Montour Preserve Newsletter

Montour Preserve is one of my favorite places around here.  Not only do they have a great lake for kayaking, wonderful walking paths, and great picnic areas, but they also have a lot of really great educational programs.  Their newsletter not only tells you about their programs, but also tells you what to look for in the sky, and in nature.  To subscribe, go to :

They have a blog you can follow too -

In this issue of the Montour Preserve Newsletter:
  • Sky Watch
  • Nature Notes
  • July, August & September Programs
  • Around the Preserve
Sky Watch
July’s Full Moon is in the 3rd and New Moon on the 18th. In the dawn sky from July14-16, look to the east about an hour before sunrise to see a thin crescent Moon near Venus, Jupiter, Aldebaran and the Pleiades. About one hour after sunset from July 23-25, look toward the west-southwest to see the waxing crescent Moon below Mars and Saturn and near the star Spica.
August’s Full Moon is in the 1st and New Moon on the 17th. On the night of August 11 through the early morning hours of August 12, the annual Perseid Meteor Shower peaks. It is best viewed after midnight. The thin crescent moon will not interfere with viewing. This is typically one of the year’s best meteor showers. One hour after sunset from August 20-22, look to the west-southwest to see the waxing crescent Moon near the triangle formed by Spica, Saturn and Mars.
September’s New Moon on the 15th and the Full Moon is on the 29th. In the early hours before sunrise on September 12-14, you can see the waning crescent Moon pass by Venus as it moves lower toward the star Regulus in the backward shaped question mark of the constellation Leo, the Lion. On September 19, Mars shines just to the right of a thin crescent Moon at dusk. September 22 marks the beginning of Autumn at 10:42 a.m. EDT.
Summer Nature Notes
The hotter days of summer slow the pace of nature but there is still a lot of activity, especially on a smaller scale. Patrolling dragonflies zoom along ponds, streams and wet meadows as they reach the peak of their activity. By late summer and into early fall, the largest dragonflies, Green Darners begin to migrate following ridges south through the state.
Butterflies feed actively during these warm days, mating and laying eggs. The first Monarch butterflies appear in July, their spectacular orange-and-black wings fluttering over fields. Fireflies or lightning bugs reach their peak of activity in July, flashing their signal lanterns after dark in an effort to attract a mate while fascinating children of all ages at the same time.
August brings a flurry of asters blooming as the first “wave” of warblers begins night flights south. Barn Swallows begin gathering in August in preparation for their early migration south for the winter. Shortening days in late August and September prompt shorebirds to make their way south. Much less well-known is the nocturnal passage of many songbirds during September and October. These night-flying birds are sometimes silhouetted against the moon as they fly past on a clear night. Listen for their short nocturnal flight calls that indicate their flight. Watch the face of the full or nearly full moon with binoculars to see this unusual event.
July Programs
Saturday, June 30
1:30-3 p.m.
Meet in Environmental Education Center
Presented by Matt Schenck, College Intern
This year is the 40th anniversary of the opening of Montour Preserve. To mark this milestone we invite you to join us for a very special program about the history of the land before and since Montour Preserve opened. We will explore the land’s previous inhabitants over the past several hundred years and look at the past four decades of environmental stewardship and education displayed at Montour Preserve. Following this 45 minute talk we will hit the trail for a 45 minute walk showcasing some of the preserve’s heritage.
Sunday, July 8
8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Meet at Environmental Education Center
Hosted by: Central Susquehanna Valley Chapter
of the North American Butterfly Association
It’s time to chase butterflies. All across the nation volunteers are joining to count numbers and species of butterflies in designated locations. Why not volunteer to join members of the local chapter of the North American Butterfly Association and help survey butterflies on and around Montour Preserve? The annual July Butterfly Count gathers information on the range and population numbers of butterfly species. This is a great opportunity to get involved and learn about these beautiful creatures. If you would like to help with this year’s count, plan to spend part of or all day outdoors with us. Bring binoculars and a field guide as well as water and a lunch. The butterfly chapter will meet at 2 p.m. to share results if you would like to stay for its meeting.
Nature AND Garden Expo
Saturday, July 14
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Organized by: Montour Penn State Master Gardeners
in conjunction with the Iron Heritage Festival
Join us for a day filled with informative lectures, entertaining activities, educational displays, artists and vendors. Lecture topics include creating your own nature calendar, buying grass fed meats, revitalizing the American chestnut, attracting birds and constructing a rain barrel. Educational displays and activities feature a live butterfly exhibit and kid’s activity, life in a honeybee hive, hand-carving eagles, live bats. There will be a variety of artists and vendors along with a food concession. Tickets for the event are $12 in advance or $15 at the door for adults. Children below 18 years old are admitted free. For additional information follow this link:
Tree I.D.
Saturday, July 21
9:30-11:30 a.m.
East Branch Recreation Area
Presented by: Matthew Schenck, College Intern
