Looking Back to Move Ahead:
Exploring Our Conservation Legacy

I'm Back. Let the Bugles Sound.


Am I the only one who finds it hard to choose a paint color? My sis and I picked up a folder at the local Warehouse of Home Maintenance to find "a nice gray." The book title was really almost spot on - 48 shades of it. So frankly I chose mine based on the fact that I wouldn't mind having a Rolls-Royce. Silver Shadow turns out to be pretty nice. Although it doesn't add much to my Laurel Ridge State Park tee shirt or convertible pants.

The break was nice but there's lots to talk about, so let's get to it! (Our masthead this week is second place winner Makayla Whiting's entry into the Young Photographers category of the photo contest. Lots of talented young people out there. Congratulations to them all!)

~ Pam Metzger
Membership & Volunteer Coordinator

News of Note.


First and foremost, a reminder from last issue that we've launched a school based poster and video contest as part of the Anti-Graffiti campaign. There's a big ol' blue button on the PPFF website home page with a link to the campaign and additional information on the contests. Find your favorite middle school, high school, or college student and clue him or her in!

Also as related last time out, the Nature of Nolde art contest is in full swing, with students from all across Berks County set to compete in a drawing/painting/photography showcase in December. According to Russell Slocum of Art Plus Gallery, who has helped to establish the contest for the second year in a row, "a busload of 11th and 12th grade students from Muhlenberg High School, led by art educator Nan Forrer, visited Nolde on October 14. Guided by Nolde Forest environmental education specialists Rachel Baur and Amy Marsch, the students spent two hours scoping out and photographing scenes for the contest. Most of the photos will be used as reference for art created done in the classroom. Some will be entered in the contest’s Photography category."

I'm giving props here to Nadya Cesar, who went old school for the photography session - with an actual camera and not a cellphone!

Speaking of art, big thanks to Marcus Schneck of the Patriot-News for his great article on the plein air day at Hammonds Rocks. The artists (maybe you?) will be back in the Spring. Stay tuned!

Marci will be at the monthly meeting of the Presque Isle Audubon Society tonight at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at PI State Park with a presentation of the Mira Lloyd Dock documentary. All are welcome - 7:00 PM is the time.

Mira and the other heroes of Pennsylvania Conservation Heritage star in the new website for the project launched late last week. The timeline, bios, documentary showings, and teacher guides are all there for your use and expansion. Let's spread the word!

We'll also be on hand at the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber (of Commerce) Professionals gathering in State College next week so if you're involved with your local chamber, stop by the table and say hello.

Picture of the Week.


Yes, indeed. Fall color is everywhere and the Book of Faces is full of fabulous. This one from Hickory Run strikes me for the reds. We have lovely oranges and yellow here in the Highlands but our reds seem lacking.

The Inside Track.


It's time to pay a visit to Tom Schwarz on another of his hiking adventures. But let's be very quiet, okay?

It seems odd to be in bed so early, yet, it feels so right, since the sun is long gone, crickets are softly humming their natural tune, the smell of wetted bark has become more apparent, and fog has settled deep into the woods.

Nighttime brings the musty smell of the woods to life. Leaves, newly cloaked in their Fall colors, yet old to the branch, begin the cycle of living high in the canopy, falling to the forest floor, decaying, and rejuvenating the soil. Their once crisp form has become limp and blackened. Insects that formerly waffled between the leaves, are either wetted or have become part of the forest life cycle.

Tonight I sat on the vista, watching fog and rain play a vapory dance through the valley and across a high ridge nearby. Normally I sit on the vista seeking planets, stars, and silence, but there is also beauty in the gray meanderings of vapor. It lay in the valley as a ceiling, before it suffered the courage to rise to the ridge, only to collapse to the valley in a liquid pillow. Lines of vapor arose in separate strings, as a soft mist, yet moved monolithically, above the foggy ceiling. The interplay reminded me of a false rain, eager to start, but lacking the courage to fall. It moved weakly, before falling in line with its vapory brethren below.

Nighttime darkness now fully ensconces the forest. Sounds are mellow, soft, and intensely natural. There is a silence amongst the sound. I believe it to be the silence of the mind, now separate from the weekday world, and attached to the rhythm and murmur of the forest. It's not understood if I bring my body to the woods for exercise and rejuvenation, or if I bring the mind; simply to rediscover compassion, clarity, passion, and imagination. It's truly the mind. The body was offered the chance to sleep during the week, but the mind requires a special natural place to find rest. As it reconnects with the gentle sway of the night air and mellow sounds; it asks for sleep. Like the falling leaves, it passes through the cycle of life, to become renewed the next day.

I positioned myself to face the awakening sun, in the full expectation that morning will bring the rebirth of another satisfying day. I'm certain it will. It's time to reconnect with the forest, lay the mind to rest, and sleep. Good night.

This photograph of the Youghiogheny River Overlook at Baughman's Rocks by Clare Kaczmarek seems to capture the vapory vista that Tom enjoyed(even if it is a little sunnier). Click it to visit the dazzling original.

At Work & Play in the Parks & Forests.


Festival time is drawing to a close and now's when it's great to get out and walk in our state parks and forests. Lots of hikes on the schedule!

Pennsylvania Wilds.

Apples and acorns - a dynamic duo. Hike in search of them at Clear Creek State Park tomorrow morning.


Come on out to the Howl-O-Ween Pet Jamboree at Shikellamy State Park tomorrow, and enjoy a fall hike with the folks from the Loyalsock State Forest for their Fall Hike on Sunday. It's short and challenging! 


If you couldn't get enough of Pine Grove Furnace last weekend at Furnace Fest, come back tomorrow for a Fall Foliage Hike; then head over the mountain to Kings Gap for a Sunday Afternoon Hike.


Tomorrow is the day for a Fall Foliage Hike at Nolde Forest as well; the last hike of the season (sniff) comes to Frances Slocum on Sunday.


A Halloween(ish) night hike is on tap at Raccoon Creek tomorrow night; come out to Ohiopyle Sunday afternoon for the Rise of the Falls Hike.

No matter what region you're looking to visit, our website Calendar of Events, the DCNR Calendar of Events and the ever-expanding Get Outdoors PA calendar are all great sources for things to do and see.

Take Five for Trivia.


By racking my brain a bit, I recall that we left our trivia contest asking about the completion of another piece of the trail pie that will eventually connect some of the major points of interest in the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape. This lovely larger trail will be known as the Big Woods Trail and it will connect the Schuylkill River Trail to French Creek State Park and the Hopewell Village National Historic Site. (The French Creek section was dedicated on September 30.)

This week, we will salute Mira Lloyd Dock with our question. What was the name of the international "initiative" in which she and Horace McFarland were involved in Harrisburg?

Send in your answer and we'll enter your correct answer into our monthly prize drawing. All correct answers each week will go into the hat and at the end of the month we'll draw one lucky winner. The more correct answers you submit in a month (up to four or the occasional five depending on the month), the more chances you'll have to win.

In closing.


Tomorrow is Make a Difference Day. What's YOUR plan?

Coming November 18!

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization - contributions to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. The official registration and financial information of PPFF may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll-free within Pennsylvania, to 800.732.0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) is a proud member of EarthShare.

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