Celebrate National Outdoors Month!

Celebrate Natonal Outdoors Month!

“The United States is blessed with a wealth of natural diversity that remains at the heart of who we are as a people. … Our natural surroundings animate the American spirit, fuel discovery and innovation, and offer unparalleled opportunities for recreation and learning. During Great Outdoors Month, we celebrate the land entrusted to us by our forebears and resolve to pass it on safely to future generations.”
-President Barack Obama

What better way to participate in National Outdoors Month with friends and family than at PPL’s environmental preserves?  Our preserves offer camping facilities, miles of hiking trails, boating, picnic areas, geocaching and much more for your outdoor adventures. See you there!

 

Bluebirds in a Winter Wonderland

DSCN1363We woke up to a winter wonderland yesterday and the first thing I did when I got to the Environmental Learning Center was grab the camera and head outside. We only got a dusting of snow overnight but it looked beautiful covering all of the trees around the lake. As I hiked around the preserve I noticed the birds were out and singing in full force. The snow had covered up food on the ground and they were looking for their seeds elsewhere, for the most part at our Project Feeder Watch set up just outside the learning center.

BluebirdAs I made my way down to the lake to photograph the snow covered shore, I noticed what I had been waiting for all winter, bluebirds amongst a snow covered staghorn sumac. They had found their breakfast, and there was plenty of it. During one of the first snows of the season sometime in November I spent a good amount of time standing in the frigid cold just trying to get at least one shot of a bluebird picking at red berries in a bush in front of the learning center. With my hands frozen, I unfortunately came away with photographs of just the pretty red berries covered in snow, and no birds. It has been a goal of mine since that day to get a shot of those bluebirds in the snow.

DSCN1370So as I tried to conceal my excitement to keep still and quiet while bringing up the camera for a shot at these bluebirds, I began to notice just how many there were. I took a few good shots, but of course I had to get closer. Here’s where the snow became my enemy because the crunch of it under my feet started to scare them away.

RSCN1398At that point I went from photographer back to naturalist and started to count. There had actually been at least 25 bluebirds in this stand of staghorn sumac. I know we have a good population of bluebirds here because I usually see 3 or 4 everyday, even in the winter. Now I know their favorite spot and I will certainly be checking back for more! They have plenty of places to stay due to our conservation efforts in providing a large number of bluebird boxes at the preserve, most of which were built by a student at Lackawanna College and then decorated by children at our annual Pike-Wayne Earth Day festival.

RSCN1399We are gearing up for the Paupack Plunge on Saturday and the winter wonderland had us wondering what we were thinking when we signed up to be freezin’ for a reason! You should join us in the fun and help support a great cause!

 

-Sarah Hall, PPL Lake Wallenpaupack

Montour Travel Bug Update

Montour TB USERThe last time we updated you on the Montour Travel Bug it had journeyed 7, 631 miles in the last 4 years and was making its way around Austria. Now almost five years later it is still in Austria, but has since been taken to several different beautiful locations. This particular travel bug has now logged over 8,100 miles since its release in March of 2007 at PPL’s Montour Environmental Preserve, and for the last 152 miles it has had one particularly good travel guide.
Montour TB Austria1

Geocaching.com user CarinjaMagdalena noted that the PPL keychain flashlight was still lighting up when picked up from a cache in lower Austria. Since then Birgit Rothböck (CarinjaMagdalena) has logged all of the beautiful places this TB has visited. Some of the pictures can be seen here, but for more pictures and a full log of the TB visit our geocaching.com page here. If you’re interested in finding our other cache locations you can also visit our PPL Preserves geocaching page here.
Montour TB Austria2Montour TB Austria3Montour TB Austria4Montour TB Austria5

 




 
Montour TB Austria6

 

Young Photographers

Young visitors to Montour Preserve rose to the challenge in the Youth Nature category.  1st place went to Marisa Maffei of Danville for her photo of Question Mark butterfly perched on a tree trunk (photo currently not available). Alexa Spaventa of Northumberland captured the subtle hues of purple coneflowers in bloom for 2nd place(photo currently unavailable). Leah Jacobs of Danville photographed blending of clouds, sunset and water for 3rd place. Look for one more set of photos to come in a future blog post.

3rd Place: Clouds, sunset & water by Leah Jacobs

3rd Place: Clouds, sunset & water by Leah Jacobs

And the Winners Are…

In the Adult Recreation category Lake Chillisquaque  provided a backdrop for all three winning photos. Kathleen Braim of Turbotville took 1st place with a photo snapped while paddling at sunset on the lake. She confessed that it took her many shots to get the kayak in just the right position. 2nd place went to Katie Garber with the photo of her two oldest children sitting quietly on a bench, silhouetted against the lake. Jennifer Wemple’s 3rd place photo is a sailboat gliding across the sunset-splashed lake on a quiet evening. These photos show that every visitor enjoys unique experiences at Montour Preserve but that the water has a magnetic draw. Look for more winning photos to come.

1st Place: Sunset at Lake Chillisquaque by Kathleen Braim

1st Place: Sunset at Lake Chillisquaque by Kathleen Braim

Katie Garber5x7

2nd Place: Katie Garber’s children at Lake Chillisquaque

3rd Place: Sailboat at Sunset by Jenifer Wemple

3rd Place: Sailboat at Sunset by Jenifer Wemple

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