Bemusing Bugs

Let's explore the beneficial, beautiful, busy, and bemusing world of bugs! Bugs form the backbone of a heathy ecosystem, all without possessing one themselves. Most bugs you are likely to encounter on a spring evening live most of their lives in the water as macroinvertibrates (creatures without a spine that you can see with your naked eye). These adorable little “macros” perform a variety of functions for a heathy stream. Macroinvertibrates can be broken down into categories on what they eat, and how. Grazers generally collect loose material on the bottom of a stream and are not discerning, eating most anything smaller than their mouths or processing algae and other microorganisms. Filter f

Native Plants at Home

Native plants are awesome! You’re likely aware of the many fantastic reasons to use native plants around your home – they’re easy to care for, essential for hundreds of native pollinators, and provide food for a huge quantity of wildlife – just to name a few. Yet choosing the native plants that are best for you can sometimes be challenging. How do you know which plants are native? Where is the best place to plant different varieties? Where do you even find native plants? While many of the usual large spring plant sales have been cancelled, many nurseries are still open and available for folks to place orders. The Pennsylvania Native Plant Society maintains a current list of native plant vend

Trees! Trees! Millions of Trees!

There are around 200 common species of trees in Pennsylvania, and about two-thirds are natives. Many of the introduced species were originally brought into North America as ornamentals and escaped the careful confines of gardens, arboretums, and the occasional colonial homestead. Others serve as common urban and suburban plantings due to their hardiness or air cleaning potential. The Ginkgo, a 200 million year old species, is one such example. It is incredibly hard to kill, grows slowly, and purifies vast quantities of pollution from the air. As beneficial as some of these introduced species are, the native varieties are often better adapted to provide support to our ecosystem. The native tr

Native Plants for Your Home Landscape

Ready to get started with your native landscaping at home? Native Garden tips Always purchase native plants from a reputable nursery Never collect plants from the wild, which harms local plant communities Do research to place plants in the right conditions (light, moisture, soil type) Shop by scientific names rather than common names help ensure you’re getting the right plant. Scientific names are usually underlined or italicized. Example: Red Maple – Acer rubrum (Acer = genus, rubrum = species) Why it’s Important to use Native Plants? Adapted for Local Climate and Conditions Pollen and Nectar for Pollinators - Host plants for the caterpillars of pollinators Wildlife Food – Native plants hos

Birds in Your Backyard

From the first signs of spring, with the return of robins, to their eggs produced around Easter, spring is synonymous with birds. While some of our spring-time friends are actually here all year, the majority of them migrate huge distances. Many of our classic spring and summer songbirds overwinter in South American forests and make harrowing voyages of thousands of miles every year. They don’t even earn points for free upgrades on all of that flying. Migrations are statistically the most dangerous time for birds, and everything from glass windows to outdoor cats pose a risk to them during this vulnerable time. Central Pennsylvania is a migratory highway so every action we take has huge impa

Walk Like a Woodcock

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. They are difficult to spot, but they produce very distinct noises that make them fairly easy to locate. These small shorebirds prefer shrubby open spaces that allow them to move their less-than-streamlined bodies under cover and avoid predators as they forage for their favorite food, earthworms. Woodcocks are about the size and shape of healthy pear, with coloration that is dominantly brown with some mottling and easily blends into surroundings. Unlike many other species, th

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The mission of ClearWater Conservancy is to conserve and restore our natural resources through land conservation, water resources stewardship, and environmental outreach across central Pennsylvania.

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