Green Hotels Association
    November 2013  

SKYTOP'S MANY GREEN ACHIEVEMENTS!

Skytop Lodge sits atop 5,500 acres which includes deciduous and evergreen forests, scrub oak forests, rocky outcroppings, a rhododendron swamp, a glacial bog and small grassy meadows, which have all been held in conservation since 1928. Skytop Lodge recently received the coveted PMVB (Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau) Green Tourism Achievement Award for their conservation and ecological efforts! With a history tied to nature, Skytop has always made efforts through awareness and preservation programs, and working with some of the country�s top ecological organizations.

Wildlife conservation efforts have been an integral part of the history of Skytop Lodge. The original forester, Pat Fasano, worked hard to develop a trail system for the guests to enjoy. Pat also began a wildlife inventory of the property to provide a baseline for future management decisions.

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Under the management of former naturalist, John Serrao, much of the bird life, forest community and reptile and amphibian inhabitants of the property were recorded.

Recent conservation efforts include providing nest boxes for Eastern Bluebirds, Purple Martins and Screech Owls which are monitored during breeding season. A similar program is underway building bat boxes.

Skytop also chose to refrain from broadcast spraying of gypsy moths recently to preserve other insect species that would be harmed by such a wide attack. When installing the new Tree Top Adventure zip-line obstacle course, tree removal was kept to a minimum with much of the removed wood being used for on-site projects. Conservation continues inside the lodge, too, with farm-to-table dining, highlighting local farmers and growers at their annual Harvest Lake Stroll in the autumn.

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Wildflower gardens at Skytop have provided homes to bees, our winged friends, for over 80 years. To preserve the dropping honeybee populations, Skytop�s Bee Mindful initiative is distributing over 10,000 packages of wildflower seeds to help fight Colony Collapse Disorder.

Skytop Naturalists, Rick Koval and Jackie Speicher, educate visitors about the native species at Skytop. There is also a native animal collection containing a 7-foot Black Rat snake, a Timber Rattlesnake, a Northern Copperhead snake, (which all chow down on frozen rodents at public feeding times), an Eastern Garter snake (who slurps earthworms), Bullfrogs, Green frogs, American toads, 5 species of salamanders and a 45-year old box turtle named Myrtle.

Rick hosts edible plant walks teaching how to identify safe plants for food, teas, mushrooms and medicinal use, as well as poisonous plants to avoid. He highlights popular edible species including stag horn sumac, which makes a tea-like pink lemonade, sassafras for root beer, pineapple chamomile (which tastes like, you guessed it, pineapple!), wild basil, dandelions and acorns, as well as rare plants, such as bog rosemary growing in Skytop�s remote cranberry bog.

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Skytop works with leading conservation organizations. In 2004, Skytop Lodge hosted a Wooley Adelgid Summit organized to examine the destructive aphid pest that�s infecting the Eastern Hemlock trees. These trees help prevent river bank soil erosion and provide cooling shade that shelters many forms of wildlife. Working with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Survey, a plant and grass survey was completed, and a tree survey of the golf course is underway toward certification from Audubon International.

The Pocono Avian Research Center has conducted research including an investigation on the productivity and survivorship of the breeding songbirds at Skytop Lodge. A 10-year study by the Pocono Avian Research Center on the Northern Saw-whet Owl at Skytop has provided evidence of a strong population that has kept the Saw-whet Owl from being listed as a Species of Concern and offers encouragement.

Ann Pilcher of the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau stated, �What really made [Skytop] stand out was their Bee Mindful Program and all the efforts of their naturalists. We were really looking for a property that was a �Green� Hotels [Association} member, and made conservation and nature a priority.�

Skytop Lodge is proud to be recognized for their efforts and will continue their ongoing conservation plans to enrich and strengthen their beautiful natural surroundings for generations to come. To lean more, contact Elaine Leies, Sales Manager, at 570/595-8966 or eleies@skytop.com.

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"GREEN" IDEA!
Avoid using the garbage disposal. While it may grind up food items so they can flow down the drain, garbage disposals do not remove oil and grease, which can clog the drain. Also, your sewage treatment plant has to then remove all the waste costing many tax dollars.
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