Crow’s Nest: Fall events recap

December 29, 2023

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

I haven’t had a chance to report on some of the fall events here and would like to share some photos from them. We held our Plein Air Painting class with Karen Weber in September. This is what it looked like as she walked us through the process from materials to choosing a subject and through to finished painting.

An artist demonstrating plein air painting

Photo: Daniel Barringer

For those of us who had never done anything like this before, it was a real eye-opener as to how to get started. But experienced painters also were excited by all that they learned from Karen.

Plein air painting of a scene at the visitor center at Crow's Nest Preserve.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

This autumn we held our Geology Rocks! hike with West Chester University professors emeriti Lee Ann Srogi and Tim Lutz. Lee Ann brought to life the eons of geology that got us to what we have here now, and Tim focused on the geological processes that are happening right now—under our feet, in our streams, and all around us. Below, the group gathers around Tim at Mine Run as he explains the minerals dissolved in the water passing by.

A group of people in the woods to learn about geology

Photo: Daniel Barringer

We also held an Owl Prowl this fall with Dawn White who brought some of her birds which cannot be released to the wild due to injuries that sent them to rehabilitators. Our events with Dawn offer an opportunity to see the wildlife up close which is an uncommon encounter in the wild. Then we followed up with a hike to observe habitat and listen for owls. The plein air painting and owl prowl were sponsored by the Cassandra O. and Dennis B. Lacey Performance Series; look for upcoming events here that combine the arts and nature, including more wildlife demonstrations, movie nights, and barn concerts.

A woman holding and teaching about a barn owl that cannot be released to the wild.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

We were excited to be offered the opportunity to have a Natural Lands booth representing Crow’s Nest Preserve at the Fall Festival at St. Peter’s Village. Visitors got to spin the wildlife trivia wheel with us and talk to rangers from Warwick County Park and Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. We’re so fortunate to live in a place with such extraordinary natural resources as well as a community so engaged in protecting them.

Two pop-up tents in front of the St. Peter's Inn for a village festival

Photo: Daniel Barringer

I did post already about our October volunteer day, but I never got around to mentioning our September workday, where we got started on the hedgerows that we completed in October and November. Below, we had a small but hardworking pair of volunteers join Cody and me clearing invasive vines.

Volunteers posing in front of a hedgerow they are clearing

Photo: Cody Hudgens

By November we had turned the corner and cleared most of these hedgerows, located across French Creek from the Creek Trail. Then our intern Devon (far right, below) went back with a brush cutter and finished the larger-diameter invasives we couldn’t do by hand. The trees, freed of their burden of vines, will now thrive.

Volunteers posing in front of a hedgerow they cleared.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

For December we went to another part of the preserve, the woods near our savanna, and cut invasive autumn olive as well as multiflora rose and vines. It makes me so happy to see the dramatic difference of these areas with their invasives managed.

Volunteers standing in the woods

Photo: Cody Hudgens

Best part of all, this isn’t just the end of a rewarding season, but the start of a new one! We’ll have our first volunteer day of 2024 next week, January 3, and are planning a full calendar of winter and spring events.