Nature

Beavers Don’t Get Headaches

“A beaver sits on the riverbank watching all of this unfold.” —from “Cairo” by Sara Miller

The Joshua C. Whetzel, Jr., Trail

There is a beautiful new trail to hike, just outside Confluence, a quaint town in the Laurel Highlands situated at the confluence of the Casselman River, Laurel Hill Creek and the Youghiogheny River, in Somerset County.

Crown Jewels of the Commonwealth

A stand of old-​growth hemlocks with trunks nearly four feet in diameter towers over a trail cut along a creek shrouded in mountain laurel that ripples through Laurel Hill State Park, part of one of the largest state park systems in the nation. It rose from a Depression-​era work program…

The Cicadas Are Back

“I think they’ll miss the party,” said John Wenzel, director of Powdermill Nature Reserve when I sent him these photographs of a cicada nymph shedding its skin. The nymph hatched too early, he told me, and will have difficulty finding a mate.

Hiking in Laurel Hill State Park

Second only to Alaska, Pennsylvania hosts more than 86,000 miles of streams and rivers. Our state also provides hundreds of hiking trails covering elevations from near sea level to the highest point in the state, Mount Davis. While ridgeline treks often offer sweeping vistas, Pennsylvania’s best hikes also include forested…

Cigars With Wings

“But one day the swifts are back. Face to the sun like a child You shout, ‘The swifts are back!’ ” —from “Swifts,” by Anne Stevenson

The Tionesta Natural Areas

The largest remaining uncut forest in Pennsylvania is the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. This remote 4,000-acre area is almost equally divided between the Tionesta Research Natural Area and adjoining Tionesta Scenic Natural Area, which are managed for science and aesthetic values.

Wild Bones

My daughter brings home bones and piles them on the driveway: femur, rib, jawbone with a few flat teeth attached, dozens of thin arced parts. —from “My Daughter Brings Home Bones” by Jennifer Richter

The Brush Hog: Thoughts on a Fall Field Cutting

Twice a year, in June and October, I cut the long grass and other species of plants, named derisively as weeds, in my fields. It’s a bit like cutting grass with a huge lawnmower.

Saving Bats and Great Fishing Along Spruce Creek

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has recently acquired a unique property in northern Huntingdon County that does two unusual things — provides public access for world-​class trout fishing on Spruce Creek and helps save struggling bats with desperately needed habitat.

The Mysteries of Feral Bees

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery, The revery alone will do, If bees are few. —Emily Dickinson

Tryon-​Weber Woods Natural Area

There are many forests to enjoy in Penn’s Woods, but one of the best examples of a mature beech-​maple forest can be found in Tryon-​Weber Woods, in western Crawford County about 90 miles north of Pittsburgh. This 100-​acre property was originally protected by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1976, and…

Getaway to the Pennsylvania Wilds

by Don Feigert
Sometimes a person just needs to get away — from work, from people, from everything in the city. For me that means heading up to the hills and waters of upstate Pennsylvania. On one particular occasion, however, not even my hunting/​fishing cabin would do. So I packed a one-​man tent and planned…

Nate and His Bees

The bees arrived yesterday, via Two Day Priority, from an apiary in Ohio. Three pounds of them. Five thousand bees and one queen buzzing around in a wooden crate made of scrap wood kinda stapled together. There are screens on either side so that you can actually see the bees.…

The Secret to Finding Morels

“I can’t seem to give ’em up I just like morels too much I like other ’shrooms and such But I just like morels too much Oyster mushrooms mighty fine Seafood and some nice white wine Chanterelles’re tasty too In a wild mushroom ragout Storebought shrooms can be a crutch…
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