George Bercik, Longtime Wissahickon Member

George Bercik, summer 2012 (photo by Monica Miller)

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.

We send condolences to his friends and family. George’s obituary and funeral arrangements can be found at this link.

Trip Report – North Park Workday Honoring Esther Allen, Oct 6, 2012

Wissahickon Workday at North Park plus Tree Planting to honor Esther Allen

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.

Wissahickon’s 70th Birthday

Wissahickon 70th Birthday Cake (photo by Dianne Machesney)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.

Little Sewickley Creek, April 2012

We 3 (Melissa, myself and my friend Linda), had a delightful walk today. We saw at least 20 different flowers from snow trillium to Large Flowered Trillium – blooming! We heard many birds (which Melissa identified), including a Louisiana Waterthrush and saw several others including 2 herons and their nests, many geese on their nests and a mallard on its next in a nesting box. The owner even put out a “Welcome Wissahickon” sign for us! Sorry more folks didn’t come.

Click here for a list of what we saw.

— Judy Stark

Nichol Road, August 2011

Here are some photos from the very rainy Nichol Road outing of August 15th. Very small turnout, just the folks you see in the photos (and photographer, of course!) Nice lunch though, sitting in the Stonehenge shelter listening to the rain.

Like Sesame Street, my word for the day was “petiole” and my plant for the day was “Rough-leaved Goldenrod”, which, as it turns out, I believe I have in my yard. I’m trying a new approach to the flood of information I get….


Jennings Prairie, July 2011

Jennings Prairie, July 2011. Remembering Esther Allen

The purple fringed orchis on the bridge was no where to be found but after lunch seven of us did the woods trail to see the cardinal flower and nearby , in among the skunk cabbage, we found about a dozen and what I am keying out to be “small flowered purple fringed orchis”. That made my day. We found helleborine that was past its prime and seedbox in bloom. There were also lots of butterflies today. Especially spicebush, doing their mating dance over the prairie. There were dozens and dozens of them, possibly 100. As you will see in the group photo, Dave, Jr. brought Esther and Dave’s ashes along with the sundial he will store them in at his house. So Esther was with us in body and in spirit! The fruit cluster, I am calling carrion flower. No one was sure. The mushrooms Judy and I are guessing are a Clitocybe of some sort. Maybe funnel cap. I didn’t get home until a little after 5PM and I bet Monica didn’t get home until after 6:00PM. A long but very enjoyable day. — Dianne

Sad News

Esther Allen, teaching at Wissahickon Nature Club

Esther Allen, teaching at Wissahickon Nature Club

It is with deep sorrow that the Wissahickon Nature Club announces the death, on Friday June 27, 2011, of our beloved friend and founder, Esther Allen.

Esther helped found the Wissahickon Nature Club in 1942 and taught at every meeting through her exhibits.

Read a tribute to Esther on Kate St. John’s blog Outside My Window: We Miss Her Already.

Jennings Prairie, July 2010

Blazing Stars and Butterflies

The day was warm, but more comfortable than the previous conditions. The Blazing Stars did not disappoint us, and as usual, it was great to ramble with friends,,,

Photos by Glen Beck and Monica Miller

Sandy Lake Wetlands, June 2010

A new spot means new adventures.

Diane and Bob Machesney suggested this area in Mercer County for our June 30, 2010 outing. Monica Miller sent photos from our time there.

Click here for a butterfly checklist for Sandy Lake, provided by Bartramian Audubon.

Butler-Freeport Trail, May 2010

This year we covered a different section of the Butler-Freeport Trail. Scenic old structures, beautiful flowers and good friends warmed the dull overcast day. Thanks to Monica Miller for these great pics and neat observations.