Dear friend,

The weather is warming up and the forests and natural areas around us are filled with sounds, scents and sights of everything coming to life. It's truly the perfect time to step outside and explore the natural world around you!

As Centred Outdoors: Season 4 begins, we invite you to visit the CO website where you can:
  • Access a collection of fantastic locations to explore throughout our region.
  • Discover more about our world, everything from tiny bugs to 300-year-old trees!
  • Find family friendly activities that bring the topics to life.
  • Get involved with our partner organizations and help to make our home even better.
  • Explore over 20 topics across 16 different sites.

Getting outside each day is a great way to stay healthy and relaxed during the stressful and uncertain circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even under PA's stay-at-home order, engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running is an allowable activity as long as social distancing is maintained. We can all help keep our communities safe during by reviewing PA's recommendations and guidelines for outdoor activity and outdoor recreation guidance from PA DCNR.

Stress less, and explore more!
Your ClearWater Crew
Mammals near you!
Read and learn a bit:
Mammals represent a fun clade of organisms. You and I belong to this group mostly due to our fur and babies, though scientifically it has more to do with the shape of our skulls. We belong to a group of animals called synapsids, a lineage dating back to over 300 million years when the first members of this group evolved holes in their skulls behind their eyes, letting all of our relatives bite down with a good deal of force.

Mammals are tremendously good at just about everything, a key factor to why they are the dominant terrestrial group in many ecosystems today. There are the highly successful generalists like mice, deer, skunk, raccoons, and, of course, humans. There are also highly specialized niche mammals that perform key roles in our ecosystem: Seed broadcasters (squirrels that bury the many varieties of nuts), pest control (bats eating their weight in mosquitoes a night), and habitat management and construction (beavers creating dams and lodges), just to name a few.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) oversees the protection, management, and largely the education about the mammals in Pennsylvania, everything from chipmunks to black bears. The PGC maintains a series of informative “wildlife notes ” on many of the wild mammal species. These notes are worth diving into to learn about some of the more unique ways these furry friends contribute to our natural surroundings.
Tips & Tricks:
Mount Nittany, Millbrook Marsh, Colyer Lake, and the Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor are great places to explore more open terrain on the edges of larger woods. These areas bring the most opportunities to see the widest varieties of mammalian wildlife. Almost all of the smaller mammals like mice, voles, and shrews exist in the transitional area as their wide array of food sources are plentiful as is their ability to find shelter. These tiny taxa make up the majority of the mammal species in Pennsylvania. Despite intense pressure form predators in this edge habitats their breeding rates keep their population levels stable where other, less prolific species would not be able to survive.

Poe Paddy, Alan Seeger, and the Spring Creek Canyon all offer the types of woodland habitat you might expect bobcat, porcupine, or fisher to prowl. Unlike the generalist species mentioned above which can be found across every biome in Pennsylvania, spotting these larger and more elusive creatures takes a keen-eye, great luck, and a visit to some of the densest forests in our area. Fishers are one of the few direct predators of porcupines, so it is fitting that they would be found in similar habitats. Bobcats are equal parts house cat and feline fury though you are unlikely to see one. They are very difficult to find and prefer to skulk about secretively, but the best places to find them are near new timber cuts or other areas that have experienced a recent increase in small mammals.
Choose your own adventure!
More information about the mentioned sites:

What to bring on your adventure:
  • A refillable water bottle 
  • Sturdy and water-resistant footwear
  • Long pants and high socks may be preferred for additional protection from insects and ticks
  • Child carrier/backpack is recommended for very young children 
  • Binoculars for bird and wildlife watchers
  • A light snack or picnic lunch


Stress less, discover more!
Share stories and photos about your next adventure with us via email: or tag #findyourcentre on social!
Indoor Adventures
Animals naturally get into the yoga routine! Join these mammals in a yoga session! Click the above image to get started.
Click the above image for directions in how to make your own beaver dam with your kids! This can be a sensory bin experience or outdoors and as Nature Play! A great building activity for learning about beavers!
Photo by Rose Baker
For a chance to be featured in next week's issue:
Post your nature photos with the tag #findyourcentre or email them to
ClearWater Conservancy | 814-237-0400 | |