Trees provide a refreshing shade during the summer months. Pennsylvania is graced with over a hundred native tree species. This wide diversity of trees cools us in the summer, provides shelter and food for animals wood for lumber and so much more. Sometimes we just don’t see the trees for the forest. Join us for an opportunity to explore Pennsylvania’s trees. We’ll walk at a leisurely pace to look at and identify trees and discuss their natural history.
Directions: From Montour Preserve Visitors Center turn left onto Preserve Road. Travel ½ mile and turn left on Sportsmans Road. Drive to the end of Sportsmans Road (about 1 mile). Turn right onto Route 44 and drive 1.7 miles. The East Branch Recreation Area will be on the right. Look for the sign. Park in the gravel lot at the top of the hill.
Sunday, July 29
2-3:30 p.m.
Environmental Education Center
Presented by Jerry Haines, singer-songwriter
Join us for an afternoon of acoustic music, folk ballads, humorous songs, and good old time music. Pennsylvania singer-songwriter Jerry Haines will provide a delightful musical program for all ages. This versatile performer returns to the preserve to mix vocals with guitar, harmonica, and autoharp. If you enjoy good old down-home music, bring the family and join us for an afternoon of toe-tappin' pleasure.
(Three-part course)
Tuesday, July 31
Thursday, Aug. 2
6-9 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 4
8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Environmental Education Center
Advance Registration Required
Course Instructors: Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer,
Montour Preserve Staff and Volunteer Instructors
This three-session course is designed to produce safe, responsible and knowledgeable hunters and trappers. It includes instruction in basic techniques plus a host of hunting, trapping and outdoor skills designed to enhance a new participant’s knowledge and enjoyment of wildlife and our hunting and trapping heritage.
Beginning and experienced hunters and trappers are welcome. Participants must be at least 11 years of age to enroll in a course and must attend all three sessions to qualify for certification. Adults are encouraged to attend with their children.
Please register early because space in this course is limited. To register go to and find the hunter education calendar. If you don’t have Internet access, call 570-437-3131 with the name, address, birth date of participant(s) and a contact phone number.
Note: Pennsylvania’s Game and Wildlife Code requires all first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, to attend and successfully complete this course.
August Programs
Saturday, August 11
10-11:30 a.m.
Meet in Environmental Education Center
Presented by: Jon D. Beam, Senior Naturalist
There are tales of old of dragons carrying off young damsels. Those are just stories, but dragons do exist along with damsels but in the form of some very unique insects: damselflies and dragonflies. We’ll begin indoors with a look at some natural history of these insects and their life cycles. Then we’ll venture outdoors to take a look at dragonflies and damselflies in their native habitat. Binoculars might be helpful for damsel and dragon watching.
September Programs
Sunday, Sept. 9
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Environmental Education Center
Sponsored by: Central Susquehanna Valley Chapter
of the North American Butterfly Association
Join us for an annual celebration of butterflies. This year’s activities will begin with an informative program on butterflies by Rick Mikula, author of The Family Butterfly Book and designer of the butterfly house at Dollywood. After that will be a presentation on monarch butterflies and their life cycle. Then, we’ll tag and release some monarchs. We’ll end the afternoon with a craft just for kids. This will be a great afternoon for the entire family.
Songs of the Seasons, Rivers and Plains
Saturday, Sept. 22
2-3:30 p.m.
Meet in Environmental Education Center
Presented by: Lester Hirsh and Kathleen Radspinner
The duo Jerusalem will take you on a musical and poetic journey. Singing original compositions as well as classic standards, Songs of the Seasons, Rivers and Plains, will mirror their travels across America. This seasoned duo includes a versatile guitarist, singer/songwriter, and poet as well as a classically trained singer/songwriter who performs on keyboard, bodhran and Native American flute. This special performance will be a musical treat for the entire family.
Sunday, Sept. 30
2-3 p.m.
Environmental Education Center
Presented by: Van Wagner, Singer/Songwriter/Educator
There was a time in Pennsylvania when trees stretched to the sky. Then the lumbermen came to harvest those trees with axe and saw. It required hard work and long days to clear the forests. Join Van Wagner for an exploration of those lumbering days through song, story and photos and learn about those early logging days.
Sunday, Sept. 30
3-4 p.m.
Environmental Education Center
Presented by: Van Wagner, Singer/Songwriter/Educator
Danville native Van Wagner will offer a variety of original songs about life in north central Pennsylvania in a unique concert. His songs range from the humorous to those addressing pressing issues. Sung in front of a video background this musical program will be a treat for eyes and ears. Join us for a fun afternoon of stories and songs. Don’t miss the Tall Timbers program immediately preceding the concert.
Around the Preserve
Summer hours: The Visitors Center will be open daily through mid-September from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pavilion reservations: If you would like to rent a pavilion for a family gathering, reunion, or other event you can do so on-line by going to the following website, or by calling 1-800-354-8383.
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