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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Winter Solstice Celebration


Evangela Lisa Jackson
As friends, neighbors, members of the choir and regiment, and TLC staff gathered around the bonfire last night at Stateline Woods Preserve, we certainly had a lot to celebrate. Not only were we celebrating the Winter Solstice, which marks the time of year when our days start getting longer and our nights shorter, but we were also celebrating the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War. The rain had held off for the evening, and everybody was excited for the night to begin.
We started with an amazing solo singer, Evangela Lisa Jackson, whose voice reverberated through the fields. After this beautiful start to the evening, The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War regiment discussed the impacts of the Civil War and gave a tribute, which included a small artillery cannon being fired three times to honor the war dead. Eugene Hough, from Heritage Guild Works, spoke a few words about the restoration work we are doing at the Bucktoe Cemetery, and read the powerful poem “Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
It was now time to light the evergreen tree atop Crossfield Hill! All the kids helped us string the lights and hang our natural ornaments we had made during the Black Friday Celebration. While we decorated the tree, the choir from the Gailee Church in Avondale, led by Reverend Sonni Taylor, led us all in some familiar Christmas carols. Soon everyone had joined in and many were making requests for the next carols to sing! We all had a great time celebrating the Winter Solstice and the end of the Civil War, and hope you can join us next year to celebrate!
Lighting and Decorating the Evergreen Tree
Thank you to everybody who participated in the Winter Solstice Celebration, and a special thanks to Crystal Crampton, Eugene Hough, Evangela Lisa Jackson, The Choir, and The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War!
All proceeds from this event benefit the Bucktoe Cemetery Living History Classroom.
TLC has year round programming, check our website to see what’s up next!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be the perfect weather which we filled with fun outdoor programs at Bucktoe Creek Preserve! We started out the weekend with our Black Friday 
Going on a Hike
on Friday morning. Many families gathered at the teaching shed, excited to go on a hike to collect natural materials to create holiday ornaments. We took a long, meandering hike through beautiful meadows, forests, and conifer groves, picking out the perfect materials to create ornaments fashioned to look like reindeer, squirrels, Christmas trees, and anything else we wanted! Our crafting materials included natural items such as rose hips, foxtails, leaves, pine cones, bark, and moss. Once we pulled together all of our materials, we got our imagination and creative juices flowing. A few of our participants were kind enough to leave behind some of their ornaments to help us decorate our evergreen tree during the Winter Solstice Celebration on Tuesday, December 22nd!

Creating Ornaments from our Natural Materials

The next morning, we started off our Children’s I-Spy birding at 9AM with some very dedicated young birders. By beginning at the feeders, we were able to get beautiful looks at American
White Breasted Nuthatch
Goldfinches and White-breasted Nuthatches through the scope. We also got to learn about the call of the American Goldfinch, which sounds like a rubber ducky being squeezed! Once we started off on the trail, we were inundated with sparrows darting through the brushy habitat. We heard the White-throated Sparrows singing “Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody” and could see the gray bodies and white undersides of the Dark-eyed Juncos. As we kept walking, a gorgeous, adult Red-tailed Hawk soared right over us, letting us see the dark red tail feathers, and the dark belly band.  Our next Children’s I-Spy Birding will be held on Saturday, January 30th. Come out and join us and see what we can find!

This weekend also marked the end of our annual Bucktoe Creek Preserve Hawk Watch. Every year from September 1st through November 30th, Larry Lewis of Early Bird Nature Tours runs our Hawk Watch out of the Warm Season Grass Meadow. Even though it was the last weekend of the season, the birds did not disappoint. Sharp-shinned Hawks were flying over at a constant rate, a few Bald Eagles made an appearance, and we even had a Peregrine Falcon speed past! Mark your calendars for next year to come out and scan the skies with our experts to learn about the different migrating hawks over this area! Not only can you spot hawks, but also numerous songbirds use this amazing habitat, along with a multitude of butterflies. We have hundreds of migrating monarchs fly over the hawk watch each season!

Bucktoe Creek Preserve Hawk Watch

Make sure to check out our upcoming programs to see what programs are coming up next! We hope to see you out at one of the programs, or enjoying one of the preserves!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Halloween Owl Prowl

Last Friday, October 30th, marked The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County’s Halloween Owl Prowl. 30 excited participants gathered at Bucktoe Creek Preserve in the hopes of capturing a glimpse of these elusive nocturnal birds that frequent the property. With a little bit of light left in the day, we started out by learning about the 8 owls that can be found in Pennsylvania and the 3 target species for the night: Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, and Great Horned Owl. These are the three most common owls of Pennsylvania, and are all known to live on or near Bucktoe Creek Preserve.

Comparing the wingspans of the three common PA owls
Taking a look at owl pellets found on the property

Once we were all caught up on facts about the owls, had checked out the taxidermy, and investigated some owl pellets, everybody was more than excited to get out on the trail to try to find real live owls! We split into two groups to give ourselves a better chance of finding owls, gathered our materials and set out to see what we could find. Our first two stops yielded no results, but at our third stop we heard our first owl! An Eastern Screech Owl, the smallest of our common PA owls, called its whinny call. Invigorated by hearing our first owl, we moved on, certain that we would find more, and we were not disappointed. At our next stop another Eastern Screech Owl flew past us, landing on a tree not far from the trail, giving us a wonderful look! As we continued the walk, we saw or heard at least three more Screech Owls. They were putting on a show for us, silently flying past us to check us out. We had a great time out on the trail searching for owls, maybe next time we will get a Barred or Great Horned Owl!

Heading out on the trail!

Beatiful Bucktoe Creek Preserve sunset

The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County holds Owl Prowls every season. Our next Owl Prowl will be Friday, January 22nd from 5-6:30, please click here to register! If you are interested in an Owl Prowl for your private group, please contact Hannah, our Education Coordinator, at 610-347-0347 ext 104 or

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