Mammals fill many roles in our ecosystems and have adapted to fill a variety of niches where they can truly thrive. While some of these wide-ranging furry friends can be found throughout the state, some of them are more reclusive and can only be found in specific habitats. Learn about all the cool ways mammals contribute to our ecology.

Pennsylvania Trees

There are around 200 common species of trees in Pennsylvania, and about two-thirds are natives.

Spring Birds

From the first signs of spring, with the return of robins, to their eggs produced around Easter, spring is synonymous with birds.


The American woodcock is a fascinatingly strange bird. Commonly referred to as the timberdoodle, the American woodcock inhabits wet, scrubby woodlands and produces one the greatest mating ritual feats of the avian world.


Our first weekly feature will focus on amphibians and their migration to vernal pools, a type of seasonal pond, in and around the Scotia Barrens. Each spring these guys and gals saunter back to the exact same spot to find a mate often crossing hundreds of yards, a massive journey for a 2-inch creature!


Weather is wild! Learn about all the cool, and hot, ways weather systems form, what different clouds mean for forecasting, and fascinating weather phenomenon that are a part of living in the truly dynamic mid-atlantic.

Summer Bugs

The soundtrack of summer is not complete without the cacophony that our warm-season bugs produce. The same is also true of the moths, butterflies, and fireflies that define the summer sights. Learn about all the critters that perform day and night to the tune of summer.

Old Growth Trees

There are around 8,000,000,000 trees in Pennsylvania covering over 16,000,000 acres, but only .06% of that contain trees predating the 20th century. Either through early colonization or the later boom-and-bust cycles much of the old-growth forests no longer remain, but we have pockets of theses ancient trees right here in our backyard. Explore some of these sylvan sanctuaries and discover what Pennsylvania was like before people.

Lake Ecosystems

Large lakes in Pennsylvania are almost exclusively man-made. That doesn’t keep them form forming natural cycles and forming the own ecosystems, however. Jump into the ecology of our lakes and find out what lurks beneath the surface of several lakes in our area.

Scotia and Iron History

Scotia is an area rich in cultural and geologic history. A humble pick-and-shovel operation that eventually turned into one of main focuses for Andrew Carnegie; join us as we explore some of the more fascinating anecdotes with the leading historian on the subject.

Threatened Trees

Chestnuts, once so plentiful that entire regions are named after them, are now a critically endangered species. Examine some of the threats facing our modern forests and what efforts are being taken to insure the historic diversity of our forests remains for future generations.

Summer Birds

The spring and fall bring the greatest diversity of birds to our region, but what about all the ones that call this place home? Dive into a new understanding of our summer avian residents and learn about some of our friendly flying friends. We will explore species that have adapted to cohabitate with humans and secretive forest dwelling birds.

Public Art

Public art unites our community in ways few other physical objects can. Learn about the history of public art throughout central Pennsylvania, where to find pieces that are hidden in plain sight, and how many of these installations came to be.

Modern Sustainability Practices

What are some of the leading innovations in the sustainability movement? Learn about the work going into making central Pennsylvania a better place to call home and reducing our impact on the world.

Historic Land Uses

Take a trip back to the early days of human exploration of central Pennsylvania. From the earliest inhabitants to the rapid progression of colonial expansion land use in our community has changed drastically. Follow along as we dive into our unique cultural history and what these important events mean for us today.

Geologic Formations

We have an unusual geologic history in Pennsylvania, our rocks are upside-down! All of our young rocks make up the valley floors while the older formations are what make up the higher ridges. The same ridges that define our region also helped shape the socio-economic development of our communities. Take some time to explore why rocks rock!


Pennsylvania has over 80,000 miles of streams and waterways, and we have the highest stream density of any state! We are indeed a well drained land, and you can scarce find a place to throw a rock that won’t hit a stream. Find out more about a water heritage and the important factors that have come together to make our home so replete with waterways.


There are a wide assortment of reptiles in Pennsylvania; turtles, snakes, and lizards across every biome. Explore the different habitats that harbor these scaly friends, the work that goes into protecting them, and how likely you are to run across one on an adventure.


Pollinators are essential for our way of life. They help out everything from apples to zucchini reproduce and are essential to a healthy garden. Discover all the varieties of pollinators that contribute to plant reproduction and how to create pollinator friendly habitats.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are often introduced into an environment and can cause severe harm to those already present. Invasive often have an advantage over their competitors that make them more successful while providing less to the ecosystem than the ones they would be replacing. Learn about the various types of invasive plants, how to identify them, and management strategies to keep them from spreading out of control.

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, using Environmental Stewardship Funds, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and the generous support of Mount Nittany Health and the Hamer Foundation.

© 2020 by ClearWater Conservancy

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