Wissahickon Nature Walk

Wissahickon is the only general nature club in the Pittsburgh area.  Every member has something to contribute.  We share our diverse knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for the natural world at meetings and on outings in the field.

Wissahickon Nature Club History

One summer day in 1942, a group of nature lovers studying trees and shrubs in Riverview Park on the Northside in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were met by John F. Lewis, then a guest naturalist at the park, who asked if he could be of help.  That meeting resulted in a class on tree and shrub identification at the Wissahickon Trailside Museum in the park. Mr. Lewis, who was a professor of Biology and General Science at California State Teachers College, conducted the class.  With his help and encouragement the Wissahickon Nature Club was formed that summer under the auspices of the Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation, Nature Division.  The club was named for the Trailside Museum and for Wissahickon Creek, which runs through the park.  Wissahickon is an Indian word meaning Catfish.

The club met weekly; in the winter at the museum with lessons on many nature subjects; in the spring and summer, in the park for first-hand nature study. In the summer of 1967 the Wissahickon Trailside Museum was totally destroyed by fire. Meetings were then held at the Watson Presbyterian Church on Perrysville Avenue. In 1977 meetings were moved to the Woodland U.P. Church of Ben Avon. Meetings were held on every other Saturday night with a covered dish supper preceding the meeting. In 2001 the meetings were moved to Thursday evenings with a potluck dessert table only. Starting in September, 2006 meetings were moved to Fern Hollow Nature Center in Sewickley, until 2021 when meetings where suspended due to the Covid virus pandemic.

Wissahickon Today

We are not currently collecting dues or holding indoor meetings. Our 80th anniversary will be celebrated with a picnic at MIngo Park in June , 2022. Date and time TBA. Field trip information will be posted on this website and will be sent by email to our current list. If you want to be added to the list, email Dianne. See below.

Mailing Address:
Wissahickon Nature Club

c/o Dianne Machesney
105 Lindley Lane
Pittsburgh, PA 15237-1805


Vice President: Monica Miller
Treasurer: Dianne Machesney

Online Contact:  Leave a comment below and we will receive an email with your request.

15 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello,

    I attended the wildflower walk on August 1st at the Jennings Prairie, and shot some video. I apologize for the delay in publishing this, though it’s finally up! You can find the article and video here: http://learnyourland.com/exploring-the-jennings-prairie-with-the-wissahickon-nature-club/

    Please feel free to share it with anyone! Thanks again (especially Dianne!) for the great event, and I look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming meetings!

    Best wishes,
    Adam Haritan

  2. I have given programs about nature and wildlife for groups such as Three Rivers Birding Club, Delaware Valley Ornithology Club, New Jersey Audubon, Foxburg Nature Festival, and many others (over 100 in the past 20 years). I’d be delighted to visit Wissahickon Nature Club–I now live in Franklin (Venango County) and am always happy for an excuse to come to Pittsburgh! Here’s a slideshow that outlines the programs I have available:

    If you are interested, please let me know. Thanks.

  3. I have such fond memories as a young boy running from my home, down the through the woods to the Wissahickon Trailside Museum. I remember all the little critters that lived there under the care of Mr. Dave Parks ( I believed that was his name). After the service one of my 1st stops was to revisit the site only to discover that it was in ruins do to a fire as I was told. I was so sad. I’m glad to see that Wissahickon is alive & doing well & I’m certain Dave would be quite pleased.
    Regards, Richard Petrovic

  4. Please get in touch with me ASAP about the Butterfly count. I am the compiler for the count and need some further information and information for you.

  5. From your historical records, can you tell when the Wissahickon Nature Trail in Riverview Park ceased to exist. Thanks.

  6. Hello I would like to attend a meeting in Sept mbira but do not see a date your club is meeting on the Fern Hollow calendar. Is there a September 2019 meeting? Please advise.
    Thanks much,

    • Next meeting is October 10th. Sorry I was on vacation and didn’t see your inquiry in time to respond for Sept. meeting which was Sept 12th.

  7. My brother, Tim Manka, passed away on Sept. 4th. Will you let the club members know that (privately) and will you let me know that you have seen this message?

    Because another brother is working on three cruises in Alaska, we are not having Tim’s funeral until Sat., 9-28 at Neid Funeral Home on Washington St. in Swissvale at 11:00. There will be a viewing that day starting at 9:30 a.m. and viewings on Fri., 9-27 at 2:00 to 4 and 6:00 to 8. All of these events will take place at the funeral home in Swissvale.

    We hope that club members will be able to be there.


    • This is very sad news. Thanks for letting us know. An email will be sent to our mailing list with the funeral information. Please accept our sincere condolences. He will be missed.

  8. Hello Bonnie,

    I am a Phipps Master Gardener who answers questions on Dr. Phipp Greenline. I am also a club member. I recently received a plant id question that has me stumped. The plant object was found in the wild.

    The club seems to have many experienced members so I am reaching out to you for assistance.

    If there is someone who can help, I can forward the photos and description.

    Thanks for your help.

    Phipps Master Gardener

  9. My grandparents, Grace and Wilbur McCullough, were members of the nature club. I personally went with them to the trailside museum when I was a child and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

    I am not sure if they attended any meetings at Watson Presbytarian Church even though they lived within walking distance on Delaware.

    I am glad to read about you and hope you can renew activities post COVID.

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