Shift in Conservation Looks to Save Wildlife and Plants
After 57 years, the WVWA is shifting from its stewardship role to actively managing its nearly 1300 acres of protected open space as suburban wilderness. The change in the WVWA mindset is a strategically important one, meant to save the plants and wildlife for future generations to enjoy.
This process began three years ago by counting butterflies, birds and wildflowers of the Wissahickon Creek through professional scientific studies. Researching the animals and plants that still exist, while restoring wildlife habitat that has been degraded will result in the reintroduction of species of native vegetation and animals that have disappeared due to habitat loss and development.
“While we cannot bring back the wilderness character that was once found, there is a great opportunity to bring back many important species of plants and animals crucial to the ecosystem. With partners such as the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program and the Morris Arboretum, we are confident that we can become leaders in restoring our natural heritage,” said John Ferro, Director of Conservation Resources.
Elegant Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies and graceful Canada Lilies are among the species the WVWA have planned for re-introduction. To succeed, the WVWA has undertaken a series of steps to herald in this new conservation ethic:
- WVWA has promoted John Ferro to Director of Conservation Resources;
- WVWA has hired Margaret Rohde as Staff Naturalist to conduct field studies;
- After a 10-year hiatus, the WVWA will open the Four Mills Barn on weekends for additional guided nature walks and talks;
- A bird banding station will be launched to study bird migration;
- A citizen scientist volunteer base will be recruited to help and expand the conservation work
This new direction and expanded program starts this spring. Stay tuned through our website, www.wvwa.org, and follow us on facebook and Twitter.