Articles by topic


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.

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.

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