hit the spot on a cold evening.


Tim Manka continued our annual tradition of reciting “The Night Before Christmas”

The club will be on hiatus for the winter.  See you at our next meeting March 8, 2018.

November 9, 2017 Meeting



From the mountains to the prairies, Mike Fialkovich showed the amazing array of nature and scenery he experienced during a trip to the Pawnee National Grasslands and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado last June. Twenty-two members enjoyed Mike’s photos of birds, flowers, trees, mammals and landscapes taken during a birding trip sponsored by  W. PA Audubon and led by Brian Shema. Mike said he got seven life birds during the trip and numerous life plants, especially alpine plants from the tundra.

October 12, 2017 Meeting

 Walt Schaffer presented Birding Merritt Island. Merritt Island is a census-designated place in Brevard County, Florida, located on the eastern Florida coast, along the Atlantic Ocean. Walt and Dana have birded Merritt Island, Florida many times.  We learned why it’s such a good place to bird as they took us on a tour of the Island.

27 attendees learned to look closely at the birds and to watch behavior. A series of photos of a wood stork highlighted fishing techniques.  Another series of a reddish egret and a snowy egret showed that birds can learn hunting strategies from each other.

Our November meeting speaker unfortunately had to cancel, but  Mike Fialkovich is graciously stepping in with a program about Colorado.  Su Varley reported seeing a red bat, which Bob Machesney said are migrating now.

Sept. 14, 2017 Meeting “Wetlands”

Wetland at Whiskerville Gamelands

We kicked off the first meeting of the new season with a wine/cheese spread. Our Treasurer, Dianne Machesney, presented a program about Wetlands.  We learned how a wetland is made, the difference between bogs, fens, marshes and swamps.  How our wetlands are endangered and what we can do to help.

Dues for the year are being collected now.


Jennings Trip Report: 7/29/17

Even though Pittsburgh and south saw 2-3 inches of rain the night before,  Jennings was dry and the sun was shining for our annual walk through the prairie. We found 62 species in flower including a new one for our records, Featherfleece, Stenanthium  gramineum. Click here to see the list of what we found.  After lunch, six of us went to Moraine to see the Spotted Coralroot.

Photos by Dianne Machesney and Tom Moser.

Jennings Prairie: July 29, 2017

Outings are free and open to the public.  Bring your friends.  Trails are wheelchair accessible.  Dress for the weather: wear a hat and expect muddy trails.  Bring your binoculars and field guides, lunch and beverages.


July 29, Saturday, 10:00 am. Jennings Prairie, Wissahickon Nature Club.   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.
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.