#findyourcentre 📷
Tag a photo with #findyourcentre
and we could feature it in next week's email and blog!
Friends,
Right now, protecting the health of the people around you is the number one most important thing to do. With a serious public health crisis unfolding in our community, it's vital you're following the guidelines on how to safely get outside in the most responsible way.

Things are changing day by day. Please follow the rules, stay close to home and help your friends and family to act with caution and care.

Be safe, get some fresh air and find your centre.

All our best,
Your ClearWater Crew
Amphibian Adventures
Our first weekly feature will focus on amphibians and their migration to vernal pools. Vernal pools are a type of seasonal pond commonly found in and around the Scotia Barrens. Each spring, frogs and salamanders saunter back to the exact same spot to find a mate, often crossing hundreds of yards. This is a a massive journey for a 2-inch creature!

More noticeable members of this cadre are the more vocal ones wood frogs and spring peepers. They produce calls that can fill the night with a cacophony akin to a busy city street. Their more silent counterparts, the salamanders and newts, crawl through the leaf litter to the same locales in a more subdued trek. 

One of the most renowned locations for witnessing this herculean feat is the northeast corner of the Scotia Barrens. Great care should be taken during early Spring! Please don’t drive along Scotia Range Road after dark, as their migrations often take them over the road and it is very easy to squish these sensitive species. Always watch where you walk and explore only in small groups. Handling is also not advised as their skin is very fragile and oils on human skin can interfere with their ability to breathe.

For those wanting to see and hear this spring phenomenon, there are many entrances to the Scotia Barrens. Graysdale Park and GraysWoods Park are two easy places to park and take a quick stroll or consider looking to access the area through the Barrens to Bald Eagle Wildlife Corridor or Patton Woods.

The varieties of animals you can expect to find will change throughout the spring. Early spring often has more wood frogs and salamanders with large masses of eggs to be found in the vernal pools. As the season progresses, more spring peepers and American toads will be present and the eggs begin to hatch. Most of the activity for the amphibians is right after dark, but egg masses and the subsequent critters that live in the pools can be found at any time. 

What to Bring: 
  • Flashlight or headlamp if out near dark
  • A refillable water bottle 
  • Sturdy and water-resistant footwear capable of walking on a forested path
  • 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

Remember:
  • Pack out whatever you bring in
  • Follow local rules and guidance
  • Be considerate of others and keep your distance
  • Stay local
  • If parking lot is full, consider entering the Scotia Barrens from a different location


Inside Adventure
Looking for an activity to connect your children to nature safely while social distancing?

This project involves getting outdoors to collect leaves and then creating works of art in homemade dough.

After drying, the children will get to color their prints into their own pieces of art.

This project can be accomplished over the course of a few days.
About the Scotia Barrens
The Scotia Barrens, located just west of State College, is one of Pennsylvania’s unique natural wonders. This rare habitat is one of the largest examples of pitch pine-scrub oak barrens remaining in our state and it is home to a unique micro-climate that makes the area cooler than the surrounding region. This makes it an extraordinary home for a wide variety of wildlife, a primary source of groundwater, and a wonderful place to teach the next generation about the natural world.

While it is now used primarily for recreation, the area was formerly occupied by the town of Scotia. Like much of central Pennsylvania, the Barrens were logged extensively in the mid-1800's to support the charcoal and iron industries. Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie purchased the land in the 1880's to mine for iron ore for his steel mills. Lasting reminders of the iron industry, including building ruins and ore pits still exist in the woods today. The Pennsylvania Game Commission acquired the land in the 1940’s and still manages the area–also known as State Game Lands 176.

The Scotia Barrens is a unique place to explore. Miles of trails cater to hunters, hikers, birders and bikers, while the habitat supports important wildlife. The uniqueness of the habitat and the barrens' geographic proximity to State College make it one of the most frequented outdoor recreation areas in the region.

ClearWater Conservancy is working to connect, protect, and grow the natural wonders like Scotia Barrens. By working collaboratively with local landowners and natural resource professionals, we're helping expand and steward this important ecosystem. As our community continues to grow, ClearWater continues to find ways that protect this important place for us, the next generation and all the species that rely on it.
Your Gift Makes a Difference!
We understand the challenging times facing our community. With COVID-19 in our news feed every minute, it’s easy to lose sight of the wonderful things around us  the air, land, water and natural resources which heal and replenish our soul. 

Now, more than ever, we need to value the peace our beautiful surroundings provide. And we need to help people feel connected with the outdoors. Whether appreciating our forested ridge lines from your front window, venturing outside for a small family adventure, or wetting a fishing line in a gurgling trout stream, ClearWater is here to help. 

Despite the disruption to our lives in this historic time, our community understands and supports the conservation of this beautiful place we call home. Please help us if you can to continue this legacy of community conservation. 
ClearWater Conservancy | 814-237-0400 | contactus@clearwaterconservancy.org | www.clearwaterconservancy.org